Automotive Advertising and Masculinity Essay

2364 Words 10 Pages
Automotive Advertising: Fueling Masculinity since Forever

There has always been the cliché of gender roles in toddlers that girls play with dolls and boys play with tools and cars. Is that what is expected of children of each sex, or do adults not know any better? When my male cousin was born when I was sixteen, the baby was showered with gifts of plastic screwdrivers, wrenches, saws, Bob the Builder accessories, and of course--toy cars. Why do we have this preoccupation that little boys--who in turn become men—have the desire for model cars? Since Karl Benz designed a practical car with an internal combustion engine in 1885, cars have been deemed the toy for boys. In Benz’s time, automobiles were considered a gentleman’s luxury; they
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Models and advertising campaigns of the past and present for automobiles are designed to generate an appeal to men through fueling masculinity. The use of “manliness” in ads attracts consumers because of the history of automobiles going hand in hand with the male sex. From infancy to old age, cars are considered the ultimate boy toy, and thus the usage of sexual appeal to fuel masculinity is the main tool of car advertisements. Currently, the car world sees tuner cars as the ultimate toy for grown-up kids. A tuner car is one that usually is produced in Asia such as Toyota and Mitsubishi that can be bought for a cheap amount and then “tuned” with certain parts to be more powerful and fast. These tuner cars are also notorious for having the most provocative ads and magazine features in which women are shown in sexually appealing ways. In one ad for Import Tuner magazine, a crimson Nissan sports car is parked on asphalt with the beach in the background. Seen from the front, the aggressive stance of the Nissan is accented by the white sand and grove of palm trees to the right of the ad. Yet, the focus of this advertisement is not on the name of the magazine, or even the automobile which the magazine is covering. In the middle of the page, a young model is posing on the hood of the car. Dressed to leave little to the imagination, she stares seductively into the aperture of the camera. A flagrant use of sexual appeal to sell a magazine is common in such ad
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