The acceptance of gender roles in advertising including the body image, positioning, facial expressions, and “eternal youth” idealization, should only show us where our culture is at that time. For instance, in the 1950s images of clearly defined gender roles were present in almost every ad. Women were seen as stoic, happy, housewives who relied on their husband to go out into the world and work a job that supported their family. This was an extension of the culture at that time. I believe the culture at that time had issues when discussing gender roles.
I believe this is also the case now (not in the exact same way, but still there is a problem). Anyone who claims differently isn’t looking closely at the imagery around them. There are still clearly visible gender norms that are displayed all around us. These are clearly seen in this month’s Vogue, filled with imagery that follows the culture based gender norms. This is a serious problem. I have attached the cover of the April issue of British Vogue. Where the female actress on the cover is shown in a submissive, vulnerable, position while glancing over her shoulder.
I am not saying that there has been no progress made. There is an image that is found in the same magazine, where Adwoa Aboah explains that change is needed, as girls are skipping school because they cannot afford tampons. There is progress in removing the fantasy lead images that display the cultural norm ideas of gender roles within advertising, but there is a long road to go. This progress is visible because of the shift we are seeing in the culture, and there is a movement happening. Will it last? I’m not sure.
Advertising is an extension of the culture. The problem is within all of us, and more discussions, films, protests, etc. need to be exercised before the issue can become visible to encourage change in the culture, which will then be seen in advertising.