The Codes of Gender

An interesting looking documentary I’ve come across… Very much related to our class discussion and reading on gender. Let me know if you’d like to watch and write about it for extra credit. Click on the picture for a link.

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Arguing that advertising not only sells things, but also ideas about the world, media scholar Sut Jhally offers a blistering analysis of commercial culture’s inability to let go of reactionary gender representations. Jhally’s starting point is the breakthrough work of the late sociologist Erving Goffman, whose 1959 bookThe Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life prefigured the growing field of performance studies. Jhally applies Goffman’s analysis of the body in print advertising to hundreds of print ads today, uncovering an astonishing pattern of regressive and destructive gender codes. By looking beyond advertising as a medium that simply sells products, and beyond analyses of gender that tend to focus on either biology or objectification, The Codes of Gender offers important insights into the social construction of masculinity and femininity, the relationship between gender and power, and the everyday performance of cultural norms.

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