1 U93020989 Professor Haili Vinson ENC 1102 23 September 2012 “His and Hers” Nike® Shoes Over the past six decades, women in America have begun to fully embrace the feminist movement for the equal rights that were once denied to them by the strict gender boundaries created by our society. Although it seems like we have come a long way, the media and pop culture continue to support the old traditional gender roles that women worked so hard to dissolve. Nike’s® 2012 “My Time is Now” advertisement is one of many that has misrepresented gender by presenting only males in order to achieve the ideal image of a powerful athlete. In the process of analyzing this advertisement, it becomes evident that Nike’s® advertisement has contributed to the stereotypes of gender, which are ratified by the traditional beliefs of society and reinforced by the values endorsed by today’s pop culture. By leaving out women from the advertisement, Nike® disregards the fact that women serve as equally powerful and successful athletic figures in today’s world. The lens of gender applied to the twenty-first century in comparison to advertisements from the twentieth century should demonstrate a significant change in the alleged roles for women; however, it is still evident that the media continues to limit women to the domestic sphere. Companies continue to put women in domestic product advertisements and exclude them from advertisements in the areas of fitness and sports. It is no longer accurate to limit 2 women to the traditional gender stereotype in which the woman’s sole responsibility is to fulfill household duties as the man succeeds and dominates in every other aspect of life. Women from all around the world have proven themselves in athletics; they compete in international sports leagues and represent their countries in the Olympics right alongside men. If women are showing the same successes in the athletic field as men, why are they still pictured as less powerful than men in today’s society? Professor Sharon Mavin presents this concept that society associates leadership with men; they “explicitly ‘message’ the leader role as a non-role for women, and/or, which question women’s suitability for a leader role” (1). Traditional viewpoints associate the male with dominance and the female with submissiveness. Although many people value this concept, it fails to acknowledge the modern roles that many men and women have begun to adopt. It is necessary that the gender barriers be removed from advertising such as this Nike® advertisement so that we may move forward in creating a true image of equality between men and women as leaders in different fields such as athletics. Another reason these gender stereotypes are still present is because the media and pop culture continue to support and popularize them. The existence of these traditional roles is understandable, but the promotion of them is a whole different concept. Gender excluding advertisements and traditional gender role embracing television shows are main contributors to our society’s acceptance of this gender stereotype. The Bachelor and Wife Swap are two well- known shows that have a negative impact on our culture. The Bachelor is a show where women are explicitly judged on their looks and capability to be successful in the domestic sphere (Klewin 18). Wife Swap similarly judges women on their capabilities in the home. Wife Swap goes even further as to promote judgment. Essentially, this process plots the mothers against one another and forces them to criticize how well the other mother can maintain a proper household. 3 In other words, they are looking down upon women that do not fit the “cookie cutter” image of the ideal mother. These shows are both examples of how the media manipulates situations on television to subtly disgrace untraditional women that step outside of the accepted boundaries of society (Klewin 18). Even though Nike® does not directly endorse the traditional stereotypes of women like The Bachelor and Wife Swap, they are still encouraging this faulty concept that men stand superior to women by excluding women from the advertisement. This treatment is unfair to women, and it is vital that our advertisements and television shows begin to properly represent all women. In conclusion, Nike’s® “My Time is Now” advertisement adds to the stigma pop culture places on women. Women have proven themselves to be just as successful as men in a multitude of fields, and excluding them from advertisements only further endorses the outdated idea that men remain more powerful than women. As advertisements continue to neglect to picture women in positions of strength and leadership, they inadvertently restrict the image of power to men. The media needs to reconsider their methods of promoting the pre-existing stereotypes so that women may break away from the traditional gender roles that society forces upon them. Nike® can make an effort to help by beginning to include powerful women athletes in their advertisements as well as men. We have come a long way on gender specific issues, and now it is time for the media and pop culture to show it. 4 Works Cited Klewin, Erin Victoria. "Living Happily Ever After? : The Reinforcement of Stereotypical Gender Roles on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette." Thesis. Ed. William E. Stanwood. Boston College, 2007. Print. Marvin, Sharon. "Gender Stereotypes and Assumptions: Popular Culture Constructions of Women Leaders." Thesis. Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, UK, 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2012.
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