Week seven- Theorist research continued

This week I edited my proposal form and made some final adjustments to ensure it is easy to follow and contains a sufficient amount of detail. My form is complete and ready to hand in.

My laptop broke this week meaning I lost some valuable documents that contained useful information and web-links for my project. I have been having to catch up this week due to this set back. Fortunately most my work and notes were uploaded to my blog so I only had to catch up on extra drafting on my essay. I added this onto my draft and did another paragraph for my literature review/ discussion.

I began analysing my results from my survey which proved very interesting. I have done this in a separate document and will add it to my draft once complete in my discussion or as evidence to prove or disapprove ideas from the adverts I analyse.

Furthermore I spent some more time researching more theorists and found these helpful web-links which I can refer to and make notes from this week.

Theorist research and web-links

Tessa Perkins



Andy Medhurst


Stuart Hall



Richard Dyer








David Buckingham



David Gauntlett



Carol Clover
















tajfel and turner



https://www.surrey.ac.uk/…/Social%20identity%20chapter%20final.doc   http://wat2146.ucr.edu/papers/00a-alt.pdf


Week six- Survey results, proposal form and more research

This week I completed a second proposal form with has alot of detail and is much more focused compared to my initial form. It also enabled me to manage my time effectively, writing when exactly I want to have parts finished e.g. my first draft and so on. Furthermore, I carried out some more in-depth research on all the theorists I’m aware of which include:

  • Deborah Tannen
  • Robin Lakoff
  • Zimmerman and West
  • Hommes
  • Trudgill and Cheshire
  • Jennifer Coates
  • Ann Weatherall
  • Christian Howe,
  • Mulvey
  • Connell
  • Tunstall,
  • Grier
  • Berger
  • Wolf
  • Orbach
  • Madonna dichotomy
  • Tessa Perkins
  • Andy Medhurst
  • Stuart Hall
  • Richard Dyer
  • Levi-Strauss
  • David Buckingham
  • David Gauntlett
  • Carol Clover
  • Baudrillard
  • Judith Butler
  • Zygmunt Bauman
  • Angela McRobbie
  • Taijfel and Turner

This meant I could start drafting some of my literature review having done research on theorists but  would also like to see whether I can find books about them or written by them. Here are some web-links I sourced from:






I also made notes from ‘Accent, Dialect and The School’ by Peter Trudgill published 1975 but didn’t find it particularly helpful as it did’t have anything to do with Language and Gender specifically. Instead it looked at prosodic features in spoken and written discourse e.g. dialect and accents.

Linguistics attitudes are in fact social attitudes. Judgements which appear to be about language are actually judgements based on social and cultural values, and have much more to do with the social structure of our community than with language. What happens is that, in any society, different groups of people are evaluated in different ways. This evidenced when the relationship between language and social background was examined in Britain and the USA which collected results about sociolinguistics.

I finally made contact with Steve Williams from the Library but he said the College can not afford any logins to online journals and advised me to either reach out to universities or arrange a visit to one of their libraries. Therefore I may consider finding some time to return to The University of Sussex Library.

Fortunately I had over 30 responses to my online survey which I will analyse this week. The results look very interesting and has had a mixed response. I plan to send it to a few more people to see if I can reach 40 by the end  of the week.

Here is my second proposal form:

Title: Present day Gender Stereotypes: How are these represented in the Language of Advertising and why?

Section one

Gender is a current, extensive and complex affair which is constantly altering due to socialisation that forms our values and indeed language use. I wish to find out how and why stereotypes are used in visual audio advertising, as well as learning about how attitudes have changed over time. I chose this topic as it directly affects me as an individual. I hope to develop my understanding of linguistic features and come to a solid conclusion as to why Gender is a big issue when it comes to advertising to the public.

I would like to learn and improve my ability of sourcing relevant information and organise myself effectively. I have always, like most people, reached for the internet when I need to find something out so would like to widen my range of sources that I refer to. Structuring this dissertation will be a fundamental skill or university as I would need to be very selective and have previous knowledge about essay writing.

This is not a group project so I am responsible for organising my work and time at each stage.

Section two

I have always had a keen interest in this topic as growing you become aware of Gender differences and begin to adopt attitudes and norms associated with each sex. It has also been a concern of mine as to what future I will have as there seems to be more sexual discrimination and inequality towards females. Perhaps I consider myself as a feminist. The Media posses influential power and authority which I feel has plays a large role in contributing to society’s attitudes towards male and females. I am a firm believer that each and every individual can be how they like, and disagree with some of the portrayals depicted in commercials.

My fascination with Gender was fuelled whist studying AS English Language which taught me language use and social beliefs about Gender were closely linked and influenced one another. This is where my idea ultimately originated from. The way language can be used to subtly manipulate people is extraordinary and is an area I would like to broaden my understanding on. Although, I am not studying English anymore, I feel my background knowledge to this topic is useful and like to demonstrate my capability of understanding a range of subjects. This may appeal to universities and future employers.

In the last few months I have decided I would like to study art at university and know essay writing experience would be a very beneficial quality to have on that particular course and I may indeed use my women’s right belief as a narrative in my art. I wish to further my knowledge on why gender stereotypes exist in advertising and why they are still used despite efforts from feminist movements and laws/acts formed by the legislation whilst improving my written skills.

Section three

Firstly, I will begin researching Gender as an overall issue which has clearly had some affect of the way male and females are presented in audio visual advertising. These will touch on inequality problems like:
The Gender pay gap
Sexual discrimination
Gender differences
The meaning of the terms Gender and sex
The historical context of Gender
I hope to have this all finished by October 2015, then will narrow my research specially to Gender within advertising and cover a range of theorists in my literature review. These may include: Deborah Tannen, Robin Lakin, Zimmerman and West, Hommes, Trudgill, Cheshire, Jennifer Coates, Ann Weatherall and Christian Howe, Mulvey, Connell, Tunstall, Grier, Berger, Wolf, Orbach and Madonna.

I plan to draft as a continual process where I set out a structure and keep adding information. The I can refine it but at least I will have al the relevant information in one place. This means I will have plenty of time to complete a draft to the best of my ability and can make sure is proof read and sounds sophisticated.

I will also complete surveys into how the public response to exploitation of Gender stereotypes in the Media, analyse a couple of adverts and carry out my own experiments/investigations e.g watching TV for a period of time and counting the amount of Gender assumptions I see. I hope to complete this analysis section during this time.

During this period I plan to edit and rewrite parts of my draft so that it is improved and ready to hand in. At the end of this I will begin organising my presentation. I will evaluate my project and finish preparing my presentation that I will present to an audience.

Section four

For my research I will use Google scholar and reliable websites to source from as well as techniques like phrasing to narrow my search. This will also give me a range of papers, ebooks, articles, documents and journals online which I may or may not have access too. Over the Summer Holidays I will visit my local library so I can use various books and texts to gather information from for my dissertation. The college Library is a good resource to take advantage of as it will most likely have books specially related to my topic as it covers Film studies, Sociology and English Language.

The college also arranged a trip to Sussex University Library during the holidays which I made sure to go on. This meant I could opt for a year entry pass and have access to a diverse range of books anytime I like. I will make good use of scanning the shelves for relevant books and will return later in the year to jot notes down and photocopy from them.
I would also like have an awareness of Gender related issues which may arise on the news and other programmes on the television as this topic is current. Documentaries can provide useful and up to date information and are easily accessible. All I have to do is make sure to read the TV guide often.

What your areas of research will cover?

My research will cover:
What Gender and sex is?
Gender as a whole: The Gender pay gap, Sexual discrimination ,Gender differences, The meaning of the terms Gender and sex, The historical context of Gender.
Exploration of theorists ideas
Why stereotypes exist in the Media and how is has changed overtime?
How stereotypes impact us and the measures taken to stop Gender inequality?
Analysis of surveys and chosen adverts

If I discover any other areas that is applicable to the Gender topic I will also include them. I will learn how to reference sources correctly in my dissertation . It’s not an area I’m confident with so will need to research myself to widen my knowledge on it. Not only this, but I will learn how to structure an argument with pros and cons and hopefully can be more selective with information.

Week five- Survey, drafting and notes

This week I took notes from the books I borrowed from the College Library which are below. I will make notes from ‘Accent, Dialect and The School’ by Peter Trudgill 1975 this week, but don’t think this book will be as helpful as it is quite outdated now. The information may not apply to modern society.
Notes from ‘The Language of Advertising’ by Angela Goddard 1998 and ‘Routledge A level English Guide’ by Amanda Coultas 2003
The language of advertising 
Advertisers often exploit how language is used as a way to connect with particular social groups. This may mean texts have a female orientation or male orientation.
Linguistics have gathered a large body of research on the social variation of language: that is, how factors such as age, gender, social class, ethnicity and region might affect language use.
Providing language in a advert that targets a particular group is ultimately stereotyping.
Social scientists would describe the process of stereotyping as one of the strategies human beings have for filtering all the information that is around us. We process date by singling out some of then details that we consider salient, or noteworthy, and using these to form categories that will help us fit our experiences into patterns that we can understand. Children are influenced by society as they are trying to form their own categories that we take for granted to our adult lives. Categories have an negative effect though too as it can lead us to closing our minds to the subtle complexities that really exist. It does not allow individual variation. Using we have assumptions relating to more powerful groups so can lead us to ignore data that doesn’t fit into our preconceived structures.
Paralanguage- the non-lexical component of communication by speech, for example intonation, pitch and speed of speaking, hesitation noises, gesture, and facial expression. Producers assume viewers bring their own knowledge.
A level English Guide
Gender representations show social ideologies. Sex and gender are different things. Sex means is a term which is used to refer to the biological features. Gender is used to refer to the socially expected characteristics of each sex. While we are born one sex or the other, we are socialised into gender roles from an early age. When looking at how men and women communicate, it is difficult to have valid results as gender is not the only factor governing how people use language and interact. ’Real’ talk is limited regarding prosodic and paralinguistic features. Ideas from previous research:
  • Men talk more then women in mixed-gender groups
  • Men interrupt women more then women interrupt men
  • Women offer support within conversations and are active listeners
  • Women use hedges and phrase with uncertainty
  • Men seek to dominate conversations whereas women seek cooperation
  • Men speak in public, women speak in private
  • Women talk about feeling, men about things
  • Women are concerned to develop and maintain connections and intimacy with those they are talking to.
  • Men and women use language differently because they have been socialised into different gender roles (difference theory)
  • Men dominate women in talk reflecting their hierarchy in society (dominance theory)
  • Other researcher have pointed out how common men and women really are. Differences are often tiny.
If men use the filler ’um’ is demonstrates a dismissive and negative behaviour. Whereas if a women does it is positive back channelling as a way to support.
Group and identity is closely linked to social attitudes and values. But representation also plays a part in creating them. Often people who are supposedly represented by an image do not identify with it and this can lead to feelings of alienation and confrontation. This is particularly true in gender representation. Certainly in the media stereotypes can be inaccurate and not relevant to the way we live our lives. Fighting stereotypes is difficult as so many have been absorbed, almost imperceptibly, into the way society is organised and into much of the language that is commonly used. Adverts reflect ideology of society but also help create it.
Context is significant as it explains why certain language is used and its meaning. Negative stereotypes about men and women are known as sexist ideas and attitudes. Language can have sexist connotations or be used in a sexist way but it is not inherently sexist in itself. It depends on the context. Referring to a women over 16 as a ’girl’ isn’t sexist. But if a male manager called a colleague a ’girl’ is may be considered sexist. Perhaps not it they are good friends. Texts have to be understood within their context of production and reception.
I also created a questionnaire using survey monkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MTVHRG6) which will give me an idea of what other people think about gender stereotypes, providing good evidence to there existence or non-existence. This will be one of multiple surveys I do. So far I have had 14 responses. Below are the questions included in it:
  1. What gender are you?
  2. Generally, would you say gender is represented accurately in advertising?
  3. Do you conform to a certain stereotype?
  4. If yes, why?
  5. Explain how you are influenced by gender stereotypes in audio visual advertising?
  6. On average, how many adverts have you seen in the past week that you feel exploit gender stereotypes?
  7. What genre of advertising do you think is the worst for gender representation? 
  8. What’s your ideal representation of women?
  9. What’s your ideal representation of men?
  10. Do you think gender representations in advertising have improved or worsened in the past 10 years?  

Furthermore, I continued drafting my essay and completed a introduction. However, I know this will change and need to be shortened. I can keep adding information to it now I have the basic structure. Here it is below:

When people use the term gender they are essentially referring to the socially-constructed roles and learned behaviours and expectations associated with each sex, male and females. It is noted the grammatical classification of nouns corresponding more or less to distinctions of the two sexes in the nineteenth-centaury Oxford English Dictionary. Ideas like men are considered financial providers, profession focused, assertive, independent, more direct, whereas women are typically the loving wife, mothers, take care of domestic chores and have a inferior status within workplaces.
The main reason these attitudes exist is as we grow into our adolescent years, we absorb attitudes and values of our society and this may differ from which country we are brought up in and what time period. The gender division is visible from an early age in school life as the American ethnographer Barrie Thorne discovered in 1993. She spent a considerable amount of time observing children’s behaviour in primary Schools. Teachers often emphasized gender- setting up activities with girls competing against boys. When gender boundaries were activated, the loose aggregation “boys and girls” consolidates into “the boys” and “the girls”. Young boys often play “boys only games”, control more space of the playground, invade girls games and claim power. By forth grade, homophobic insults become common place.
The awareness of conventional stereotypes puts pressure of people to conform to this ideal. As one year 11 said for an issue of womankind 2011 ‘You have to show how masculine you are; you can’t show sensitivity-it is difficult to be different- you need to look and act a certain way’.
This gender imbalance can lead to problems in our community like sexual bullying meaning verbal abuse, ridiculing physical appearance and criticising sexual behaviour to those who do not demonstrate these qualities expected from each sex. For men, they are judged for being ’gay’, a ’sissy’ or not ’hard’ enough, and for women its for not being ’girly’, or acting ’smart’. Single sex schools may be the answer to tackle sexual bullying and other growing problems. An article from the re:locate magazine published in 2011 investigates the Ofsted reports which reveal girls at single-sex schools avoid preparing for stereotypically female careers that their contemporaries in co-educational schools. These may include beauty therapy, childcare and hairdressing which are lower paid. Dr Helen Wright, Head of St Mary’s Caine commented ‘single-sex schools are free of pressure to conform to stereotypical notions of how girls and boys should or should not be, look or act’.
The reduced confidence in girls and low aspirational ambitions contributes to a much bigger equality imbalance: the pay gap. Some types of jobs, occupations and sectors are dominated by men, and others by women. This occupational segregation is one of the main reasons why women earn 27% less than men for doing the same job. Women’s work is thought to be unskilled, inferior and undervalued, meaning men are more likely to be employed over women and will have a greater wage. There is horizontal segregation which means men and women tend to work in different sectors for instance women are nurses, cashiering, catering and cleaning, only 5.3% of women work in science, engineering and technology professions. Vertical segregation refers to the positions women and men occupy within the same sector, with women predominantly in lower-valued and lower-paid roles rather than senior or managerial levels. Despite over 40 years of equal pay legislation, Britain remains as one of the largest gender pay gaps in Europe. Some women may also be housewife’s and are left to complete household duties. The university of Oxford conducted an investigation into why current trends are showing women will only ever get equal share of domestic work until 2050. There is views that cooking, cleaning and caring is ‘feminine’ while ‘masculine’ roles include DIY, car care and outside labour. The journal sociology states, ‘substantial and persistent obstacles’ remain.
The government is trying to combat this problem and passed the equality act 2010 which brings together a number of laws into one place for easier use. This strives to make a fairer Britain and protect against unlawful behaviour which includes discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Responsibility under the act lies with government departments, service providers, employers, education, providers of public function, transport providers and association and membership bodies.
Gender is a key issue in our lives. It affects every individual, not just women who appear to have a more passive role in society, but also men who are equally limited by gender stereotypes. For some regions in the world, gender inequality is a lot bigger problem, with the economic activity rate for women’s low as one fifth the rate for men in Arab states, and South Asia and Latin America about half the rate for men. The gender gap rankings show Pakistan, Syria and Mali to be some of the worst according to 2014 studies. People worldwide are subject to sexual abuse and many campaigns and charity’s are set up to help fight this issue like UK Feminista who claim up to 3 million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking, or other violence each year.
The subject of Gender is fascinating since it is a hot topic for sociologists, historians and language researchers. Some are sceptic and claim gender is a thing of the past and others have conjured a diverse range of theories to explain the existence of the vast gender division. This project examines the existence of these stereotypes within the media, clarifying the conflicting ideas and issues; considers there implications; briefly explores how things how changed over time and evaluates some of the proposed solutions.

Week four- notes and photocopies

I took another visit to the library this week to look in the English language section as I intend to analyse the type of language used within the adverts. I already have a background knowledge of theorists from my English AS, the likes of Deborah Tannen, Robin Lakin, Zimmerman and West, Hommes, Trudgill, Cheshire, Jennifer Coates, Ann Weatherall and Christian Howe. The books that looked useful were ‘Accent, Dialect and The School’ published 1975 Peter Trudgill, ‘The Language of Advertising’ published 1998 Angela Goddard and ‘Routledge A level English Guides Language and Social Context’ published 2003 Amanda Coultas. I plan to make notes on these over the weekend. I copied notes from ‘Gender Advertisements’ published 1976 Erving Goffman which I will add below. I also photocopied from Issues volume 112 Women, Men and Equality  Independence published 2006, Issues volume 154 The Gender Gap Independence published 2008, Issues volume 221 Equality and Gender Roles published 2012 which I will use in my essay as it provides evidence that sexism still exists.

I also watched the Girls can code series which highlights the lack of women in high paid technology professions symbolising the pay gaps existence and demonstrates women are less aspirational and are not as intellectual. I will mention about the differences between men and women in a gender overview paragraph in my essay. Furthermore, itv had a documentary called ‘Britain as seen on itv’ which gave an insight into the representation of women and how this has changed over time. I will provide notes below.

I have decided I will in fact complete a survey/questionnaire so will begin thinking how to compose a suitable method for my enquiry.

Erving Goffman- Gender advertisements notes

His findings…

1. Relative size: assumed difference in size correlates with differences in social weights. It expresses; power, authority, rank, and status. Congruence is facilitated among male occupations.
2. The feminine touch: Women are pictured using their fingers to trace the outline of objects. This suggests women have nurturing instincts to hold and cradle. Also images of self touching indicate the delicate, fragile female body as well as a provocative intention.
3. Function ranking: Men are represented top of occupational hierarchy e.g men as doctors and women as nurses. Men are also the head of the family unit and control women. Images of men feeding women romantically, suggest women are less able and are childlike. They are depicted as housewife’s and advertise cleaning products. Men are portrayed as ludicrous or stupid in the domestic activities.
4. The family: Always depicts as a mum, dad, son and daughter. It demonstrates presumed special mother, daughter bond and father son bonds. Also, it depicts the struggle of the son trying to live up to his dad’s expectations and be like their fathers. Problematic manhood. The father stands outside the circle to express protectiveness/ distance.
5. Ritualization of subordination: Women are pictured standing on floors mostly which are associated to uncleanness and less pure. Or laying on sofas which implies sexual availability. Women often pose with knees bent and are shown as childish or unserious. Whereas men are displayed in more forma business wear. Women are shown to have a close relationship to clothing. Coinciding with the view women love shopping. Women seek comfort from men and men usually have an arm around their shoulder showing procession.
6. Licensed withdrawal: Women are pictured in involvements which removes then psychologically, leaving them dependent on protection from others e.g partners. They are more emotional. Women are displayed in ads by having a finger touching their lips or cover their mouth. It indicates anxiety or thoughtfulness. They also shown to look downwards demonstrating self-enclosure/ submissive. They are shown to drift mentally away from the physical scene around them. Often women are on telephones connoting the idea women talk too much. They are thought to smile more too.
7. Shielding: Women shield themselves behind walls, objects or people. They also shown to snuggle things. It’s a form of partial withdrawal. But if nuzzling a partner, it is impersonal and a way of relying on them. It isn’t a sexual implication as men are more sex driven. Women rarely provide comfort to men as they are thought to be masculine.

Britain as seen on itv

Clips of men and female drivers. One man comments, ’Our offices use to over look the car park and you could always tell the women’s parking’.
An advert called ‘The trouble with men’ from 1962 documents women’s opinions on the modern man. ’There all right if they get their own way’. ’They come home, sit down and forget about everything’. ’I think when a women has a serious illness, they get through the illness faster then possibly a man would’.
Early 60’s people got married at 21.
Two thirds of women were happy to stay at home and be housewife’s, completing domestic duties.
1967 showed a documentary about women having jobs as well as mothers. Male teachers disagreed and said ’I don’t think you can say just because their mothers, doesn’t mean there qualified to teach’.
Late 1960’s sexual equality is changing.
1959 had only male bars.
1951 was the introduction of beauty pageants.
1981 Women encouraged to do DIY rather then depending on men. They were also prompted to grow their own food. This was very shocking.
Women shown to care about appearance. Lots to do with fashion. Like to appeal to men.
ATV report shows importance of presentation. Pop ideals have been an influence on women’s style.