How marketers use gender concerns to increase sales

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

“Is Diet Soda Girly?”—Why men flee products they associate with women
Referring to Dr. Jill Avery’s research on what she calls “gender contamination,” Slate contributor Libby Copeland writes about a phenomenon we’ve examined in previous links of the day—the way both children’s toys and adult products of all kinds are being designed, marketed, and displayed according to a gender binary. Copeland writes: “One of Avery’s more surprising and urgent insights is that the theme of gender contamination—the idea that some products belong to men and some to women, and that women somehow ruin men’s products by using them—appears to be showing up more and more, both in advertising and in consumer responses . .  . .” Take some time not only to read Copeland’s essay, but watch the video examples she has provided to illustrate her points.  See, for example, how Dr. Pepper marketers are using an exaggerated stereotype of masculinity to persuade men to buy their new “manly” diet drink.  This essay covers much more than advertising in its insights into gender attitudes and gender hierarchy—and why the anthropological term “gender contamination” seems applicable.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992).

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