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Media and Sexism

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English (U.S.)
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Many marketing efforts perpetuate the gender stereotypes that are steeped in our culture. Two examples at attempts to maintain these stereotypes through advertising are the Bic Critsal For Her and the Easy Bake Oven. These two conceivably innocuous items triggered a flood of articles, petitions, and videos, denouncing their perceived underlying messages.


The first controversy that erupted surrounded the Bic Cristal For Her pen. This pen was created and packaged specifically for women to use. Several groups lashed out at Bic, calling their attempt to target women with "lady pens" sexist and demeaning. Its detractors felt the campaign was degrading and fed into stereotypes by highlighting the thin design and the use of pastel colors. The negative press was overwhelming, although the pens have remained on the market.


Consumers also targeted those responsible for marketing the Easy Bake Oven by sending a petition asking its parent company Hasbro to make the ovens in colors other than pink and purple. Thousands of individuals signed the petition asking for alternative oven colors after a teenage girl from New Jersey was angered that her younger brother would have no other option but to use an oven in the colors that are considered stereotypically female. It was argued that the colors supported the stereotypical view that only young girls would want to bake. The signers of the petition felt that young boys who might want to use the toy would be more likely to practice their baking skills if the color of the oven was gender neutral.


Consider these two stories and think about your own reactions to the responses to the advertising and merchandising of these items.


To prepare: View the assigned resources and reflect on your experience with gender


-Identify specific messages about gender presented in the mass media.

-Explain how you might address issues related to sexism in the mass media and diverse cultural beliefs about gender and gender roles in your social work practice


Media and Sexism

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Media and Sexism

Question One

The message from the current mass media world augments old feministic ideas that girls purchase products that "suit their style." According to Kiprotich and Changorok (2017), whether in movies, TV shows, or product promotion campaigns, the media dictates to its target audience about what is "acceptable." For example, in Bic Cristal for Her, the company assumes that women would prefer purchasing pens that come in pink and purple colorways with a design "fit for women’s hands.' From these fore goings, the company portrays its pens as gender-specific and as a perfect accessory made specifically for women. Unlike beauty products that are socially differentiated between men and women having a gender-targeted marketing of pens made only for ladies is sexist. The most significant gender challenge in the mainstream media results from it relying on narrow definitions of what women like and prefer.

Another message portrayed by mass media is that men should avoid participating in ‘traditional’ female responsibilities, including cooking as they are “not masculine”. For example, Hasbro packed Easy-Bake Oven only in purple and pink which are colorways that many people consider being stereotypically female. The use of pastel colors in branding products discourages boys from taking part in kitchen play, fostering the idea that they should only get involved in outdoor activities (Kiprotich & Changorok, 2017). Hence, packaging the Easy-Bake toys only in...


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