Media Literacy - Gender Depiction in Advertising
Overall Lesson

This lesson promotes a deeper understanding of media literacy by analyzing and evaluating advertising using gender roles and potential gender biases.
Gender Marketing and Messaging from Burgers to Toys

This lesson comprises two parts:

Part 1 defines and examines targeted marketing, specifically using gender bias or gender stereotypes in advertisements

Part 2 provides examples of advertisements, as well as parodies to analyze and evaluate. This section also provides the opportunity to consider what could be done to address gender-biased content in advertisements.

This process has a post-lesson aspect, to continue to build awareness of gender bias or messages in advertisements, movies, and other media.

Recommended Content Areas:
This lesson is appropriate for a high school or higher English or communications classes, as well as for Adult Learners gaining a deeper understanding of media literacy, communication, or advertising.

Learner Description and Context:
Learners for this course are from high school-age to adults. The lesson is appropriate for use in a flipped, online, or in-class model with 1:1 computer access.

Content Warning:
Some of the information in videos is adult-level content. Some videos include adult language, images, and topics, so should be previewed by the instructor before sharing this with minors.

Instructional Objectives:
The purpose of this lesson is to:
*Identify marketing techniques used to segment particular individuals and groups.
*Analyze what gender-bias may be present in media
*Evaluate the effects of the advertisements
*Build awareness of these messages in media beyond the lesson.

Instructions to Students:
Watch the videos in sequence and respond to the questions in formal English, with evidence from the videos and analysis to support your conclusions.
Part 1 - How are messages about gender depicted in media?
Examine how McDonald's segments, positions its products, and markets to different ethnic groups. Then, consider how this same concept applies to gender-focused advertisements.

Respond to the questions below the videos.

Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning - McDonald's
While the focus of this video is on segmenting by ethnicity, the concepts can also apply to gender.
The Checkout examines the marketing to children based upon gender.
What elements of gender-targeted marketing can you identify in the video by The Checkout? *
Think about colors, types of toys, play, communication, roles, personality traits, etc.
How a Hyper-Gendered Age of Toys Affects our Children
Understanding the gender messages ads give to children
What are the benefits and detriments of gender-based marketing? *
Consider how are young children affected by media messages.
Part 2 - Examine examples of gender-bias and/or gender stereotypes
Examples of Tropes are used including
Gender-based Toy Sales focused on Boys or Girls (Blue vs. Pink) and
the concept that "Sex Sells." Source:
Childhood Gender Roles In Adult Life
Do adults continue these gender-specific roles?
What if you followed gender-bias roles as an adult? *
What examples does this video use and are they effective in identifying gender expectations and roles?
If Women's Roles In Ads Were Played By Men
Be aware of your reactions to these role reversals.
Note your response to the gender switch in these ads. *
Identify details and what you think or feel about them.
Gender Roles in Society
Analyze and evaluate the messages about roles based on gender from this video.
How are men and women portrayed differently in advertisements? *
Provide one example for both men and women, with an explanation of the differences you observe.
Carl's Jr. - Winning Combination featuring Ronda Rousey
Impact of an a female MMA fighter, Ronda Rousey?
How does this Carl's Jr. ad differ from previous ones? (Note, it stars MMA female fighter, Ronda Rousey.) *
Identify details and what you think or feel about them.
Want to be an activist? Start with your toys - McKenna Pope
Model for response to gender bias: Become an Activist.
How does McKenna Pope respond? *
In what ways are her actions a model?
Think about it!
As you have developed a deeper understanding and awareness of gender roles and biases in advertising, take note of underlying messages in media, movies, and print as you see them through this new lens. What can you do about it?
Note a specific action you can take to battle gender bias and sterotypes. *
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