Gender Stereotypes in Ads

There are often gender stereotypes in ads, even ads we love. Some try to contradict well-known stereotypes while others blatantly trhow them out there or make fun of them.

Below are five modern ads that either reinforce a gender stereotype or try to contradict it.


First we have Craftsman tools.craftsman

This ad reinforces the stereotype that men use power tools, not women. The wording does not leave any room for women either, specifically stating that “some men say more with their hands” not some people, not just some, but men. Woodworking and refinishing old furniture has become popular recently and is not just done by men, many women participate in this hobby and would find that Craftsman tools could be very useful.



Next is the NFL fan shop.

This commercial shows a woman with an interest in football which contradicts the gender stereotype that men like football. Her interest is known by her in-laws who send her a shirt for the Patriots and her own family who send her a Dolphins jersey. Her husband is in the background, but there is no evidence that she likes football only because of him. And it looks like his family is a Patriots family, which shows that she has her own interest, and does not just follow his interests.

I was actually a little surprised to find this commercial for Xbox One:

This commercial contradicts two gender stereotypes. First,  the Xbox belongs to the woman, not the man, as it recognizes her face when she comes up. And she plays video games, not just girly games or casual games, but a violent game killing zombies which you would not typically expect from a woman, especially not a woman in a commercial. The other stereotype that it contradicts is that she is the one drinking an telling the man to get her a beer. I have never seen ithis in another commercial. This is usually the other way around in movies, commercials, TV shows, anything. The man is always the one being served by the woman, but not here.


The next commercial is for Nissan.

This commercial shows three female characters: an astronaut, a mother, and a young girl. While the astronaut contradicts the stereotype that science-related positions are held by males , or that harder jobs are done by males, the mother is shown as a typical caregiver. The girl does not do much of anything in the commercial but comparing her with the young boys, they do activities that are far more active and dangerous than she does. She only sits and watches television while they are out climbing a rough cliff face and jumping off of the top into some water, reinforcing the stereotype that boys are more adventurous and reckless than girls.


And the last commercial is for Microsoft.

This commercial shows boys being typical boys. They are playing with their toys in the office, coming up with “creative” ways to transfer data. While the boss of the office is female, she is shown as not being playful at all. And when she says that the file transfer nonsense is “grounded”, it is most likely referring to the fact that they were using a helicopter to fly their flash drive from one side of the room to the other, but it could also be taken as that she is like a mother and is grounding the boys for being childish.