Macho and coquette? Stereotypes of men and women portrait in advertising message

Magdalena Zubiel-Kasprowicz


In today's world advertising is omnipresent. The advertising messages became an inseparable element of the everyday experience, permeating this experience on a massive scale. The medium is however equally controversial, with most of the criticism centring on the means through which advertising attempts to draw the target audience's attention. One of the most contentious issues is the question of the stereotypical gender representation and the overt sexual overtones in advertising. An advertisement which bases its message in stereotypical gender representations is a crooked, over-simplified version of reality – one which frequently results in the hampering of critical thinking and blocking of an objective assessment of a given situation. But is this really the case? Advertising in itself does not form the stereotypes of men and women. It makes use of them in order to sell a product as effectively as possible. Through providing illustrations of everyday situations and through copying the stereotypical conceptions of social roles, advertising produces a hyperritual which consists in a conventional, simplified and standardised rendering of the depicted real-life situations and gender relations.

The standards of advertising in Poland employ the images of women who should take care of herself, of her home and her family. The image of men who are simultaneously ignorant of the washing powder but are experts in motor vehicles is accompanied by the image of children who can only be properly understood by their mums. It is, in fact, the case that advertising constitutes a medium which grounds the regressive elements of the cultural consciousness, relying on a collection of stereotypes, common misconceptions and superstitions.


advertisement, commercial, stereotypes of gender, sexual connotations of gender, advertising message, narrative techniques in advertisement


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Print ISSN: 1643-8175, Online ISSN: 2451-0955, DOI prefix: 10.19197, Principal Contact: