Is advertising a barrier to male movement toward gender change?

James Gentry, Robert Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to investigate male (and father) role portrayals in advertising from a masculine theoretical perspective. We note that the traditional masculine hegemony in the US is still seen almost exclusively in television commercials, even at a time when masculine roles in society are changing rapidly. We summarize the literature on masculinity, noting its changing nature, and discuss the role of advertising in maintaining the status quo. We then present results from three content analyses of commercials during programs targeted to adult males, females, and children. Results suggest that portrayals of gender roles in commercials have not become more gender neutral. While women are being shown in less stereotypically traditional roles, male portrayals still reflect a very traditional masculine perspective. We conclude that male confusion concerning what masculine roles are expected of them is being exacerbated by their portrayals in commercials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-96
Number of pages23
JournalMarketing Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Family roles
  • Gender
  • Masculine hegemony
  • Masculinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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