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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Gender studies have attracted wide research in recent times, this is true of feminine gender studies. Relatively, few studies have however concentrated on the male gender. This scarcity could be based on the assumption of the hegemonic order of the society. Since the wide held view in the society is that of male superiority, the need to investigate how this is reflected across different areas of the society has always been done from the point of view of the female gender portrayal.
The media is one of the institutions of that are used in the society to maintain and perpetuate the existing hegemonic practices perpetuated in the society; as such the media has been fingered to have played significant role in the constitution of gender roles in the society. As one of the socialization agents, it’s been documented that the media have contributed in no small measure to reflect beliefs concerning psychological differences between men and women. It is essentially through the media and especially through advertisements that the minds of the society can be perceived, analyzed and altered. According to Bearden; Ingrain and Latorge (1998) advertisement have near monopoly capacity to reflect, perpetuate and transform social perceptions. Given the paucity of research in male gender portrayal in the media generally and especially advertisements, the need and necessity therefore exists for research in the area.
Previous studies indicate that both men and women have been portrayed in stereotypical way in magazine, online and television advertisements. Studies has indicated that women in ads are portrayed as being dependent on men, needs protection of men, not making important decisions, homemakers, mainly represented in home-settings and sex objects. By media framing most people believe what they see and hear in the media and advertisements accept them as true. Given this disposition it has become pertinent to examine media advertising and the portrayal of the female gender. Since the media has been accused of stereotypical representation of gender generality, it becomes mandatory to examine the extent such stereotypes or otherwise are reflected in the advertisements portrayal of female gender in on-line condom advertisements.
Advertising is the economic life blood of the mass media and has been referred to as the non-personal communication of information usually paid for and persuasive in nature, about products (goods and services) or ideas by an identified sponsor through various media; Arens et al, (2010). Scholars have argued that advertising messages though usually short are often powerful, persuasive and influential in shaping the attitude and behavior of consumers. While advertisements are designed with the purpose of selling specific products, it’s hard to deny the fact that the characters in the advertisements behave in ways that appear normal or make sense to viewers, however these advertisement message contain characters, events, and relationships that viewers will most likely deem as authentic Lewis, (2012). By relating to the character within the advertisements, individuals are able to make parallels between the advert pictured words and their own lives. Back in 2009 “Scheibe” argued that the usage of a stereotypical image could broadens existing markets without destroying old ones. She demonstrated that people were more likely to remember advertisements that perpetrated stereotypes that those that showed new roles for men and women.
Furthermore, today’s advertising seems to portray images of men and women in various ways, thereby making the use of its persuasive nature to convince people to perpetuate social prejudice towards the portrayed. Gender portrayal has been in the media as both men and women are stereotyped. There have been several studies regarding how women are been portrayed in the media. Still on the stereotyping of women gender are such examples as;
These therefore justify the study of the role of women in the advertisements business of condoms on the internet.
the Nigerian society has been defined by being stereotypical of women and men roles in nature and these has also to some extent been reflected in media constructions in the society. The advertising media have been accused as one of the medium that perpetuate this hegemonic order through their portrayal of men and women which often times has been regarded as false, stereotypical and unrealistic. This research is an attempt to determine the various ways the female gender is represented in Nigerian advertisements.
Given the wide held view of stereotypical representation of gender in advertising media, it becomes pertinent to evaluate internet portrayal of men to determine superiors over the women especially in condom advertisements stereotyping the women as weaker sexes. This is important because the advert industry in Nigeria has in recent times been documented to have become diversified in the portrayal of men and women in advertisements. The extent therefore becomes the focus of this work.
The objectives of this study are to;
The following research questions were a guide to this study;
Advertising and media help shape people’s behavior and attitude. Its puts pictures in the minds of people and tells them what ti think. It is also obvious that the media plays a large part in the socialization process, especially socialization into gender roles Watson & Hill, (2003: Pg115).
This study on the portrayal of the female gender in internet condom advertisement will hopefully add to the existing body of literature on gender communication and advertising.
It would also hopefully contribute to the growing body of literature on female gender advertising
It is expected that the findings from the study will be useful for advertisements regulations like A.P.C.O.N in fashioning out policies relating to gender portrayals of advertising generally in Nigeria.
1.6. SCOPE OF STUDY
This study is limited to internet/online advertisements of condom. For representation, the scope analyzes the most online advertisements on condom especially by Nigerian condom marketers and distributors/producers on the internet. The contents of this advertisements, pictorial and otherwise where carefully analyzed and studied to bring out the stereotyping witnessed therein from whence data gotten was used to augment the argument thus postulated that the female gender has been greatly stereotyped in the advertisement business in the world especially Nigeria. the analysis did not necessarily have a time frame of study as it used the most recent adverts available for scrutiny and basically intended to analyze; how many adverts studied featured women? How the women were portrayed? And what dominant messages were contained in the adverts.
Condom: Contraceptive device consisting of a sheath of tin rubber or latex that is won over the penis during intercourse; rubber, safety, safe; prophylactic.
Evaluation: This is a systematic determination of a subject merit, growth and significance using criteria governed by a set of standards. It is used to characterize and appraise subjects of interest in a wide range of human enterprises, including the arts, criminal justice, foundations, non-profit organizations, government, health care and other human services.
Female: A feminine animal or plant, a woman or girl, a person of the sex whose cell nuclei contain two X-chromosomes and who is normally able to conceive and bear young: pertaining to, or characteristic of a girl or woman.
Online: Connected to a computer network or accessible by computer, on-line; (opp. Of off-line).
Stereotyping: A conventional, formula and oversimplified conception, opinion or image, one that is regarded as embodying or containing to set an image or type.
Condom Advertisement: This is the public promotion of contraceptives called condom.
Internet Advertisement: This is a public online promotion of products or services.
Condom Use: This is happens when individuals or an individual utilize a contraceptive device consisting of a sheath of thin rubber or latex that is worn over the penis during intercourse so as to be save from sexually transmitted infections or risk of pregnancy.