The Dishwasher Dungeon: Advertising’s Effect on Perpetuating Gender Roles
Authors:Christine Yamasaki, Christine Yamasaki
Mentor:Lewis Long, Professor of English, Irvine Valley College
Advertisements pervade daily life and are inescapable through their appearance in different media outlets such as television, magazines, and all over the Internet. Past studies have analyzed the relationship between advertisements and their effect on the general public. The rationale behind this research comes from the widespread consensus that ads both reflect and shape culture. The preliminary hypothesis questioned whether contemporary advertisements continue to damage women’s self image through misrepresentative and unrealistic images. However, the results of this study present a paradox – despite the progress made during this time, women are worse off than they were before. Studies provide evidence for a new and increasingly unrealistic archetype of an ideal woman who is simultaneously a staunch businesswoman and a subservient housewife. This new role is referred to as the Superwoman – the woman who is expected to fulfill both existing expectations and the more modern pressures of financial breadwinning. The research consulted includes primary source documents (advertisements and a variety of media) as well as scholarly research articles that focus on the effects of advertisements on gender roles, along with original analyses of various media ads. Further analysis concluded that the added pressures of the Superwoman image negatively impacts women, psychologically and physically.