Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Special Issue

The Changing Roles of Gender in Advertising: Past, Present, and Future

  • Eirini Tsichla
The purpose of this paper is to navigate the rich academic literature on gender portrayals in advertising, and then to provide an overview on key findings and trends observed throughout the years. For several decades, women in advertising were likely to be depicted in traditional and domestic roles and were excluded from empowering roles and professional settings. Some progress has been acknowledged during the last decades, however, it seems that female role stereotyping is becoming subtler but still remains present. Male depictions have changed as well, moving from mere traditional masculine portrayals to a greater variety of roles, including decorative and family ones. In addition, the paper offers a cultural perspective by summarizing key findings regarding the relationship of gender stereotyping in advertisements and various country gender indices. Popular methodologies employed by content analytic studies in print advertisements are also presented. Finally, the paper accentuates current developments and tendencies regarding gender portrayals in advertising and outlines a research agenda that proposes timely and promising avenues for future studies.