The Gender Ads Project

Advertising, Education, Activism

Background: In recent years men are more commonly objectified in advertising. Tough the numbers of such ads are still lower than those representing females, we should all be concerned about the use of advertising to objectify persons of any background. One current example of the trend to target males in ads is found in the trope of stupidity. The examples below illustrate how males, as well as females, are portrayed as less than intelligent in advertising. The Ads: There are only a few ads featured, and, unfortunately, this collection will likely grow. Like similar exhibits related to women, the ads here reflect certain poses, expressions or cultural scenarios that associate men with stupidity. We should be just as critical of these negative portrayals of men as we are of ads that target women. Discussion Questions: (1) How do the negative portrayals of men in advertising differ from the portrayals of women? Are there any similarities in how these ads are constructed? (2) Why do you believe that men are now being targeted by advertisers than they were in the past? (3) Why are negative images of men just as problematic as the negative representations of women in advertising?