The article “Television Commercials as a Lagging Social Indicator” by , K. Kim D. Lowry (2005)describes gender roles in Korean TV commercials and their unique ideological messages. The article concentrates on negative portrayal of people in TV commercials and relationships between qualities and attributes of the products and gendr roles. The importance of hegemony is that it achieves the “active consent” of many through ideological work. That is, force or coercion, such as the use of the police or military to arrest drug dealers and traffickers, is not a part of hegemony. Ideology, on the other hand, represents social and group assumptions rather than individual assumptions. Individuals can subscribe to or believe in particular ideologies, but these ideologies represent social formations. The (woman’s) response clearly identifies the relationship as heterosexual, but one in which she has the dominant role.
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The authors agree that representation of women reflects social structure of society and relations inside society. “The media play an important role in creating distorted views” (Kim and Lowry 2003, p. 54). Labeling of other women as sound of body/weak of mind suggests that while unrepressed, a woman is no feminist — the other women she imagines are not liberated adults, but rather, childlike sex objects. In commercials, a woman does not demonstrate a positive view of either sex, for women are viewed as weak and men as seducers. So far, she seems to be the only functional adult — she has responsibilities elsewhere, but organizes them well enough to get on a plane, make hotel reservations, call ship-to-shore, and make a date. The authors came to conclusion that “Women were portrayed as young, as nurturing children, and as at home” (Kim and Lowry 2004, p. 43) Cultural beauty standards mediated in print advertisements in relation to depictions of black haircare products for black women are examined. The aim of the article is not to measure the influence of advertising on women, but to examine the ideological and cultural messages that are disseminated through advertising in relation to black female beauty. Also, the usage of gender appeals as a marketing strategy in advertising is also taken into account. These commercials stress having fun — how much fun a toy is to play with, how much fun a snack or cereal is to eat. Commercials rarely provide information about cost or durability. The commercials also have a variety of effects. First, they help sell these products and create a market for specific products. Second, they have a lot of unintended or secondary consequences, such as increasing parent-child conflict, unhappiness, and materialism. The beauty practice of hair straightening existed even during slavery. According to one source, female slaves usually had their heads covered with bandannas, but sometimes straightened their hair with hog lard, margarine or even axle grease. It was found that: “Women also were more likely to appear in the background when a male central figure was in the foreground, but the opposite situation rarely occurred” (Kim and Lowry 2003, p. 43). Their content analyses revealed that the majority of advertisements in all of the magazines were for beauty products like hair dyes, clothes, jewelry, cosmetics, and perfume. They note that the media produces messages that suggest that a “cosmetically unenhanced” woman is unacceptable by society. They note that the concept of female beauty for both black and white women is based on standards set by white males, whom they feel are empowered in this society. The climate of deregulation plus increased competition for both audiences and available programming now has made program-length commercials acceptable. Studies of television’s impact or effects are generally hampered because it is almost impossible to find control groups who are not exposed to television. TV commercials are especially prevalent before Christmas, often comprising more than half of all commercials directed at consumers during these months.
Kim, K., Lowry, D. (2005). Television Commercials as a Lagging Social Indicator: Gender Role Stereotypes in Korean Television Advertising. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research 53 (1), 43.