The role of E-Marketing and Gender roles

   Throughout the years marketers and advertisers in mass media have often used stereotypical gender roles to appeal to customers in society; they do this due to the fact that they need to appeal to the largest number of people possible, thus using subjective images that mirror life, reinforcing the typical role structure where men are depicted as superior, and women as inferior.

  Advertising embodies “A highly sexist view of men and women with roots that stretch back in the 19th century, suggest the most important elements in women’s life, first one is the pursuit of beauty, and the second one is the cult of domesticity”(Griggers,1990).   


   Figure one, shows a pure example of advertisements in the 20th century, This image advertises utensils targeted at women but the focus was on how they could please men with the marketed products which was also a main focus in entertainment and more often than not have influenced generations of women into believing that the main goal was to find a man and get married.    

    This continued on to influence generations, and continued to build a subconscious image in the minds of children and teenagers of how society functions, or should function, thus they grew up having certain expectations on what their roles are in society and how they fit into the surrounding culture, often setting unrealistic expectations onto each other.
  Eventually leading people to rebel against the system, especially in the 70’s when the feminist movement began and women started challenging the roles set for them.
Laura Mulvey devised ‘feminist theory,’ in the late 60’s/early 70’s which was the concept that women should not have to be passive or submissive, this of course wasn’t an accepted concept, as women were always viewed as submissive and inferior.
   These images of gender stereotypes were also concentrated in Hollywood, where men were always the protagonists, and women were incorporated into the film as more of an object than a person, as they were there to look pretty thus always fetishizing their bodies to appeal to the male gaze therefore setting expectations for men that were often unrealistic, and aiding the beauty industry where women started striving to reach the beauty standards shown on screen.   



  Figure 2 shows the view society took on feminism, where it was often compared to Satanism and received a lot of negative publicity, as typical gender roles dictated most media outlets, and were being challenged by the feminist movement.

          In modern times gender roles are within a weird territory where they are often challenged, yet are still influenced by the typical gender stereotypes, but in recent times it seems that both men and women are sexualized in adverts, music videos, and commercials as the previous feminist movement promoted sexual freedom for both genders, causing marketing to start widening its target zone to both men and women.
Yet the typical gender roles are still present in marketing, and now widely shared across media platforms, as e-marketing is the fastest and most efficient form of advertising where companies could have a worldwide outreach, which also means they could also get backlash, and criticism which is why recently companies are extra careful when it comes to being politically correct.


The figure above shows a variation of advertisements, that took different directions when it came to marketing their products, some companies decided to join along with the Gender Equality movement, which is now one of the 17 goals set in the United Nations’ sustainable development goals to make the world a better place; where they chose to empower and embrace young women into reaching their full potential as strong and capable human beings.
    Such as the #likeagirl campaign by Always, which showcased little girls being capable of anything they set their minds to, including sports and leadership roles, as well as dancing and cooking, showing young women that they can be more than one thing and that being like a girl is not an insult.
 In addition to the Dove real beauty campaign, which encouraged women to love themselves the way they are, celebrating real beauty instead of images and advertisements of photoshopped models that don’t at all represent the everyday woman.
     While other companies like Mr.Clean and Victoria’s Secret went down the typical route where women are seen as either housewives, or sexualized into unrealistic beauty standards. [3]


In conclusion, E-marketing is allowing people to voice their opinions and share their thoughts on marketing and advertising on a wider spectrum, where gender roles are being challenged by the newer generations in the fight towards gender equality, where not only women are shown as strong leaders but men are also allowed to freely express softness and weakness without being seen as less manly; but as much as marketing has developed in the way it addresses gender roles, and as much as it is being challenged, most people still follow the influences of the typical stereotypes that have been etched into the brains of multiple generations throughout the years, so the real question is, will E-marketers be influenced by the thoughts of the newer generations, or will they keep reinforcing the pre-set gender stereotypes?  


[1] Cake Appeal 1946 Wear Ever Aluminum Utensils Ads- For cakes That rise to the occasion



The role of E-Marketing and Gender roles