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Marketing and Interaction Through Social Media Platforms and Gender Inequalities

Gender inequalities and stereotypes remain a persistent issue despite legal, political, and social efforts to control them. Gender inequality occurs due to continued discrimination of a group of individuals based on their sex. The problem’s manifestation varies according to various factors, including culture, race, country, economic situation, and politics. Conversely, gender stereotyping occurs when people overgeneralize certain traits and differences based on whether they are males or females. Notably, gender stereotypes generate widely accepted biases of particular characteristics and propagate the belief that each gender and related behaviors are binary. The latter is injurious since they can lead to disoriented perception and consequently discrimination and unequal treatment. While the law prohibits gender inequalities and stereotypes, marketing practices and social media interactions perpetuate them.

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The photos posted by individuals on their social media accounts reproduce gender inequalities and reinforce harmful gender identity norms. Notably, gender inequality begins early in life, when parents are more inclined towards boys than girls. While social media has become an integral part of parenthood, sharing children’s information on the sites promotes gender disparity. Sivak and Smirnov’s study indicates that posts about a son on social media are 20 % higher than those about daughters (2040). Additionally, the average likes on posts about sons are 1.5 times more than those of daughters (2040). The imbalance in the number of posts and likes on social media propagates that girls are less interesting and important than boys, deserving minimal attention. Conversely, while men’s posts on Instagram show them at workplaces or having good moments with their male friends in social places, women are often seen at home with children and doing other household chores (Garnsworthy). Therefore, social network sites reinforce and reproduce gender stereotypes and inequalities rather than challenging them.

Objectification of women on social media sites is another significant factor that perpetuates gender stereotyping and inequalities in society. The problem is contributed mainly by young males, especially in colleges. According to Davis, most youths’ posts on social media platforms display women as sexual objects (5). Some posted photos and videos have females pausing provocatively with nothing or little clothes covering their bodies. Notably, the women’s faces are rarely shown, and many are the time’s cameras capture their backs. Such posts attract thousands of followers’ attention with likes and remarks about how sexually eye-catching the females are (Davis 5). Undeniably, showing naked women on social media focusing on the sexualized parts of their bodies without naming them or displaying their faces portrays them as objects of desire and not as persons. Davis adds that women’s objectification emphasizes the idea that men have the power to determine females’ worth based on the use-value (5). Therefore, some social media posts portray females as tools for entertaining dominant males.

Most posts on different social media platforms portray women as submissive to men. Davis indicates that most videos and photos posted on social media sites celebrate men’s violence and aggression towards women (6). These factors suggest the latter is subservient to the former and justify the physical strength and behavior of dominant males over females. While some of the contents may be in private or public settings, they either have provocative captions or postures or showmen taking advantage of intoxicated or asleep women. Davis adds that most young men in colleges have social media hashtags with videos and photos that describe women as unwanted problems that they have to eliminate after sex (6). Undeniably, such actions degrade females into submissive sex toys for entertaining males. The texts that accompany most of the posts on social media also support women’s submissiveness (Davis 6). For instance, such captions “Relieving last weekend with the boys” and “Saturdays are for boys” on social media posts accentuate male dominance and men bonding while disregarding women. The messages are widely shared through social groups and personal accounts, creating unfavorable notions about women.

Products, settings, primary characters, and work roles in advertisements both in mainstream and social media perpetuate gender stereotypes. Most adverts for products relating to cleaning, personal care, beauty, and toiletries feature females as primary characters. Conversely, males dominate roles in adverts associated with technology, telecommunication, cars, computers, or electronics (Matthes et al. 318). Such adverts create the notion that women’s role is to care for their homes, families, and themselves. Additionally, the adverts portray women as dependent on men to enjoy technologies, good vehicles, or electronic devices. Such stereotypes can lead to discrimination against women in the employment sector, even when highly qualified, especially when the position requires technology-savvy individuals. Moreover, these marketing approaches promote gender inequalities when it comes to fulfilling domestic responsibilities. Thus, the tendency of using particular gender to market specific products propagates gender inequalities and stereotypes.

The settings and work roles of primary characters in adverts have a significant part in perpetuating gender stereotypes. Matthes et al. indicate that the chances of showing primary female characters in home settings are significantly high (318). They also note that males appear in workplaces such as offices and industries (318). In instances where adverts feature both genders in work settings, the possibility of portraying male dominance is high. Further, most television commercials depict males in higher status jobs or any operational role than female characters (Matthes et al. 318). Undeniably, these advertisements show women are supposed to be doing home chores while men are working in different environments. Additionally, lower position jobs are reserved for females. Indeed, such adverts promote discriminative hiring and promotions in various industries.

Nevertheless, marketing practices and interactions on social media sites have played a significant role in curbing gender inequalities and stereotypes. Initially, most adverts were featuring only men as primary characters. Matthes et al. acknowledge the insignificant difference between males and females as primary characters in most adverts (318). Additionally, women appear to assume roles that were traditionally considered for men. Davis adds that women produce empowering content and post on social media to challenge gender inequalities ad stereotypes (2). However, most advertising agencies use males and females to promote particular products. Men edit the content on social media to objectify women, proving the role of marketing and interactions on social network sites in perpetuating gender inequalities and stereotypes.

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In conclusion, marketing and interaction through social media platforms perpetuate gender inequalities and stereotypes. The photos posted by individuals on their social media accounts reproduce gender inequalities and reinforce harmful gender identity norms. Additionally, most posts objectify women and portray them as submissive to men. Products, settings, primary characters, and work roles in advertisements promote gender stereotypes and discrimination. However, marketing practices and interactions on social media sites have played a significant role in curbing gender inequalities and stereotypes.

Works Cited

Davis, Stefanie E. “Objectification, Sexualization, and Misrepresentation: Social Media and the College Experience”. Social Media and Society, vol. 4, no. 3, 2018, pp. 21-9.

Garnsworthy, Jasmine. Cyberhate, Stereotypes, and Social Media: Exploring Instagram’s Role in Reinforcing Harmful Gender Identity Norms, Debating Communities and Networks 11. 2020, Web.

Matthes, Jörg, et al. “Gender-Role Portrayals in Television Advertising Across the Globe”. Sex Roles, vol. 75, no. 7-8, 2016, pp. 314-327.

Sivak, Elizaveta, and Ivan Smirnov. “Parents Mention Sons More Often Than Daughters on Social Media”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 116, no. 6, 2019, pp. 2039-2041.

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StudyCorgi. "Marketing and Interaction Through Social Media Platforms and Gender Inequalities." September 5, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/marketing-and-interaction-through-social-media-platforms-and-gender-inequalities/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Marketing and Interaction Through Social Media Platforms and Gender Inequalities." September 5, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/marketing-and-interaction-through-social-media-platforms-and-gender-inequalities/.

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