The aim of this issues paper is to provide an overview of significant literature currently published on the nature of gender portrayals in advertising, and the impacts of these representations on women’s health and wellbeing, gender inequality and attitudes and behaviours that support violence against women.
This issues paper found that the continued use of gender stereotypes and increasing reliance on images that sexualise and objectify women in advertisements undermines efforts to promote gender equality in Australia. Gender-stereotyped portrayals limit the aspirations, expectations, interests and participation of women and men in our society. These portrayals are associated with a range of negative health and wellbeing outcomes and are highly problematic for the prevention of family violence and other forms of violence against women.
The studies cited in this paper demonstrate that there is a clear business case for change. Brands, businesses and creative agencies can benefit from portraying both women and men proportionately, respectfully and realistically.
McKenzie M, Bugden M, Webster A, Barr M (2018) Advertising (in)equality: the impacts of sexist advertising on women’s health and wellbeing. Women's Health Victoria. Melbourne. - (Women's Health Issues Paper; 14)