When I meet the cognitive neuroscientist Gina Rippon, she tells me one anecdote that helps demonstrate just how early children can be exposed to gender stereotypes. There were nine babies born in the ward that day, Rippon recalls. Eight of them were called Gary. She remembers chatting to one of the other mums when they heard a loud din approaching. It was a nurse bringing their two screaming babies. Rippon has spent decades questioning ideas that the brains of men and women are somehow fundamentally different — work that she compellingly presents in her new book, The Gendered Brain. And you think that, as a scientist, you might have addressed them and put them right, and people will move on and not use those terms or conclusions anymore. But the next time you look at the popular press you find that the old myth has returned.
‘My wife, I think I’ll keep her.’
A young woman in a low-cut top purses her lips and pushes up her chest as she checks her reflection in a car window. The glass slowly rolls down, revealing two young boys who had been ogling her. Fifteen years ago, the ad might have been seen as just another crass marketing pitch leveraging sex to sell a product. But when the commercial recently appeared in Australia, the backlash on social media denouncing it as sexist was so vociferous, it prompted KFC to apologize. Advertisers who for decades relied on the objectification of women to sell products are increasingly wary of taking that approach, aware that many consumers will no longer tolerate abject sexism. While the MeToo movement has used social media to push advertisers into withdrawing ads they deem offensive, they are building on the wave of earlier battles. Before there was KFC and Peloton, the exercise company recently criticized for an ad, there was the vitamin company Geritol. A gauzy commercial for Geritol shows a handsome, middle-aged man looking into the camera as his wife, perfectly coifed and smiling, leans her head on his shoulder.
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From a sexist Easter egg to a deeply offensive Protein World poster, these adverts all made headlines for the wrong reasons…. But saves my life. Despite new rules around sexism in advertising introduced by the Advertising Standards Authority ASA which were introduced in June, this is by far from the only sexist ad out there.
The exploitation of women in mass media is the use or portrayal of women in mass media such as television, film and advertising to increase the appeal of media or a product to the detriment of, or without regard to, the interests of the women portrayed, or women in general. This process includes the presentation of women as sexual objects and the setting of standards of beauty that women are expected to reflect. The ballerinas in the Paris Opera Ballet were ogled by their male audience members and often even expected to perform sexual favors for the male subscribers behind the scenes. The most often criticized aspect of the use of women in mass media is sexual objectification , but dismemberment can be a part of the objectification as well. Robert Jensen , Sut Jhally and other cultural critics accuse mass media of using sex in advertising that promotes the objectification of women to help sell their goods and services. In Gender Advertisements , Erving Goffman sought to uncover the covert ways that popular media constructs masculinity and femininity in a detailed analysis of more than advertisements.