Advertising, Gender Stereotypes and Religion. A Perspective from the Philosophy of Communication

Mihaela Frunza


Feminist authors claim that many of the advertising messages are promoting stereotypical images of the genders. However, if in social sciences, gender stereotypes have been facilitated and enforced by religious ideologies, the connections between gender stereotypes in advertising and religious ideologies remain to be investigated. The purpose of this paper is to analyze these connections.
Using the tools and methods of philosophy of communication, the paper attempts to emphasize a double discourse of advertising: an external one that derives from existing religious ideologies, and an internal one that borrows the structure and elements of modern religiosity. If the first one is enforcing the gender stereotypes, the second one is more innovative and less related to stereotypical images of genders.
When advertising is approached from the perspective of philosophy of communication, its most conspicuous aspect is its narrative dimension. One way in which narratives of advertising are constructed is in the form of myth. We can see that, in some circumstances, advertising has a function similar to myth, or includes structures of depth coming from the world of myth or of religion understood in a broader sense. The power of those elements is derived not from the realm of merchandise value, but from the one of traditional mentalities and cultural representations. In order to illustrate my research on the relation between gender, religion and advertising, I choose a sample of ads, that I analyze using the tools of philosophy of communication. Thus, my research has led me to a nuanced understanding of the relation between gender stereotypes and religion in advertising.


advertising, gender stereotypes, cultural representations, myth, narratives, religious ideology, philosophy of communication

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