Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Sue Westcott Alessandri
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
In this study, national advertisements for shampoo products were compared from 1954 and 2004 through the utilization of Katherine Toland Frith’s “Undressing the Ad” technique. This analysis procedure measures the underlying meaning of an advertisement through the dissection of the surface, intended, and cultural/ideological meaning. This study used 10 advertisements, five from each respective decade, to measure each advertisement’s level of stereotyping toward females and gender stereotyping cultivation in general. The study revealed that the 1954 advertisements more directly projected gender stereotyping; however, the 2004 advertisements also contained the stereotypes on an indirect level. Additionally, the analysis uncovered the fact that the most common themes within the ads related to female body image, insecurity, and attractiveness to males. The 2004 advertisements affect the female viewer on a subconscious level and fit with the current stagnation in the female push for gender equality unlike in the post1950s era. Similarly to the indirect, passive messages of 2004 advertisements, women appear to have moved their gender revolution to the backdrop and now less directly fight for their place in society. In further research, it is crucial to deeply analyze advertisements with the intent of finding these indirect gender stereotypes and cultural messages in order to fully understand advertising’s effects on the social landscape.
Braun, Jacqueline, "Filthy Clean Advertisements: A Comparative Study of Shampoo Advertisements from 1954 and 2004" (2006). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 634.
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