Advertising does not understand women: a few statistics

Sep 18, 2011 Alberto Pierpaoli Tendencias No comments

This article analyzes a report done in Argentina by the University of Quilmes and the National Women Council about TV commercials run by broadcast TV channel in Buenos Aires on last May.
The purpose of the report was to monitor and analyze “symbolic violence” against women in advertising.
Regarding the report, our main conclusions are:
  • Discrimination against women is the norm in advertising in Buenos Aires. According to three indicators, advertising discriminates women in 9 out of 10 situations.
  • Regarding “symbolic violence” against women, measured through 11 indicators, there are 3 that should be stressed:
    • 9 out of 10 advertising emissions show young women
    • 7 out of 10 voice overs are of men announcers.
    • 3 out of 4 times women are represented by their emotional characteristics.
  • Therefore, women are presented in advertising only as young, beautiful and very emotional. Knowledge still is a male domain.
From this findings, the author conclusions are:
  1. Creativity, and the process of approving commercials, are dominated by men creatives and executives that do not have any expertise regarding gender equity or gender equality. Women involved in this process are acculturated to the dominant male culture.
  2. Creativity only considers women as “young” a biased image that does not take into account women in all their age variability.
  3. Women are not only invisible; they do not have voices. (Voice over is practically done only by men)
  4. Women are represented only through their emotions, in a negative way. Thinking and reasoning does not appear as a women quality.
  5. Practically all the TV commercials have some “symbolic violence” against women.
We must start to educate our marketing and advertising professionals in gender aspects, specially in gender equity and to avoid gender biases and stereotypes.


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