The Impact of Gender Stereotypes in Commercial Advertisements on Family Dynamics

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As each one of us enter this world, society likes to begin stamping gender roles on us the second we are removed from our mother’s womb. Baby boys are swaddled into blue blankets and baby girls in pink respectively. As we grow, more gender stereotypes of how we are supposed to act are ingrained into our subconscious. For example, little boys are told not to cry or show any emotion, while little girls are expected to be submissive and feminine. Our parents are the first persons we see and therefore whom we model ourselves after. It has been suggested that the media plays a powerful role in how we live, think, and behave. It could also be said that the media perpetuates gender stereotypes in how males and females are supposed to act regarding the typical family dynamic, or the “nuclear family.” There is always a father who is tall, handsome, and masculine, as well as a beautiful, slender, attractive mother and their two young children.

History of Commercial Advertisement

Advertising has greatly evolved from the printing press, to the commercials seen during the streaming of our favorite Hulu series. While sometimes being an annoyance to many, television commercials were the highlight of television with their comedic skits and catchy jingles. About thirteen years after the television was invented, the first legal commercial advertisement aired in 1941 before the Brooklyn Dodger’s baseball game, lasting only 9 seconds (Luckin, 2013). This began the start of something new for advertising. Businesses now had the luxury of expanding their market by using commercials to advertise goods and services.

Around this time, the middle to late twentieth century, the United States was recovering from World War II and the Cold War. Service men were finally returning home and settling down, initiating the baby boomer period. This influenced the advertisers to sell the American Dream, a significant theme in many television commercials advertisements. Producers addressed the needs of consumers. One must consider that advertisers plan out the entirety of commercials. The actors, the script and the setting have all been chosen by someone who believes what will be showcased will grab the attention of viewers, in efforts to persuade them to buy the product.

Television in the twentieth century is not currently what is seen. Vintage commercials from the 1940’s to 1950’s were displayed in black and white. Looking at various commercials for Folgers, the actors are mostly white males and females aging from their late twenty’s to early forty’s, lacking in diversity. Majority of these advertisements all have similar storylines: a wife doing household chores or showing a husband going off to work. Commercial advertising in this time period is mostly selling household products, food and other domestic goods, alluding excellent cooking or cleaning to being an excellent housewife. Women are often presented as a product in a domestic environment or associated with a domestic product. One could infer that this theme presents itself as a type patriotism,

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