Advertising is one of the most influential, attractive and most widely used media to gain the attention of target audience. While making an advertisement, the advertiser must know the way of thinking of the audience, like how they think and what they think and how they will behave in response of the advertising element. The advertisers got multiple media options for their advertisements, they have TV channels, Newspaper, Magazines, Radio, Internet, Production houses, Post production houses and Advertising agencies and many more to fulfill their communication needs. Now we will discuss the Role of Media in portraying of gender through the following means:
Films and Dramas:
Traditionally females are considered less active than males in outside home activities but now females have started making their representation in different work areas and are contributing. As in 2011 a combined research study of five students from five different universities (2 Pakistani and 3 foreign universities) on ‘’Gender role portrayal in television: evidence from Pakistan” was conducted and as a result they reported existence of gender discrimination in Pakistani television, and males dominated more. This is because of our social and cultural values. There are some viewers who do not accept the appearance of females in Television and are not promoting their exposure. Head of the families are always male and they always take the major decisions because these are part of our social norms and values. These factors are contributing in gender discrimination. Graphs are shown below that portrays the true image;
When we talk about Pakistan, television is popular among all the mediums. So considering this fact Pakistani advertiser spends their most of the advertising budget (68%) on TV commercials. It is considered as the most influential, attractive and widely used media to grab costumer’s attention and it’s Important to know, how and what the costumers thinks and behave in response to the advertising element. It is a very persuasive advertising medium because of its voice visual and motion combination. It helps customers to remember, recall and retrieve useful information. The proportion of females in total Pakistan’s population is almost equal to male population (sex ratio of 1.06% in 2011). However male dominancy exists in Pakistani television because it is expected to lie in cultural and social values.
In 1998 an American PHD researcher Beverly A Brownie conducted a research on “gender stereotypes in advertisements on children’s television in the 1990’s: A cross national analysis”. He also found male dominant advertisements and explained that as male dominant advertisements have higher sound track level and aggression level while female dominant advertisements are having low sound track level and aggression level. In 1999 pierce and McBride while in 2000 Bartsch, Burnett, Diller, and Rankin Williams who also reported that male represents television advertisements more than females, males are preferred as spokes characters and are remembered for long as compared to female counterparts.
An Indian Research has been studied which examines role portrayal of men and women in Indian magazine ads. According to which fourteen hundred ads of 2006–2007 were collected from men’s, women’s, and general interest magazines and were content-analyzed. Results reveal that women in Indian magazine ads are primarily portrayed in traditional roles. Contrarily, men are portrayed in sex appeal, authority figures, career-oriented, and outdoor roles.
Men and women are also portrayed in egalitarian roles. While in most product categories, women are depicted as concerned with physical attractiveness, as housewives etc. Some product categories also depict women in egalitarian roles and as outdoor and adventurous.
Men’s magazines portray men and women in highly traditional roles. Contrarily, women’s and general interest magazines portray women in more modern roles. Women are publicized more in general into Print Ads to bring Attraction to the product.
As per our Culture which is evolving day by day has now admitted to consider both genders equal to an extent. The concept of feminism and egalitarian approach is reached to such a level that it is being practiced and liked by everyone. We talk about Films or Dramas, Print Ads, TV Commercials or Radio Commercials, Bill boards, Pamphlets or Prospectus we can find participation of both genders as per the demand. Success of the advertisement is largely dependent on demographics of the target audience, and gender being a prominent demographic variable is a focal point for the advertisers. Pakistan is a country with unique demographics and cultural values that’s makes a good representation of Pakistan as a consumer in world market.
Authors: Abdul Kareem Wyne, Zargham Anwar, Zuljalal Ali Akram, Ahmed Gohar
from BS Media Studies, Bahria University Islamabad