Sociology study notes, Exams for Sociology. University of Western Ontario
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Sociology study notes, Exams for Sociology. University of Western Ontario

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- It is useful to examine how our culture has come to defined and shaped in specific ways—to excavate the origins of our most celebrated rituals - Ex. “Diamond is forever” 1938 NY advertising agency was hired to change public attitudes towards diamonds—changed them from a financial investment to a symbol of everlasting love - The institutional structure of the consumer society orients culture (and its attitudes, values, and rituals) more and more towards a world of commodities - The marketplace, and advertising as its tool, is the major structuring institution of contemporary consumer society - Used to be family, community, ethnicity and religion as dominant institutional mediators and creators of cultural forms - These influences waned with transition to industrial and then consumer society - “Discourse through and about objects” - First, discourse relied on transmitting info about products alone using available means of textual communication advances in color/ illustration moved discourse from being purely text based integration of tv and radio ensured commercial communication would be characterized by imagistic modes of representation - 1880s-1920s—initial period of advertising that focused on celebratory manner of products themselves and “reason why: claims - 1920s—period that marks the transition point to development of an image- saturated society Progressive integration of people into the messages People who “stand for” reigning social values Advertising industry needed to sell increasing quantities of “nonessential” goods in a competitive marketplace using the potentialities offered by printing and color photography - Not only content, but form was impressive in this period People weren’t sufficiently literate in visual imagery so the advertising industry had to educate as well as sell Ads had combination of text and visual material

Advertising and the Good Life: Image and “Reality” - Does not merely tell us about things but of how things are connected to important domains of our lives - Advertising talks to us as individuals and addresses us about how we can become happy—the answers are in purchasing things - Quality of life surveys have consistent results... the conditions that people are searching for (what they think will make them happy) are things such as having personal autonomy and control of one’s life, self-esteem, a happy family life, loving relations, etc. The unifying theme of this list is that these things are not fundamentally connected to goods It is primarily “social” life not “material” life that are related to happiness - Market society is guided by the principle that satisfaction should be achieved via the marketplace, and through its institutions and structures, it orients behavior in that direction - Advertisers realized that goods need to be connected with things that are the locus of perceived happiness… so they promote images of what the audience conceives as the “good life”

Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture #1

- Marketplace cannot offer the real thing, but it can offer visions of it connected with the purchase of products - Advertising doesn’t create values/attitudes out of nothing, rather it draws up and re-channels concerns that the target audience already shares - “Wrapping up your emotions and selling it back to you” - Advertising is “partipulation” (Shwartz) audience participating in its own manipulation - Consequences of such a system? The institutional structure of a market society that propels definition of satisfaction through the commodity/image system. Consumers are confused and uncertain because the marketplace reflects our desires and dreams, yet we have only the pleasure of the images to sustain us in our actual experiences with goods - The commodity image-system provides a particular mode of self-validation that is integrally connected with what one has rather than what one is - Almost religious system… anything is possible with the purchase of a product - The advertising image-system constantly propels us toward things as means to satisfaction. - Advertising is a “propaganda system” for commodities— happiness lies at the end of a purchase; very pervasive - Problem: how to get more things for everyone (as that is the root to happiness) guides our political debates; economic growth is sacred in political culture - If this is not checked, it will lead to disaster… ex. environmental costs of unbridled economic growth - Also this problem will be compounded in 21st century as the Third World catches up and reaches for “magic of the marketplace” to provide happiness

The Spread of Image-Based Influence - Four other areas in contemporary world where the commodity system has greatest impact: 1. Gender identity Ad display the ways in which we think women/men behave not how they actually do Images of gender strike at our core identity—understanding ourselves as male/ female is central to our understanding of who we are Gender defined in ads almost exclusively along lines of sexuality Sexuality is resource that can be used to get attention and communicate instantly Problem is that vast majority of advertisers use this so it distorts reality… we seem to be obsessed with sexuality; increasingly eroticized world 2. Electoral Politics Presidency susceptible to “image politics”—instead of focusing on real issues, it is susceptible to symbolism and emotionally based imagery Politics is about “feeling good” now—only takes a commercial to change their mind! No longer about issues Committed voters held ransom by the uncommitted—huge swings of opinion show that political culture is superficial 3. Child’s Play Kline—context which kids play is now structured around marketing considerations Marketers defining the limits of children’s imaginations; play becomes ritualized Making play strained between parents and children & between boys and girls 4. Area’s of life that were previously largely defined by auditory perception and experience

Ex. Music video—basically commercials for music; people claim that watching the video affects their interpretation of the song… so imaginative interpretation is narrowing; realm of listening becoming subordinate to realm of seeing

Speed and Fragmentation: Toward a 21st Century Consciousness - Broader issues connected with commodity image-system that are connected with its relation to modes of perception and forms of consciousness within contemporary society - For instance, the commodity information-system has two basic characteristics: Reliance on visual modes of representation Increasing speed and rapidity of the images that constitute it - Focus on second point here… - Visual images that dominate public space and public discourse are not static. They do not stand still for us to linger over. They are there for a couple of seconds and then gone. - TV advertising is the epitome of speed-up - Commercial time slots declining in time… new type of advertising has been created called the “vignette approach” Narrative and “reason why” advertising is subsumed under a rapid succession of lifestyle images, meticulously timed with music, that directly sell feeling and emotion rather than products - The speed up is also response of advertisers to two other factors: Increasing “clutter” of commercial environment The coming of age, in terms of disposable income, of a generation that grew up on TV and commercials; sophisticated consumers - Basically, the need for a commercial to stand out to visually sophisticated audience drove the image-system to greater frenzy of concentrated shorts. Again, sexuality has become a key feature of the image-system within this - Speed up has two consequences: First, it has the effect of drawing the viewer into the message; they require undivided attention; have to be more attentive Second, the speed up has replaced narrative and rational response with images and emotional response. Speed and fragmentation are not conducive to thinking, but rather feeling

Political Implications: Education in an Image-Saturated Society - Stuart Ewen’s evaluation of the image-system There is a world of “substance” where real power rests and where people live their real lives and there is a world of “style” and surface. People have given up control of the real world and immersed themselves in the ultimately illusory world of appearances. Surface has triumphed over substance - Author (Jhally) suggests two strategies for focusing on cultural politics: First, the struggle to reconstruct the existence and meaning of the world of substance has to take place on the terrain of the image-system Second, democratizing the image-system—open up public discourse beyond corporate interests to other voices - Other concerns are connected to issues of literacy in image-saturated society R. Williams workers taught to read, not write; capitalist workers cant produce images

Skills and knowledge of the process must be a prerequisite for functional literacy in the contemporary world… should require basic course work in photography/video production, etc. People don’t understand how the language of images world… “visual literacy” courses should also be introduced Also, information about the institutional context of the production and consumption of the image-system should be a prerequisite for literacy in the modern world.. ex. ads are only message without credits of producers - Third course of action looks at stripping away the veil of anonymity would be valuable in demystifying the images that parade before our lives and through which we conceptualize the world and our role within it Chomsky citizens should take course of intellectual self-defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control

YES Argument “Creating Social Change through Advertising” by Blotnicky

- Advertising, if skillfully employed, can be a powerful agent of social change - Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty is a leading example of socially responsible yet highly effective advertising campaign that has facilitated our shift in our society’s concept of beauty while also successfully selling product

Advertising, Culture, and Beauty - Advertisers use cultural symbols and ideals to communicate with their audience and also try to create a competitive edge - Competitive edge involves defining modern beauty, giving it a corporate brand that is distinctive and compelling - Modern beauty has always been accepted within parameters aka “a beauty prototype” - N.A. beauty prototype= youth focused, emphasizing physical attractiveness, and above all, thinness ex. Barbie - In reality, women have 1/1000 chance of achieving such a figure; American models are held up as examples of feminine beauty, but are thinner than 98% of American women - This definition of beauty has also been racially driven Caucasian outnumber other races The whiteness of the model’s skin is related to overall feminine beauty, and “lean, pure, radiant images of white women are imagined to be natural sources of light, beauty, and an entry point to higher state of female grace” - Postfeminism= the belief that while feminism was needed in the past, the battle has since been won, and that feminism is no longer required or desirable for women to achieve their goals - Study of “Ally McBeal” sitcom looking at postfeminism Revealed that the ideal postfeminist women presented in the advertisement had 3 distinct qualities: sexy, intelligient, and powerful Sent message that successful women both thin and beautiful - 2004 Dove launched Real Beauty campaign set out to be socially responsible by sharing a different view of beauty: one grounded in real women

Media’s Impact on Body Image - Evidence indicates that not only do ads sell products, but they sell products because they evoke negative self-images among women and girls - If advertising works, and if advertising focuses on the ideal woman with ideal beauty, then it should effect how women see themselves relative to that ideal - Criticisms of advertising have rested primarily on the belief that its impact on consumer limits their ability to think and act as independent creatures in the vastness of a consumer society - One study showed that women’s moods and body images were negatively affected under viewing idealized body parts or full body images in

Issue 3: Real Beauty? Can advertising credibly promote social change? #2

advertising, yet when presented with views of average or plus size women, the female viewers actually experienced a drop in their levels of anxiety - Other studies showed that women automatically compare their own body image to those of ads—images of extremely thin women have negative impact on self-esteem while images of less thin women have positive impact - Studies have also document the critical impact that advertising has on girls because 42% of teens look to advertising vs. 45% look to friends for guidance about beauty and appearance; advertising is pervasive and seen as an authority on appearance

Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty - Unilever (parent company of Dove) conducted a study of more than 3,000 women in 10 nations study revealed 90% of women were unhappy with body image - American study showed 30% of 10 yr olds are afraid of getting fat - Dove embarked on campaign to establish a more democratic view of beauty, with a goal to expand society’s beauty stereotype away from its thin, flawlessly beauty, white, sanitized image - Social and sales goals - Ogilvy was the agency - TV ads, billboards, and the internet showed photos of real women, not models, whom Dove scouted out in major cities. The photos showed real women… in their underwear, wearing no makeup, untrained bodies, older women with wrinkles, etc. - The ad campaign flew in the face of modern beauty advertising by showing the real thing—gutsy step… if campaign failed they would lose sales & if it had lasting negative impact, their brand might become associated with an undesirable female body type - Is it possible to sell reality? Could argue that women don’t want their real selves, that they are motivated to buy products to enhance themselves. They are buying a hope or promise - To ensure their message reached a broad market, Dove combined ads with a multimedia message platform. Launched the Dove Self-Esteem Fund which supports programs to raise self-esteem of women/girls. Also hosted panels in US on meaning of “real beauty”

Real Beauty: Success or Failure? - Campaign appears to be successful - Measured by focusing on several key areas of advertising impact: Social Acceptance Most critical factor was acceptance by target market It was mixed… in some ways divided along gender lines as women seemed to like what they saw vs. men didn’t Social Impact Has been considerable

Provides validation for women who do not meet stringent criteria associated with accepted norms for beauty Also effects educators and counselors Publicity of campaign provides a measure of its overall influences… use of blogs illustrates the campaign had effects far beyond popular press Millions have gone to website and voted on images of non models and given campaign a thumbs up Media Awareness Network has constructed lesson plans for teachers focusing on body image and impact of Dove campaign—important indicator of impact of campaign on modern culture Other advertisers have taken notice—magazines featuring average/plus size models; Nike started using real women in ads Fashion photographer Gabrielle Revere has done project travelling worldwide to photograph real women Awarded the Effie—industry’s premier award for advertising Sales Impact Future Use Time has come to introduce more diverse views of beauty Quinlan— maturing baby boomers and immigration changes complexion of N.A. Faith Popcorn— greater social acceptance of ethnic diversity in ads; dispelling white image of beauty Expanded campaign to Canada and Australia Aired first female oriented ad during Super Bowl

Conclusion - Exceeded all expectations - Not only increased sales, brand recognition, and brand loyalty, it has stimulated international discussion of what real beauty is - Committed long term - Clearly, if an ad campaign can create social change, Dove’s campaign is doing it on a global scale proving once and for all that advertising, if skillfully employed, can be a powerful agent of social change

NO Argument “Real Curves: Democratizing Beauty or Selling Soap?” by Saunders

- Conventional ad wisdom that ads for beauty products need to be aspirational... they motivate women consumers by holding out ideal images for them to desire - If that’s true, how do you explain Real Beauty campaign?

The Campaign

- The Real Truth about Beauty: A Global Report argued that “authentic beauty is a concept lodged in women’s hearts and minds and seldom articulated in popular culture or affirmed in mass media” - Dismayed that only 2% of women though they were beautiful - Blamed media as big part of the problem - Website claimed Dove sees itself as a “starting point for social change” and intends to offer a “broader, healthier, more democratic view of beauty” - Also needed to re-brand Dove as more than just another soap brand. This goal was tied to their movement into hair and skincare product lines, a move that required significant corporate repositioning - First phase of campaign: Attention getting billboards and print ads featuring women who challenged conventional notions of beauty Seemed to work; sales increased 600% in first 2 months and awareness was up by 35-50% in first year These ads were supplemented by online panel discussions, interactive website, Dove Self Esteem Fund, etc. - Second phase: Unveiling of new line of “firming” products Ads with nonprofessional models of all shapes and color, with only underwear; “Real women with real curves” ads; appeared on talk shows and interviews; biographies on website; “Stand Firm to Celebrate Your Curves” Strategy of using ordinary women to sell products proved so popular that Dove expanded the concept and launched new line of skincare products in 2005 - Third phase: Launched in 2006 with focus on self esteem, especially girls/young women Bolstered by another survey that involved number of countries and focused on attitudes of self work and their link to unrealistic beauty ideals; time to “walk the talk” and seek solutions to these problems Chose Super Bowl as its venue with a heart-tugging commercial of what young girls thinking about their perceived flaws On website: “share your self esteem building story,” “ask a self esteem expert,” etc.

Reality Advertising? - If advertising is about grabbing attention, then campaign has been major success - Dove wants to be “thought” leaders in this area; make real change for future - Not the first company to try the “real versus ideal” route Ex. Nike, Levi Strauss - Not everyone is sold on this strategy though... Quinlan says that in order to motivate consumers to buy beauty products, there needs to be some assurance of transformation offered Critic: “they will come to think of brand for fat girls”

- Not every brand would use this strategy… depends partially on target audience and brand image - Dove claims to be challenging beauty norms, but is it? - Need to question their commitment to healthier and more realistic definition of beaut… Unilever is also parent company of SlimFast which preys upon and reproduces body image anxiety Dove used nonprofessional models to represent average women Company said they ranged from size 4-12 which is still smaller than average size of 14 for women in U.S. With professional makeup, hair styling and photography they still represented conventional beauty norms—still glamorous Ordinary women can be beautiful, but only with magical powers of Dove beauty products Irony is especially clear when consider the campaign launched firming products to make curves more pleasing to the eye If we are beautiful the way we are, why do we need to firm our curves? - Media is often scapegoat for a range of social ills incl. self esteem related to body image. Prevalence of unrealistic beauty expectation is not in question. Also know that Western women express dissatisfaction with their own bodies/ appearance - But, despite series of studies attempting to measure body dissatisfaction, following media exposure to thin, attractive models, the empirical evidence supporting direct correlation remains in question - Gogan—found studies that pointed to drop in self esteem after viewing thin models, studies that showed no difference, and one that concluded body satisfaction had increased following exposure - Women have long been critical of media images of beauty, esp. in advertising, and demanded more realistic representations. But what evidence exists to indicate that more realistic models, even if they were to appear, would have a positive effect on self-image and self-esteem—the claim that underscores this campaign - Article published in “Journal of Consumer Research”— participants in study reported lower self esteem after looking at moderately heavy (i.e. realistic) models, while self esteem improved looked at ads with moderately thin women Reality—despite the hype—might not be as inspirational as promised

Beauty, the Body, and Social Context - Meaning of beauty in everyday lives has long plagued feminist scholarship, which alternates between those who see women as victims of oppressive beauty machine and those who describe the personal pleasures to be found in the pursuit of beauty ideals - Advertising to sell beauty products does not operate in a cultural vacuum, rather, it takes place in a cultural context that attaches a variety of social meanings and values to the body

- This is not to deny that the economic stakes in maintaining a cycle of insecurity regarding one’s body and appearance as considerable Ex. U.S. diet industry= $100 billion per year and its lifeblood is the reproduction of ideal images of beauty that nourish sense of dissatisfaction and low self esteem - Economic imperative alone is not enough to explain tenacity of these unrealistic ideals - We need to recognize that our ideas about beauty are tied into cultural understandings that reach beyond media advertising - Need recognition that these beauty ideals shift culturally and historically - Studies show average size of N.A. women growing, while models get slimmer—the ideal is becoming more unreachable, but rewards remain considerable for slim and beautiful body in contemporary culture and continue to fuel incentive to strive for that ideal - In face of continuing judgment of our character based on our appearance, our body becomes a project, a work in progress, with its look and form open to redesign and renovation - We become willing participants in consumption of goods/services that will bring us closer to the ideal - Important to recognize the class undertones to this project—“gracefully slender body” used to be mark of upper class women, and it continues to be integral to maintenance of social class distinctions and aspirations towards social mobility - Live in an era where individual choice and personal pleasure are trumpeted as path to female empowerment

While supermodel may have been displaced by “real woman” in Dove campaign, the beauty ideal she represents has not been displaced. We need to be skeptical of the seductive rhetoric of profound social change that we are being sold here. What is masked in the spin about “democratizing beauty” is that it continues to rely on message of transformation through consumption, because “in the end, you simply can’t sell a beauty product without somehow playing on women’s insecurities.” Sure, Dove gains by positioning itself as a socially aware company whose feel-good values we can applaud, but it will not change how women perceive and experience their bodies. The premise of democratization obscures the fact that we are being invited to vote with our dollar. This is not a case of “celebrating real beauty” so much as telling us where we can purchase it.

** Hand wrote notes for Article #3

- Advertisers portrayals of minorities were stereotypical and were designed to reflect the perceived values and norms of the White majority - Advertising in U.S. replete with characterizations that responded to and reinforced the preconceived image of minority groups - 1984 Balch Institute of Ethnic Studies sponsored exhibit of more than 300 examples of racial/ethnic images used by corporations Ex. Quaker Oats— positive White stereotype; wholesome and pure Quakers Ex. Aunt Jemima Pancakes—bandanna wearing Black Mammy Ex. Santa Fe railroad “Super Chief” line—racial imagery of noble Indian - These catered to mass audience by either neutralizing or making humor of the negative perceptions that many Whites have had of racial minorities - The images showed minorities as filtered through Anglo eyes - Mid-1960s Black civil rights groups targeted advertising industry Resulted in overnight inclusion of Blacks as models and in TV advertising in 1967 and a downplaying of the images that many Blacks found objectionable - Other groups still ignored or singled out for stereotyped treatment - 1969 article by Martinez (Latino advertising sociologist) criticized the advertising images of Latinos and contrasted them to the gains that Blacks were making Ex. of especially offensive ad…. L&M cigarettes feat. Paco, a lazy Latino who never “feenishes” anything, not even the revolution he was supposed to be fighting - 1970 Brown Position Paper said Latino’s were media’s “new nigger” - Eventually protests of Latinos heard, but advertising industry once again failed to apply the lessons they learned to other racial minorities - Advances made by Blacks and Latinos not shared with Native Americans and Asians - Native Americans have almost disappeared from advertising Major exception is advertising of cars and sports teams Ex. Atlanta Braves or Pontiac - Asians, especially Japanese, dealing with it - Took organized protests from Asian American groups to get message across - Several American firms who were hard hit by Japanese imports fought back through commercials Ex. Asian family driving new car and only after they bought it realizing it was made in U.S. not Japan - 1982 Newsweek article attacking Japan has become something of a fashion in corporate ads because of resentment over Japanese trade policies and sales of Japanese products in U.S. - Many ads featuring Asians had images that were racially insensitive, if not offensive Asian women appearing in commercials often featured as China dolls Or the exotic, tropical look with grass skirt, flowers, etc. Some models lost jobs if they didn’t conform to this look ex. Leslie Kawai - Lack of sizable market and community used to be cited reason that Asians still stereotyped and rarely presented in integrated setting - Growth rate and income of Asians living in U.S. in 1980s and 90s reinforced economic potential of Asian Americans to overcome the stereotyping and lack of visibilities

Advertising & People of Color #4

- By mid-1980s there were some signs that advertising was beginning to integrate them into crossover advertisements; ex. Tostitos campaign - 1970s mass audience advertising in the U.S. became more racially integrated than at any time in the nation’s history; blacks more so than Latinos and Asians - By early 70s, the % of Blacks in primetime TV commercials leveled off—very small % but sharp increase from the 60s - Integration socially important because it showed Black’s could be integrated into advertisements without triggering a White backlash Sales research showed it didn’t adversely affect sales - Most important influence on sales was merchandise and advertisement its self - Actually found that while having no adverse affects with Whites, the integrated ads were useful in swaying Black costumers who responded favorably to positive Black role models in ads - White response was more neutral than positive Ex. 1972 Study Whites preferred seeing lighter-skinned Blacks - Even though research supports that integrated advertisements don’t adversely affect sales, the % of Blacks and minorities did not increase significantly - Minorities who did appear were depicted as ‘successful’ ethnic group members (criticized for going too far in the other direction); Also there were low numbers of Blacks appearing in ads - 1983 study by Soley Given consistency of research, more Blacks should be in ads; if they continue to be underrepresented, it is an indication that the advertising industry is prejudiced, not the consumers

Courtship of Spanish Gold and the Black Market - In 70s and 80s, there was increasingly aggressive advertising and marketing campaigns to capture minority consumers, particularly Black and Latinos - Black and Latino customers became more important to national/regional advertisers of mainstream goods who realized the size, composition, and projected growth of these groups - Asians not targeted to same extent because of their relatively small numbers and differences in national languages; Native Americans ignored - This courtship grew out of #1 Black and Latino civil rights movements in the 60s where they both used boycotts to push issues - 1960s Blacks organized Philadelphia Selective Patronage Program— supported corporations that invested in minority communities through consumer purchases; was replicated in other cities - Followed by slick campaigns directed at minority consumers - 1984 Coors beer signed controversial agreements with NAACP and 5 national Latino groups that committed brewery to increase financial support of the activities of those organizations as Blacks and Latinos increased drinking Coors beer - Courtship also grew out of #2 more influential element of the hard-selling job of advertising agencies and media specializing in the Black and Spanish-speaking Latinos - 1968 Gibson book The $30 Billion Negro as well as other articles on Black and Latino consumers made advertisers aware that minorities were potential customers for a wide range of products - Also persuaded that because of the inattention Blacks and Latinos had previously received, they responded favorably and with loyalty to products that courted them through ads

- Courtship also grew out of #3 a fundamental change in the thinking of marketing and advertising executives that swayed them away from mass media audience began to focus on specific audience - Advertising agencies started recommending their clients to go after their potential customers identified with market segments instead of the mass audience - Market and audience segmentation became very important - Jones, “foolhardy to try to sell the same thing to everyone in the same way”; “Good marketing involves breaking down potential markets into most desirable segments and developing creative programs tailored for each segment” - Jones also advised targeting Blacks; number of factors she cited as making them desirable customers; includes… disposable income of more than $150 mill, high propensity for brand names, high brand loyalty, young and growing population, separate growing media network, etc. - Same approach has been used to sell Latinos to advertising agencies - Latinos have been depicted as being vulnerable to advertisements because their use of Spanish supposedly cuts them off from advertising in English-language media. So advertisers are advised to use the language and culture that are familiar with their target audience to give their messages the greatest delivery and impact - U.S. Hispanics most receptive to media content in Spanish language - By linking product being advertised with the language, heritage, and social system, it creates illusion that products belong in Latino home - For both Blacks and Latinos, the slick advertising approach often means selling high-priced, prestige products to low-income consumers who have not fully shared in the wealth of the U.S. yet - They have below average median family incomes but are targeted for premium brands - Some community groups have protested the targeted alcohol and tobacco products - Through the 90s, corporations tried to show Blacks and Latinos that consumption of their goods is part of good life in America They can share in the lifestyle and happiness by purchasing the same products as the rich and famous Prestige appeals are used on all audiences, but have special impact on minorities low on socioeconomic scale that are hungry for that happiness Ads promoting conspicuous consumption instead of hard work and savings as the key to the good life - Advertisers also play on national/racial pride to boost sales - Ex. Anheuser-Busch ads “Great Kings of Africa”; Schlitz “Chicano history calendar” - These gave long overdue recognition of Black and Latino heritage but also prominently displayed corporate symbols of their sponsors that were designed to boost the sale of beer more than to recognize the overlooked history

How Loud is the Not-so-Silent Partner’s Voice - Advertising is two-edged sword—expects to take more money out of the market than it invests in advertising to that segment - Black and Spanish-language media will benefit from advertising dollars of national corporations only as long as the dollars are the most cost-effective way for advertisers to persuade Blacks and Latinos of their products

- This places the minority-formatted media in an exploitative relationship with their audience, who because of language, educational, and economic differences sometimes are exposed to a narrower range of media than Whites - Slick, upscale lifestyle used by national advertisers is a goal and not reality for most Blacks and Latinos - Advertisers promote consumption of their products as short-cut to the good life, a quick fix for low-income consumers - Advertising appeals that play on cultural or historical heritage of Blacks and Latinos make the products appear to be at home with minority customers, but also piggy-back their commercial messages on the recognition of events, leaders, etc. Persons or events that represented important issues now used to sell products - Advertising is an extractive industry - No goal other than to stimulate consumption of the product - Owners of minority-framed media, having gained through increased investments from major corporations, now have greater opportunities to use that money to improve news and content and meet their social responsibility to their audience

- Few companies have enjoyed profitability that results in targeting disabled - Some evidence that disabled consumer is more brand loyal than other customers - Some companies slow to learn what accurate, non-stigmatizing images were Ex. 1990 Fuji TV ad Michael Oliver criticized for “medical model” approach; ad interpreted as “fixing” the disabled man - Still an area where advertisers are uncertain - New disability rights legislation has made business more aware of disabled customers and more accommodating so that more disabled will have ability to become part of “consumer culture” by making purchases

History of Advertising Use of Disabled People - Disabled want more inclusion in advertising to general population - Historically, most images of disability in advertising has been from charity organizations - Early days of using disabled models, there was concern that they were being exploited because disabled people were associated with charity - U.S. business community began recognizing the disabled consumer in ads in early 1980s - Number of factors converged to make business more aware of disabled people and their potential as customers Early disability rights legislation such as 1973 Rehab Act began to build awareness Disability rights movements & Independent living movement in early 70s gave them more visibility Longmore when TV ads with disabled began it illustrated advertisers no longer feared distressing/offending non-disabled consumers 1980 closed captioning on TV and medium more accessible to deaf - First TV ad to feature a disabled person= 1984 Levi’s ad in which a wheelchair user popped a wheelie - However, McDonalds claims to have been including wheelchair users in general shots of customers in TV ads since 1980, but its first TV ad to feature a disabled person was in 1986 when it depicted deaf students discussing going to McDs in sign language At this point, McDs still thought ads with disabled people should be directed to other disabled people and that they built “good will” - Deaf people became popular disabled group to depict in TV ads—Crest, Citibank, and Levis all used deaf actors by 1990 - By 1990, more than 200 advertisers captioning their ads - Wheelchair users became other prominent category of disability in early U.S. commercial ads - Target became sort of a pioneer in print ads using adults/children with disabilities in their sales circulars - Not easy for Target to implement… worried company would get complaints for exploiting disabled, but it had the opposite effect

Current Perspectives on Advertising Images of Disability #5

- From 1990s on, many ads featuring disabled were accepted and considered non-stigmatizing - Controversy in 1993 Dow’s Spray n Wash commercial vs. Burger King commercial; both had children with down syndrome in it; Dow’s was applauded while BK had to take it down after complaints

Cultural Meaning of Disability Images in Advertising - Harlan Hahn (1987) wrote a seminal article about the role of advertising in culturally defining, or not defining disabled people - Argues generally that advertising’s emphasis on beauty and bodily perfection has led to exclusion of disabled people in the images - Also, nondisabled fears of becoming disabled and viewing images of disability meant businesses were hesitant to use disabled models - Describes context where disabled people’s inability to ever fit within context of beautiful bodies makes them rendered invisible. Advertising promotes a specific acceptable physical appearance and it then reinforces itself - Hahn saw signs of hope in changing social perceptions of disabled in ads - In modern understanding of diversity as profitable for business, we argue that cultural meaning of disability imagery is changing for the better - Some social attitudes are changing… advertising that features disabled people is being associated with profitability Because of newfound power of the disabled consumer & general audience’s desire to see “real life” in images - Positive cultural meanings of profitability and diversity in advertising images do not solve all potential problems with disability imagery The most beautiful and least disfigured disabled people are depicted Deaf people and good looking, sporty wheelchair users do not truly represent the diversity within the disabled community

Some Current Disability Imagery in Advertising - Target began trend of included disabled teens/children in their print ad circulars in 1990 and were met with rousing success - The images are well used because of the way they naturalize disability rather than stigmatize it Takes several looks to actually find the disabled person - The way Target uses disabled people in ads fits squarely within the cultural meaning of diversity in advertising imagery - Ex. 1994 circular shows Latina disabled girl interacting with a nondisabled Caucasian girl—actual interaction between the children This depiction sends several messages: that people of color have disabilities too, and that interaction between disabled and nondisabled children is quite normal - Ex. 1994 ad shows young blond women in wheelchair wearing shorts that show her legs; they are clearly disabled legs

It just shows reality and the natural appearance of a wheelchair user’s lower body - Ex. 1995 ad shows two teens; one is wheelchair user; only a bit of the wheelchair pops out Subtle approach erases stigma and makes the wheelchair-using teen equal to her blonde friend in the ad - Target ad also realized that wheelchair use is not the only or most prevalent disability Ex. 1995 boy with a walker - Nike’s TV ads have a mixture of incidental use of disabled models and one featured disabled athlete Craig Blanchette (wheelchair race champ) They deny using him because he is disabled, but that is likely a motivation

Conclusion and Discussion - Companies are starting to see profitability of incl. disabled in ads and understanding the benefits of diverse images in ads - Implication that ads incl. disabled not only for capitalist reasons, but also realize they must be accurate images to earn profits from their use Means they have moved away from past charity narratives - Corporate world can create good disability images in ads that are sensitive and accurate and represent disability as normal part of life - Also realize that disability images in advertising are not perfect: Almost total focus on two disabilities (wheelchair use and deaf) - Should be understood that advertising is a visual medium that needs cues like a wheelchair to denote disability - Many disabled still concerned at use of “pretty people” - However, some disabled just applaud finally being visible and being presented as more than a charity case - These disabled advertising images have these flaws, but can still enhance more acceptance and integration of disabled people into society - Better and more prevalent use of disabled people in advertising can be tied to important anti-discrimination legislation in U.S. and UK

- 1963 Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique Identifying “the problem that has no name” Recognized the conflict between the 1950s image of the happy housewife and her dissatisfaction with a life unfulfilled “The world is larger than a baked potato” - Set off social and political explosion - Laid the groundwork for analysis of this social and cultural problem: portrayals of women were inconsistent with their experienced realities - Friedan acknowledged role of media and advertising specifically in its perpetuating of this unhealthy, unrealistic image of healthy housewife

Portrayals of Women in Advertising - 1960s feminist groups formed—encouraged elimination of gender stereotypes and discovery of each women’s identity Ex. NOW w/ Friedan as president - Goffman, Gender Advertisements Ads implicitly tell us who we should be Deconstructed advertisements by considering the gendered images that appear in them: Model’s relative size, the feminine touch, function ranking, family, ritualization of subordination, and licensed withdrawal Extended Friedan’s work beyond housewife to reveal the kinds of stereotypes of women in advertising He said gender displays reflected what occurred in social situations - Women devalued in ads - Have portrayals of women changed since these theorists? Women primarily portrayed as housewives and mothers in last half century, although some ads in 80s showed females as career women and “supermoms” In 1990s, images of women in ads changed and did better job depicting women in roles that were more than one dimensional - Jean Kilbourne: Argued because advertising is so pervasive, it has an immense cultural impact, especially on women and girls Advertising “corrupts relationships and then offers us products, both as solace and as substitutes for the intimate human connection we all need and long for” Objectifies people, turning them into things Deconstructed ads to support her point Ex. Seductive power—Haagen-Daz ad; message to women: if you are having a troubled relationship, you should eat something to make you feel better. The solution to your problems is food, not talking to your fiancé Ultrathin models are disturbing—these ads contribute to eating disorders by normalizing and glamorizing unhealthy attitudes towards food Criticized ads targeting teens for exploiting insecurities and offering products as solutions Added to Friedan that women have some inherent problem that needs fixing and the solution is not just products; they are not good enough as they are, they need a product Women and girls are twice seduced: once by ads and once by products - Wolf beauty myth Images of beauty set impossible standards

Advertising Women: Images, Audiences, and Advertisers #6

Idealized beauty is unrealistic - Martin & Gentry study finding that adolescent girls compare themselves with models, which tends to adversely affect their self-perceptions and self-esteem - Some writers criticize ads that portray ultrathin models like Kate Moss - Underlying criticism w/ ad messages and cosmetic products is that women are flawed when it comes to beauty and the solution is to buy a product - Extent to which advertising causes women to want to emulate thin models is unclear, especially considering American Obesity Association facts (62% of women are overweight) - Wood’s summary of gender studies and advertising: First, she claimed that women were underrepresented: men appeared more frequently in media giving impression that women less important because they were virtually invisible Second, observed women portrayed stereotypically, often in ways that reinforced socially endorsed views of gender Third, depictions of relationships btw men/women helped to maintain traditional roles and normalize violence against women - Twitchell’s “AdCult” Marketing products such as deodorant requires that gender be distinct from sex Ongoing creation and maintenance of gender Argues women are not victims of advertising and that they have the power as an audience to reject advertising messages Recognized that some advertising uses eroticism to sell but such advertising is neither oppressive nor new - Some authors have even noted that problems with unrealistic portrayals are not limited to women, but affect men and boys as well

Women As Audiences - Women have power as audiences and can influence how they are portrayed - Friedan told women to be aware of their power as customers—lifeblood of corporations; after all, women as housewives buy more things for the house; estimates that women make 75-95% of all consumer purchases - Conscious-raising by feminists led to industry finally beginning to listen to women’s voices and alter the images portrayed - Twitchell cautioned that gender differences are often confused with purchasing differences. He noted that advertisers cognizant of the audiences they target are careful not to offend those audiences. Ex. women are not used as hood ornaments on cars that they buy - Advertising today uses specific audience strategy - Another shift: emphasis changed from messages focused solely on what advertiser wanted to say to focus on the audience and how to best communicate with that target

Women as Advertisers: The Profession - Given the chance as participants in the advertising process, women can mold the images portrayed in the media - Friedan and other feminists recognized the link btw opportunities in education and the job market, and the impact on society - DDB= agency progressive in hiring women in 60s - Women also owned their own agencies by late 70s

- Women still only represent 15% of staff in advertising creative departments and 22% of Directors Guild of America Low % suggests that industry is missing opportunities to include women to help shape or revise images of women - Women have generally absent from leadership positions of agencies as well - Changing corporate climate would be facilitated if women had a voice in leadership positions - Glass ceiling still exists - It appears women are preparing for careers in advertising and other areas of mass communication

• 1998 status report girls closing the gap in math and science, but also now smoking, drinking, using drugs as often as boys their own age and also involved in more crimes and physically attacking each other more • Result of toxic environment where they are at risk for self-mutilation, eating disorders, and addictions • Culture expects them to bury their real selves and be more “feminine”

• Be nice, kind, sweet and value relationships more than anything else • Double bind— supposed to repress their power, anger, exuberance and just be nice although they eventually have to compete with men in business world and be successful • Socialization that emphasizes passivity and compliance does not apply to many African-American and Jewish girls—often encouraged to be assertive and outspoken; working class girls not expected to be stars of business world • Eating problems affect girls from every background and usually racism and classism exacerbate the problem • Boys have problems too

• Raising Cain by Kindlon and Thompson looks at “tyranny of toughness” • Real Boys by Pollock looks at ways boys manifest their social and

emotional disconnection through anger and violence • Seventeen mag refers to itself as a “Bible” for girls • Girls told by advertisers that…

• Their clothing, bodies, beauty is most important • Must be flawlessly beautiful and thin • This is possible with enough effort and self-sacrifice

• Plays into American belief of transformation and new possibilities with purchase of right products • Women who have experienced abuse or trauma are most vulnerable because it gives them sense of control and success when they have overwhelming problems and poor self-image • Research—more frequently girls read magazine= more likely they diet • Research—70% of college women feel worse about their looks after reading magazine • Research—preoccupation with appearance takes toll on mental health; women scored higher on “self-objectification”

• Tendency to view ones body from the outside in—regarding physical attractiveness, sex appeal, measurements, and weight as more central to one’s identity than health, fitness, etc.

• Led to diminished mental performance, anxiety, depression, etc. • These images of women affect how men judge the real women in their lives

• Ex. after watching Charlie’s Angels… study showed men were harsher in their evaluations

• Adolescent girls esp. vulnerable to obsession with thinness- peer pressure • Obsession starts early

• Some studies showing 40-80% 4th grade girls dieting • 1/3rd 12-13 yr olds trying to lose weight • 63% of high school girls on diets

The More You Subtract, The More You Add #7

• Study showed single largest group of highschoolers attempting suicide are girls who feel overweight

• “Socially acceptable” prejudice against weightism • Advertising doesn’t cause eating problems, but probably contributes to body- hated and to some of the resulting eating problems • It promotes abusive and abnormal attitudes about eating, drinking, and thinness so it provides fertile soil for these obsessions to take root in • Not all of it this is intentional on part of advertisers

• Some of it reflect Jung’s “collective unconsciousness” ■ Reflecting cultural concerns and conflicts about women’s power

• “The more you subtract, the more you add” Ad in 1997 • Reinforces message that girl should diminish herself; that she should

be less than she is • The subtraction refers not only to her body, but to her sense of self, her

sexuality, her need for authentic connection, her longing for power and freedom

• The obsession with thinness is most deeply about cutting girls and women down to size • It is a symbol of tremendous fear of female power • Powerful women seen as destructive and dangerous • Pressure on women to shrink and not take up too much space • Also pressure to succeed, to achieve, to “have it all” • We can stay successful as long as we stay feminine—aka powerless enough to not be truly frightening

• One way to do this to present image of fragility • Double bind to be sophisticated and accomplished, but also delicate and childlike • Changing roles/greater opportunities for women is trivialized, reduced to search for slimmest body • Girls urged to be “barely there”—beautiful but silent • Not only girls who see these messages… also everyone around them and it influences their sense of how girls should be • Study—beginning in preschool, girls are told to be quite much more often then boys. Although boys much noisier, girls were told to speak softly or use “nicer” voice about 3x more often then boys

• Consequence—girls grow up afraid to speak up or to use their voices to protect themselves in variety of dangers

• Encouraged to b silent, mysterious, not to talk too much or too loudly • Many ads feature women in very passive poses, limp, doll-like, etc. • Goffman—said we learn a great deal about disparate roles of males/females simply through body language and poses of advertising • Girls often shown as playful clowns, perpetuating attitude that women are childish/can’t be taken seriously vs. men shown as serious, confident • People in control of their lives stand up right, alert, etc. vs. women often appear off-balance, insecure, and weak • Often body parts are bent, portraying unpreparedness, submissiveness, and appeasement

• Exhibit what Goffman calls “license withdrawal”—seeming to be psychologically removed, disoriented, defenseless, spaced out • Females touch people and things delicately—caress • Cover our faces; keep smiling no matter what; blank and fragile • Supposed to be innocent and seductive, virginal and experienced, all at same time • Central contradiction of the culture—we must work hard and produce and achieve success and yet, at the same time, we are encouraged to live impulsively, spend a lot of money, and be constantly and immediately gratified • Some rebel—can rebel with encouragement of loved one in healthy and positive way or can rebel in way that damages • Can bury her sexual self, be a “good girl” and give into the “tyranny of nice and kind” (Gilligan) or can rebel—flaunt sexuality, smoke, drink, etc. both options are self-destructive • Girl power doesn’t mean much if they don’t have the power to achieve it— need reproductive freedom and freedom from violence • Only one escape—buy something

• Ads offer products to rebel and be a real individual • Solution is always a product

Gender Stereotyping in Advertising - Consensus that more exposure to mass media means more sex-typed views of the world - ‘Heavy’ TV viewing produces a decrease in educational aspirations together with an increase in sexist attitudes - TV medium takes up a significant amount of time McArthur and Resko study found average American in 1998 watched 714 commercials a week - 1970s very stereotypical role depictions of men/women - 1980s—degree to which ads broke away from stereotypes is topic of contention; definitely saw more emphasis on people without reference to a family - Mexican commercials were most heavily gender stereotypical vs. Australia were less so - 1990—representation of males changed Contempt for men has become frequent Incl. their emotional shallowness, lack of common sense, incompetence in the domestic setting, unattractiveness of appearance and personality in the morning, etc. Possibly allied with this is relative frequency of the male as sex object Coward—men’s sexual humiliation by women is not a standard part of advertising’s rhetoric

Masculinity as Represented in Advertising

The Visual - One of the ways of determining whether a male character in an advertisement has the required authority and suggests the appropriate power is through visual appearance - His strength may be suggested in terms of his physique and in the suggestion of his affluence and business success - Myth of masculine independence is embodied in confident and confidence inspiring appearance - By 1990s, men’s visual representation more frequently suggested danger - Visual change could suggest change in social beliefs about men - 1990s ushers in period of openly ridiculing men - Possible that culture has been feminized by consumerism—consumer society may grow to see itself as submissive and easily manipulative, and thus to see its males occupying the position that was once attributed exclusively to female

Masculinity and the Domestic - American male, swift as a panther, free as a mustang outside the home, is infantilized within the family, becoming stupid and emasculated - Loses independence and self-assured nature in the domestic setting - Suggests traditional hegemonic masculinity is seriously compromised by the comforts of the home

Men as Authoritative/Dominant

Masculinity in Advertising #8

- 1975 McArthur and Resko 70% males portrayed as authorities/ 30% as product users VS. 14% females portrayed as authorities/86% as product users - 1990 Brownlow and Zebrowitz while women portrayed less expert, they were depicted as more trustworthy - Certain products better promoted by appeal to masculinity - Berger men create sense of identity by extending out from their body to control objects/people vs. women work from within their body; so men better for promotion of products like cars and alcohol - 1986 Harris and Stobart in daytime TV, the dominant gender was female vs. in the evening it switched to men

Voiceovers and Gender - Advertisers appear to prefer narrator’s voice to be authoritative and thus male 90% of US TV commercial narrators were male up to 1988

Masculinity in the 1990s’ Advertising - Before 1990s, only men showed humor in advertisements - With men becoming objects of contempt, women not attributed humor - Laura Mulvey’s coinage “to be looked at” men in ads - Sean Nixon—significance of ‘new man’ imagery frees up traditional gender confines and loosened traditional oppositions of sexualities of men identifying as straight or gay - Message that gender and lifestyles are conceived in new, less traditional ways - Also advertisers need way to capture and hold consumer’s attention - Gender is dynamic… cultural constructions of gender change

Beer Commercials - Version of masculinity that banishes emotionality, along with sensitivity and thoughtfulness - Images of male solidarity are offered—a community of men, coded as uniformly heterosexual, is envisioned, in which boys are initiated into manhood through the acquisition of the ability to drink beer; manhood linked with risk, challenge, and mastery over other challenges from nature, technology, and other men - Often outdoor commercials - Work hard, play hard - Strate calls beer commercials “manuals on masculinity”; work for benefit of family/nation and also linked with pride in accomplishment and the desire to earn respect of other men - Leisure is the result of work - Homosociality—feature men who are always in the company of other men - Avoid one on one relationship unless father/son - Humor—lubricant for interaction among males… manages to avoid emotional display - Women are admiring good sports; men are coolly detached

Car Advertisements - Gitlin car ads during Reagan era… a man on the move, untouched by messiness of everyday; frontiersman image - Recent years, driver is conceived of a high-performance professional; enrichment is to ‘everyone’s good and at no one’s expense”; mundane can’t hold him back

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