Visible Minority Women In Mainstream Advertising: Distorted Mirror or Looking Glass?

AuthorKunz, Jean Lock; Fleras, Augie.
TitleVisible Minority Women In Mainstream Advertising: Distorted Mirror or Looking Glass?
Journal NameAtlantis: A women's studies journal.
Volume And IssueVol.22, No.2.
PublisherAtlantis: A women's studies journal.
Publisher URLURL
Place of PublicationWolfville, NS.
Publication TypeJournal Article
LocationCRRF+Black Box
SubjectMedia; Advertising; Diversity Portrayal; Multiculturalism; Minority Women; Canadian Overview
CRRF IdentifierMe-Ad-BR-1220
Last modified2015-07-14
English Abstract

The primary purpose of this research report is to follow up on the 1984 study of Maclean's magazine which revealed that visible minority women remained almost invisible in ads in this magazine. The challenge of the authors was to document how the representation of women has changed or remained the same in the ten years following this study. The position of the authors is that there has been a dramatic social, political, demographic and cultural change in Canada since 1984, resulting in a social climate which puts pressure on advertisers to be more representative of the population in their ads. With this underlying presumption, the authors proceeded to determine whether the practises of Maclean's Magazine underwent a concurrent improvement in the interim years. The main conclusion of the study is that although the number of visible minority women who are presented in ads is increasing, visible minority women are still being slotted into a predetermined set of roles, based on the continuing perception of visible minority women as 'other.'

By describing one group as 'visible' or 'coloured' it is implied that the reference group is white. The 'invisible' or 'white' is thus given an omnipresent supremacy, reinforcing the assumption that 'white' is the standard against which we measure our values and conducts. (p.29)

'The Judeo-Christian -liberal democratic-capitalist tradition at the core of modern media is so culturally embedded and tacitly accepted that the inferiorization of the 'other' through stereotypes is rendered natural and inevitable' (George and Sanders 1995). These eurocentrist commercials have been internalized to the degree that we might even take their values for granted. (p.33)