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Language and heteronormativity - Essay Example

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Summary
Though human value systems go on evolving and changing with time, there are certain kinds of stereotyping that are so strongly embedded in human culture that they keep on reemerging in new forms. Advertisements that present gender stereotyped versions of femininity are a typical example…
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Language and heteronormativity
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Language and heteronormativity

Download file to see previous pages... What naturally can be derived from this is that the stereotyped images of women are simply the “approved typifications” of our society, which are even considered as appropriate and positive. While other information and communication channels like television news or films have within them a strong parallel stream of thought trying to break free from these stereotypical images, in advertising, they are rare. This could be a phenomenon that can be attributed to the fact that at any cost, an advertiser cannot afford to fail because he/she has a product to sell. Hence conforming to society's stereotypes becomes a necessity rather than chance. The advertisement that is being discussed in this essay is the television commercial of Era laundry detergent.( http://youtu.be/Leey5GZe-Ws ). This advertisement has many layers of gender stereotyping within it and the most evident one is the broad association of laundry washing with female gender (Era laundry detergent). This is an age old stereotype in itself. Human culture in different civilisations has been adamently sticking to the notion that it is the job of women to wash laundry and hence all detergent advertisements show women doing the laundry in a domestic ambience. The first frame of the advertisement, in which a woman is seen standing near a washing machine in the wash area of the house, has already made the suggestion that the place of a woman is in such an ambiance (Era laundry detergent). Goffman has called visuals (photographs and television videos, especially), the “a community's ritual idiom something like what a written text is for students of its spoken language” (27). When the woman starts talking, the viewer comes to know that she is not washing her clothes alone but her husband's shirt also (Era laundry detergent). What she says is that she is able to clean even the tough stains on her husband's shirt using this detergent (Era laundry detergent). The visuals that follow are expected by the makers of this film to be funny and meaningful, as the viewer sees the woman shown in the beginning of the advertisement, doing household chores like toasting bread and disposing kitchen waste, as if she is the heroine of an action movie (Era laundry detergent). Along with these visuals, the viewers listen to her telling that she is busy, and she is tough and the implied meaning here is also that she enjoys her domestic work, she is proud of the way she manages it and also she has no complaints about life (Era laundry detergent). The punchline of this advertisement in the end is “tough detergent for tough moms” (Era laundry detergent). This statement asserts that the woman the viewer sees in this commercial has only one single identity- the identity of a mom (Era laundry detergent). It is as if she is born to become a mom and nothing else. Yet, the mention about the husband's shirt in the beginning of the commercial also implies that she is also a wife and when she hands over a packet of lunch to her daughter who seems to be leaving for school, the mother image is reinforced (Era laundry detergent). In this manner, this commercial limits a woman's identity to just being a wife and a mother (Era laundry detergent). The clothes of the husband shown in the commercial are white. Everyone knows that keeping white clothes clean and spotless is the most difficult laundry task. Everybody also know that because of this, a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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