Gender in everything life — Two summaries

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Gender in everything life

Gender identifies one as a male, female or a third gender. Some individuals have believed that the binary model of gender identification is discriminative and hence the introduction of a third gender category to make every individual comfortable. This paper summarizes to articles namely: Goffman, Erving. “Gender Display”. In Gender advertisements. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979 and Rogers, Mary F. Plastic Selves”, In her Barbie culture London, Sage Publications, 1999.

Gender advertisement by Erving Goffman summary

In his book gender display in advertisements (1979), Goffman shows how femininity and masculinity is portrayed. He looked at different advertisement images of women and analyzed various mode of dressing, posing for photos and body positioning. In different scenarios, a woman is portrayed as the vulnerable, powerless and submissive. Erving Goffman concentrated on femininity in advertising. He depicted the male gender as confident, powerful and intimidating as displayed in advertising. He went ahead to state that, how a man and a woman is viewed in the society is not about the biological trait but it is how the generation view both. In his work, he described homosexual men as women. This evidently show that culture plays a part in gender discrimination and that male gender is the dominant gender. In what he termed as “ritualization of subordination” culture describes a woman as a subordinate gender in relation to what is described as manly. The main concern of Goffman was the level of which messages have been naturalized and the society stopped questioning the odd in advertising industry the way female gender is portrayed as the weak gender.

He addressed how femininity and masculinity is portrayed in advertising and the message that the pictures convey to the viewers. He stated that in rare occasion’s men do poses like frequently observed in the females. He made several observations in his work. He described the feminine touch, a pose frequently practiced by women in advertising. “Using their fingers and hands to trace the outline of an object to caress its surface” (Goffman, pg. 29). The feminine touch, where women self touch with their fingers gracing their face, neck and shoulders portray women as fragile and sexual inviting. He observed that women lie down on ground as opposed to men. Goffman argued that message conveyed by having the woman lying down at the feet of a standing man shows vulnerability. The act of lying on the ground or on a bed as observed in a female conveys an expression of sexual availability (Ibid, pg.41).

In conclusion, Human beings communicate through various means like signals, symbols, objects and images. Advertisements is a way used to pass a message across and it is the same channel that female gender is portrayed negatively. Issues of gender and social perception should be addressed. The female gender is viewed as the weaker gender while male gender is the dominant gender. This is not true. Although the females have their own vulnerability, they are as strong and abled as men are, they should not be portrayed as the fragile gender. Advertisements have sexualized the female gender than the male making them appear sexually available. This tarnishes the image of the female gender in the society. This issue is no longer a passé. An immediate intervention to address these issues is necessary. Poses that less sexual suggestive should be adopted the advertisement sectors. Some of the poses portrayed in the advertisement pictures portray the women as vulnerable, helpless and powerless. Such portraits should be discouraged in advertisements.

A summary of Barbie culture by Mary F. Rodgers

In Mary Rodgers work, she uses the Barbie doll a childhood accessory to describe the aspects of cultural meaning. Dolls are more than just entertainment things for children. They are materials that hold social beliefs and values. Toys play a vital role in the lives of the children but they are taken for granted as viewed as meaningless. Dolls represent many different perspectives including sociology and psychology. They have featured in topics of interest across many fields like journalism and cultural critics. They transmit cultural information in the ways children play with them. Those who have studied dolls, they have suggested that they dolls could shape the life of a child. They propose that a doll plays a direct role with in socializing with the child limiting cultural beliefs in many aspects like gender and race. In doll play, children gain cultural messages and get a social meaning. This makes the children resistance to adult culture. Mary F. Rogders use of dolls: Barbie in her work is a major achievement in communication of various aspects of cultural meaning as conveyed by a doll.

Barbie doll’s sexual identity is not clearly known. She is a heterosexual female. Barbie is viewed as a victim of racism and sexism. Barbie’s body is a modern time metaphor as it is fake and plastic. In her work, she says that the live of a heterosexual female begin to ponder around men at the puberty age. Heterosexual females face challenges to have an ideal body size, shape, attractive hair and clothes. Barbie have the ideal look but she is single and childless and this makes her abnormal in the feminine world as explained in the work of Mary F. Rodgers. Barbie is a perfect woman but childless and this makes her life unbalanced like that of a stereotypic woman.

Mary F. Rodgers describes Barbie as a woman with long legs and flat hips. She suggests that Barbie may not be heterosexual or a woman but a man in denial following her appearance. Her appearance attracts homosexual men. Her gender is open: she can fit in almost any and this sparks interest to heterosexuals to this doll. Mary F, Rodgers uses controversial words to describe Barbie. She suggests that Barbie seems free of heterosexism, which makes her attractive to people in the non-heterosexual world. Normative occupation is a term used in this article. It refers to job that suit a specific gender. Example of such a job is hairdressing for men and military careers for women. Osborne, a character in the book admits that his dream is to become a hairdresser. Barbie designs a normative company. Osborne and other people are interested in Barbie’s move, sees her a way to influence the society in that they can use her as an example to “define, commodity, and mutate sexual identity”. He suggests that Barbie can make a huge impact in the society with the move if she seizes the opportunity and uses the power wisely.

Work cited

Goffman, Erving. “Gender Display”. In Gender advertisements. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979.

Rogers, Mary F. “Plastic Selves”, In her Barbie culture London, Sage Publications, 1999