Much research has been conducted on the portrayals of men and
women in advertising. Advertisers are often criticised for portraying
stereotypical gender roles, and particularly for depicting women
as dependant (such as a homemaker) or decorative (such as a sex
object). The purpose of the study on which the article is based
was to identify current role portrayals of women in advertising
on selected South African television channels. A sample of 245
commercials was content analysed to determine how women are
portrayed in advertising. The findings indicate that women are most
often portrayed as product users, and least often as sex objects.
In terms of product categories, women featured most often in
advertising for personal care items and least often in sport-related
commercials. Rational advertising appeals were most commonly
used in commercials featuring women. Suggestions for future
research are offered.