Advertisement

Sex Roles

, 37:979 | Cite as

The portrayal of women’s images in magazine advertisements: Goffman’s gender analysis revisited

  • Mee-Eun Kang
Article

Abstract

The research objective of this paper was to study the specific behaviors mentioned above and determine what gender behavior patterns have been most prevalent in magazine advertisements in 1979 and 1991. In this research, comparisons were made regarding gender displays between the years of 1979 and 1991 with random samples of print advertisements. The basic and essential starting question of this research project is: What messages about women have been given to society through magazine advertisements? This study was intended to be a conceptual replication of Erving Gofian’s study of Gender Advertisements to see how gender images in print advertisements have changed since Goffman’s study. For this research, advertisements were analyzed the gender behavior portrayed, utilizing Goffman’s categories of decoding behavior: relative size, feminine touch, function ranking, ritualization of subordination, and licensed withdrawal. Body display and IndependencelSelf-assertiveness categories were added. Advertisements that featured human subjects were collected from 1979 and 1991 women’s popular magazines. The random sampling procedure resulted in 252 samples in 1979 magazine advertisements and 252 samples in 1991 counterparts. This research showed that few changes have been made in the images of women in magazine advertisements since Goffman’s 1979 study. The findings indicate that the images of women in 1991 advertisements did not significantly change from the images found in 1979 advertisements. However; distribution or dispersion of stereotypical portrayal of women did change. In the categories of licensed withdrawal and body display, the magazine advertisements from 1991 showed more stereotyping of women than those from 1979. Two of Goffman’s categories-Relative Size and Function Ranking-were not prevalent depictions in magazine advertisements.

Keywords

Function Ranking Gender Behavior Print Advertisement Magazine Advertisement Height Relationship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Andersen, M. (1988).Thinking about Women: Sociological Perspectives on Sex and Gender. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  2. Babbie, E. (1992).The Practice of Social Research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, M. & Smith, G. (1992).Analyzing Visual Data. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Basow, S. (1986).Gender Stereotypes: Traditions and Alternatives. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  5. Bovee, C., & Arens, W. (1986).Contemporary Advertising. Chicago, IL: Irwin Incorporation.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, M., & Paisley, W. (1980).Women and the Mass Media. New York: Human Sciences Press.Google Scholar
  7. Courtney, A., & Lockeretz, S. (1971). A woman’s place: An analysis of the roles portrayed by women in magazine advertisements.Journal of Marketing Research, 8, 92–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Courtney, A., & Whipple, T (1983).Sex Stereotyping in Advertising. Lerington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  9. Dyer, G. (1982).Advertising as Communication. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Ewen, S. (1988).All Consuming Images: The Politics of Style in Contemporary Culture. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  11. Goffman, E. (1978)Gender Advertisements. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Goldman, R., & Papson, S. (1996).Sign Wars: The Cluttered Landscape of Advertising. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  13. Gornich, V, & Moran, B. (1971).Women in Sexist Society. New York: New American Library.Google Scholar
  14. Hall, S. (1980). Encoding/Decoding. In S. Hall, O. Hobson, A. Lowe, & P. Willis (Eds.), Culture, media, and language.Google Scholar
  15. Hall, S. (1997).Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  16. Hall, S., Hobson, D., Lowe, A., & Willis, P (Eds.). (1980).Culture, Media, Language. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  17. Holsti, O. (1969).Content Analysis for the Social Sciences and Humanities. Reading, MA: Addison–Wesley Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  18. Jansen, S. (1989). Gender and the information society: A socially structured silence.Journal of Communication, 39, 196–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jhally, S. (1987).Codes of Advertising. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kilbourne, W. (1990). Female stereotyping in advertising: An experiment on male-female perceptions of leadership.Journalism Quarterly, 67, 25–31.Google Scholar
  21. Kosimar, L. (1971).Woman in Sexist Society. New York: Basic.Google Scholar
  22. Moriarty, S. (1980). A content analysis of visuals used in print media advertising.Journalism Quarterly, 56, 550–554.Google Scholar
  23. Rakow, L. (1986). Rethinking gender research in communication.Journal of Communication, 36, 11–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rotzoll, K., & Haefner, J. (1996).Advertising in Contemporary Society: Perspectives toward Understanding. University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  25. Schudson, M. (1984).Advertising: The Uneasy Persuasion. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  26. Seiter, E. (1986). Stereotypes and the media: A re-evaluation.Journal of Communication, 36, 14–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sinclair, J. (1987).Images Incorporated: Advertising as Industry and Ideology. New York: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  28. Skelly, G., & Lundstrom, W (1981). Male sex role in magazine advertising, 1959–1979Journal of Communication, 31, 52–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Steeves, H. L. (1987). Feminist theories and media studies.Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 4, 95–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sullivan, G., & O’Connor, P. (1988). Women’s role portrayals in magazine advertising: 1958–1983.Sex Roles, 18, 181–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tuchman, G., & Benet, J. (Ed) (1978).Hearth and Home: Images of Women in the Mass Media. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Umiker-Sebeok, J. (1981). The seven ages of women: A view from American magazine advertisements. In C. Mayo & H. Henley (Eds.) Gender and Nonverbal Behavior. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  33. Williamson, J. (1978).Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising. London: Marion Boyars.Google Scholar
  34. Winship, J. (1987).Inside Women’s Magazines. London: Pandora Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mee-Eun Kang
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Michigan, Department of Communication, 2020 Frieze BuildingUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor

Personalised recommendations