Sex role stereotyping in the Canadian advertising industry
LE3 .A278 2009
Bachelor of Business Administration
The objective of this honours thesis is to amalgamate academic research pertaining to the issue of sex role stereotyping in the Canadian advertising industry. Over the past few decades, there has been growing concern in Canada over the negative social and personal effects resulting from the misuse of gender stereotyping in advertisements. The majority of the concern has been raised over the depiction of women in traditional stereotype roles considered to be unrealistic or demeaning. Growing concern over the failure of advertisements to appropriately reflect emerging gender roles in modern society has sparked academic interest to investigate whether the advertising industry recognizes the implications of doing so. This paper will address the research results that have arisen from the academic interest on this topic and will provide a compelling argument for practitioners in the Canadian advertising industry to better reflect contemporary gender roles in advertisements. The academic thrust of this thesis is primarily grounded on secondary research. However, to reaffirm findings derived from the literature review, primary research in the form of a focus group was conducted. The purpose of the primary research was to ask participants to voice opinions and observations pertaining to the presence of sex role stereotyping in the Canadian advertising industry. After undertaking primary and secondary research, this research project then proposed several guidelines for practitioners in the advertising industry. The main purpose of these guidelines was to provide advertising industry professionals with a tool that could be applied to ensure best practices in the use of sex-role stereotypes. Advertisers should strive to ensure that: gender roles depicted in advertisements should reflect contemporary society; gender role portrayals should be congruent with the basic nature of the product category; the advertiser consider whether an alternate portrayal of a gender image can be depicted in the advertisement rather than a traditional sex-role stereotype depiction; and finally, the guidelines set forth in the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards have been reviewed, particularly those in Clause 14 which deal with unfair or demeaning portrayals in advertisements.
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