Further Readings on Sexism, Racism and Advertising
The following are interesting and important resources for exploring further
the history and types of critical analyses of the meanings, social roles
and impacts of pervasive advertising media. I chose these for their accessibility
on-line. Of course, there's much more out there. Enjoy and Think Critically!
- Brand Hype
New website exploring product placement in movies created by Matt Soar,
professor of Communications at Concordia University. Soar also produced
and directed the Media Education Foundation's documentary Behind the
Screens: Hollywood Goes Hypercommercial (2000, in Reed lib.). Includes
searchable database on products placed in movies ("Movie Mapper"),
articles, discussion forum.
- John Harms and Douglas Kellner. Toward A
Critical Theory of Advertising. Illuminations, Critical Theory Website
This article provides an excellent overview of the theoretical roots
of critical media studies in the U.S. and Europe. Website is the brainchild
of Douglas Brown and Douglas Kellner, provides on-line introduction
to Frankfurt school-inspired critical theory. Full text on-line.
- Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, "The
Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception," Dialectic of
Frankfurt School theorists attempted to integrate various aspects of
the thought of Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Freud and Heidegger into the
project of formulating a critical theory of society. This chapter is
a much-cited polemic about the dire effects of a massive new cultural/media
system epitomized in the film, radio and magazine industries at the
- Sut Jhally vs. James Twitchell on the Impact
These two men are among the most prominent opposing voices in current
debates about the social impacts of advertising. This online debate
was facilitated by Stay Free Magazine.
- Sut Jhally. Advertising at the Edge of the
Sut Jhally is professor of Communications at the University of Massachusettes-Amherst
where he founded the Media Education Foundation. He is one of the most
outspoken, marxist-informed critics of the social impacts of advertising.
This article is on his personal website full-text.
- The Emergence of Advertising in America,
Check out how sexist and racist themes have evolved over time! Library
of Congress' American Memory Digital collections. On-line exhibit of
over 9,000 images from the collections of the Hartman Center at Duke
University relating to the early history of advertising in the United
States. Do a keyword search for "women" or "men", "african"
or "negro", "asian" or "mexican", etc.
- Lisa Hoffman. Gender and the Internet: Sex,
Sexism and Sexuality.
A brief, useful introduction to recent research in this burgeoning field.
- Semiotics, Advertising, and Media
a hypertext essay and tutorial on using semiotic techniques to analyze
advertising, media, and contemporary culture. It is still under construction.
It was created by Tom Streeter, for his students in Survey of Mass Media
at the University of Vermont.
- This is Not Sex
A Web Essay on the Male Gaze, Fashion Advertising, and the Pose
by Thomas Streeter, Nicole Hintlian, Samantha Chipetz, and Susanna Callender.
Part of the Semiotics, Advertising and Media website at the University
of Vermont. Fascinating look at the gendered and sexualized semiotics
of advertising images in historical perspective, with reference to Erving
Goffman, Laura Mulvey.
- Student Web Analyses of Advertising's Social
Lewis and Clark College's Sociology and Anthropolgy Dept. runs a course
on American Advertising and the Science of Signs. Students have produced
excellent websites including analyses of Women's Sports Ads, Absolut
Vodka, Ethnic others, and Children as Signifiers. A great role model
for responding critically to damaging ad messages.
Consider Possibilities for Activism
Look into Media Activist Organizations
Back to the Sexism and Advertising Exhibits.