First Faculty Advisor
Gender Advertisements; Replication of a Classic Work
In 1979, Erving Goffman, produced the classic work, Gender Advertisements, in response to the era of feminism. Goffman then arranged his findings “with malice” into seven categories in order to demonstrate to others the apparent infantalization and subordination of women he saw present in advertising. My study is a replication of Goffman’s research designed to see if thirty years of feminism and cultural enlightenment have changed the way women are displayed in magazine advertisements. My method is grounded in phenomenology and like Goffman’s original, foregoes a random sample of advertisements in favor of a deeper understanding of the phenomenon in its original context that is the dominance of displays of female subordination and infantalization in those advertisements. This study also goes a step beyond Goffman’s original work to analyze how women portray themselves in family photographs; that is, when they are in control of themselves and their situation. In conclusion, my study demonstrates that the infantalization of women still occurs in much advertising and that women, when given the opportunity, portray themselves as strong, confident females.