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Some ritual idioms of gender in British television advertising

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Publication details

JournalSociological review
DatePublished - Aug 1997
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)437-452
Original languageEnglish


The focus of this article is on portrayals of men and women in UK TV adverts, especially those for chocolate and related products. These ads were selected because they typically portray people engaged in a limited range of activities, and this permits more systematic comparison between them. Analysis focuses on forms of portrayal distinctive to either gender. Emphasis is placed on two findings - the portrayal of women as detachable from their local environments, and of men as foolish and incompetent. It is argued that these patterns are characteristic of TV ads more generally, and that they have possible connections with general cultural presuppositions concerning men and women.

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