The Role of Female Body in Advertisements

TheRole of Female Body in Advertisements

TheRole of Female Body in Advertisements

Differentadvertisements over the years are designed to target different groupsof individuals in the market using symbolic approaches such as themessage and the type of person put in the advertisement image.Coca-Cola advertisement in 1939-45 before World War II used both aman and a woman in different ways to demonstrate refreshing moments.Target Audience mostly was both young people and the elderly in needof a refreshing drink. In Nestle advertisements in the 1920s to1930s, the target audience for the coffee brand was middle-agedindividuals at the office and elderly people. This was clear from thecasual images that the advertisements had such as young working classtaking coffee at the office or a restaurant over a cup of coffee.McDonald fast foods magazine and posters advertisement in the 1940swere targeting young economic class individuals and young familieswho are likely to eat out most of the time. The fast foods productsadvertised targeted school goers such as junior schools and collegestudents. In the 1950s with the introduction of TV commercials inmost parts of the US, TV commercial for companies like Coca-Cola andNestle targeted families both young kids going to school and theadults. In the 1970s to the 1980s, the print media competed with TVand Radio advertising of many products such as the Common Coca-Colaadvertisements that used children to demonstrate fun, and the youthand adults to demonstrate refreshment (Filiovic, 2014). In thisregards, the discourse analyzes the adverts in regards to theirdepiction of men and women as well as the message they convey.

Image1.Coca Cola advert on a magazine (Source: Life Magazine 24 June 1940)

Image2. Nescafe Coffee advert (Source: New York Times Newsprint, 29October 1931).

Image3.McDonalds ad (Source: Times Magazine, 1949)

Image4.McDonald first-ever TV commercial in 1948 (Source: YouTube, 2016a)

Image5. Coca-Cola 1970s to 1980s TV commercial (Source: YouTube, 2016b)

Image6. Nescafe TV advert in India 2001. (Source: Youtube, 2016)

Messagesportrayed by the ads

TheCoca-Cola ad through the years has concentrated on passing a messagethat the drinks are highly refreshing are very appealing to the youngand adults as well as children. In the McDonald ad, the magazineadvertisement and the advancement to TV commercials demonstrated howservice is fast in McDonald stores, how the food is nutritious andhealthy and the convenience customer experience. Nestlé Similarlyused different advertisements throughout the years to demonstrate howthe Nestle coffee is delicious and appealing to office workers andthose at home as a way to refresh (Loke &amp Harp, 2010).

Therole of females and male in the ads

Theadvertisements used males and female differently. For instance,McDonald used the female as an image of family male as an image ofbusy corporate individuals in need of fast foods to eat on the go.Coca-Cola depicts men and women equally by putting together couplesin the advertisement to demonstrate love and family. Women in theseadvertisements bring a sense of beauty and passion for luring usersfor associating with the high-end luxurious life the advertisementspurported. The role of men in the advertisement demonstrated boldnessand strength by including them in family setups as head of the familyor by their masculinity to depict strength.

Positioningof women bodies in relation to men’s bodies

Womenbodies’ position in advertisement has continued to transform fromhousebound to sexpot and business leadership, which translates to howwomen role understood in the society over the years (Zotos &ampTcichila, 2014). Women bodies are positioned stereotypically in theadvertisement to persuade the audience to purchase the productsadvertised. Women bodies are sexualized in an advertisement showingthem as subordinates subjugate and less dependent but at the sametime as pleasing objects (Sheehan, 2013). For men, their self-worthis maintained in all advertisements. Women are shown to be dependentto men. Men on the other side are shown to be independent torepresent strength, independence and intelligence while women aredepicted to be weak, dependent and innocent. The advertisementreflects the strong stereotypical attitude of male towards female(Zotos &amp Tcichila, 2014). The women bodies are used to createpleasant images that can draw audience’s attention to the products.Women bodies are disintegrated into different body parts such asthighs, legs, stomach, breast, behinds and lightly clothed parts,which demonstrate that women are objects rather than human beings, inthis case, beautiful objects.

Theconstruct of women/men sexuality in the ads

Therole given to women in advertising is stereotyped, and this isenabled through marginalizing and discriminating female status. Womenare therefore presented as passive objects with weakness and simple.Presenting women as subordinate to men, their image is reduced to anobject of passion. The images used are redesigned and reconstructedusing graphics technology to bring out a perfect image of the womento pass a message to the users that only perfect people areassociated with the product (Sheehan, 2013).

Coca-Colaads use women sexuality to lure target audience to the brand. Womenare only portrayed as beautiful, yet vulnerable objects in theadvertisement as the role they play is mainly are to highlightbeauty. Men on the other side in the same advertisement portrayauthority strength and a source of protection and support to thefemale characters in the same advertisement (Filiovic, 2014). Thesame concept applies to McDonald sandwiches advertisement where womenare dressed lightly. Men have represented a source of protection asfamily heads top corporate executives using the products while womenremain to be objects of beauty and their role mostly stereotyped(Zotos &amp Tcichila, 2014).

Messagecommunicated about female versus male subjects in the ads

Theads do not relay women as individuals of their subjects but as sexualobjects. The Coca-Cola ads use a woman lightly dressed sharing sodawith a fully dressed man (Filiovic, 2014). This shows that the womancomplements the man in the ad as an object of beauty and attraction.To the audience, the use of the soda is therefore associated withattracting similar beauty or associating to such a class. InMcDonald, women appear in the as mothers feeding the childrendemonstrating care, love and a traditional domestic role of the womencharacter. Similarly, in the Nestlé ad, female characters appear asobjects of beauty and fantasy while the men dominate with boldnessand strength (Knoll, Eisend &amp Steinhagen, 2011 Zotos &ampTcichila, 2014).

Thedepiction of men and women in the adverts

Coca-Colaads message to the users shows that the product is a source ofrefreshment and linked to beauty and boldness as represented by themen used. The basis of the standard of beauty set in the ads overrepresents thin and extremely beautiful women over large bodied womenand fewer women. This tends to show that physical beauty and sexualattractiveness means light bodied mainly directs to what men want.The use of male subjects in Coca-cola products such as Sprite indemonstrating sporting and strength and beautiful women in softerbrands demonstrate different images the ads have on male and femalesubjects in the ads (Filiovic, 2014). Nestlé coffee ad shows bothmale and female, but the image of the female is associated withbeauty, dependence, and fragile. Men remain bold and neatly dressed,especially in suits. Where the two are used, the essence of love andpassion sprouts through sharing a cup of coffee in a mannerdemonstrating the need for care and support (Knoll et al., 2011).


Womenappear as subordinate to men in the advertising world. Advertisementon television, online and magazines only give women the role thatsupports stereotyped representation. Women are regarded as objects orproducts hence dehumanizing them. It is to this reason that manyadvertisements have models in their ads. As much as the women aredismembered and regarded as dependent and fragile in these ads, womenstill come out the most influencing factor of the attractiveness ofthe adverts. Men think that women are their pleasure providers orcomedies for pleasure. How the media has constructed the status ofwomen in the society reflects in advertisement and even largecompanies including Coca-Cola, Nestlé and McDonald regardless of thetype of media they advertise on, the same concept applied. There ismore to be done on how the role of women in society is defined thatcan change the use of women subjects as objects of pleasure and butinstead uplift their role and respect in society including inadvertisement by preventing stereotype advertisements.


Filiovic,J. (2014). Coca-Cola`sAmerica Is Beautiful ad: why liberals should be upset. Retrieved9 March 2016 from:

Knoll,S. Eisend, M. &amp Steinhagen, j. (2011). Gender Roles inAdvertising. InternationalJournal of Advertising: The Review of Marketing Communications,30(5), 867-888.

Life.(1940, June 24) LIFE.Time,8(26), pp.15

Loke,J. &amp Harp, D. (2010). Evolving Themes of Masculinity in SeventeenMagazine: An Analysis of 1945-1955 and 1995-2005. Journalof Magazine $ New Media Research,12(1), 1-22.

Time.(1946April 1). TheWeekly News Magazine.48(13), pp. 26

Youtube(2016a). 1950`sCoca Cola Commercial.Retrieved 9 March 2016 from:

Youtube(2016b). NestleAdvert.Retrieved 9 March 2016 from:

Zotos,C.Y. &amp Tcichila, E. (2014). Female Stereotypes in PrintAdvertising: A Retrospective Analysis. ProcediaSocial and behavioural Sciences,148(1), 446-454.