Visual images Reinforce Traditional Gender and Sexuality Stereotypes

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Visual images reinforce traditional gender and sexuality stereotypes through the manifestation of the masculine and feminine miens. An examination of print media advertisements highlights the social and cultural ideologies associated with traditional gender roles that are expected and imposed on by society.

“Advertisements are deeply woven into the fabric of Western Culture, drawing on and reinforcing commonly held perceptions and beliefs” of gender and sexuality stereotypes. They have a strong role in shaping society by reflecting, reinforcing and perpetuating traditional societal values and attitudes towards gender roles and identities. The visual images displayed in advertisements are “often absorbed into peoples learned expectation
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The advertisement depicts a beautiful young woman laying on her back with a chocolate placed on her chest. The combination of sexual suggestiveness and food consumption presented in the advertisement draws “clear parallels between food consumption and sexual surrender” . The advertisement exemplifies the traditional gender role ideology that women are ‘consummate consumers’ who are “ruled by their bodily appetites and inability to resist the lure of carnal pleasure” . The female character encapsulates characteristics traditionally associated with femininity. She is captured sensually laying on a bed with her hands draped seductively on her chest, signifying her sexual availability and amplifying the common societal belief that women are to be gazed upon with desire by men. Her surrender to temptation by consuming the pleasurable product emphasises the traditional perception of female weakness. The notion of the male gaze as defined by Sturken and Cartwright in Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture is evident in an analysis of the advertisement. The male gaze is used in a sexual scenario to objectify the female character and reinforce culturally accepted gender identities. The female characters physical and sexual attributes are depicted as her most significant assets,