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Perception of Malaysian youths on the role of women in advertisements: the Goffman perspective

Mokhtar, Aida and Abdul Rahman, Laraiba (2021) Perception of Malaysian youths on the role of women in advertisements: the Goffman perspective. In: MENTION 2021, 23-25 November 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

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Introduction Widespread attention has focused upon the roles represented by women in advertisements in recent years. Substantial research has been carried out on this matter and advertisements have been criticized for portraying women as dependent on male, childlike, noncareer oriented, etc. (Peterson & Kerin, 1977). One of the dilemmas that still occurs in our modern society, and is widespread in the advertising industry in Malaysia, is gender stereotyping (Kathiraveloo, 2001). Gender stereotyping is a general view concerning the characteristics or the roles that should be possessed by or be performed by male and female genders (OHCHR, 2020). Gender stereotyping can be hurtful when it limits a particular gender’s capacity to develop their personal abilities, make choices about their lives and pursue their professional careers (OHCHR, 2020). Advertisements tend to represent the female gender in limited roles by generally depicting them as homemakers or mothers or as sex objects or sexually provocative figures. They are rarely shown in business roles, work settings, or in positions of authority and responsibility (Kathiraveloo, 2001). Due to the effects advertising has on attitudes, this kind of gender stereotype in advertisement is of even greater concern and controversy in modern times (Wee et al., 1995; Capella et al., 2010). Although there are a lot of research studies done in many countries, studies in the area of the perception of youths regarding the role of women in advertisements remains limited in Malaysia. The way people portray the role of women in advertisements in Malaysia may be different from other countries. Therefore, it is important to study about the portrayal of women in Malaysia. This study is therefore necessary as women in Malaysia play a more prominent role in the nation-building of the country. Research Objectives 1. To investigate the perception of Malaysian youths on the different roles represented by women in advertisements. 2. To examine the perceptions of male and female youths of the roles represented by women in advertisements. Methodology The quantitative research design was adopted to meet the research objectives. The data was collected using questionnaires that incorporated concepts operationalised by researchers who had applied Goffman’s theory of stereotypes who were mainly Das (2016) and Das and Sharma (2017). The categories used in this study consisted of the roles of women in advertisements based on Goffman’s (1979) categories for gender in advertisements: relative size, the feminine touch, function ranking, the family, the ritualization of subordination, and licensed withdrawal. Four categories were used in this study that were predominantly derived from Goffman’s categories of stereotypes and from other scholars consisting of: the family role, decorative/sex object role, independent role and professional role. Data Collection In this study, data was collected from 100 youths in Malaysia based on online questionnaire using google forms. A pilot study based on a convenience sample of 33 respondents was used to test the suitability of the questionnaire before the actual data collection was done. The youths comprised both male and female residing in Malaysia at the time of this research. Most of the respondents were female comprising of 63 percent (n=63) while male respondents made up only 37 percent (n=37) of the sample. Their ages ranged from 18 to 40 years old. Most of the respondents were Malaysians at 79 percent (n=79) and the remaining were non-Malaysians at 21 percent (n=21). Most of them, comprising more than 80%, were single and bachelor degree students. Data Analysis The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 21 (SPSS 21) software was used to analyse the data collected from female and male youths in 2021 so as to achieve the research obejctives. Results/Findings The findings showed that Malaysian youth perceived the role of women in advertisements to include family role, professional role, independent role and decorative/sex object roles. However, while they perceived women to be shown in professional roles in ads, they were quite doubtful about women being portrayed as leaders. It was also discovered that, there were differences in perception between male and female youths in terms of the family and independent roles. Specifically, regarding the family role, female youths thought of women to be more home bound while male youth were sceptical about that. For the independent role, while female youths believed women were represented in powerful roles, male youth were not really keen about women being portrayed in powerful roles. Implications for Research Respondents were quite hesitant about women being portrayed as leaders in the ads. It is therefore time for companies to change the existing narrative by featuring women in leadership positions in ads in line with the growing trend of female empowerment. It is recommended that future research use more data by possibly making the study a nationwide research in order to offer more extensive insights. In addition, future study may solicit the opinion of advertising companies and compare their opinions with the general public. This will help offer better understanding of what is currently portrayed in the ads.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Slide Presentation)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Goffman, women, advertisements
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P87 Communication. Mass media
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences > Department of Communication
Depositing User: Dr. Aida Mokhtar
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2022 09:00
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2022 09:00
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/100174

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