How advertising shapes the image of gayness in America

Dec 05, 2011

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the presence of gays in American advertising. The media has transformed the stigmatized stereotype of gays into a new, socially desirable image of stylish consumers with high-end taste. This marketing strategy affects the way gays understand themselves and influences the meaning of gayness for society in general, explains Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai, assistant professor of advertising at the University of Miami School of Communication, in a study recently published by the Journal of Advertising.

"The findings illuminate the influential role of in informing and shaping personal identities and highlights the often ignored sociopolitical dimension of advertising, Tsai says. "In other words, when marketers argue that no matter who they target, 'it's just business,' their marketing messages actually have broader, cultural impacts on the minority community."

The researcher uses an interpretive approach to analyze television commercials made by mainstream advertisers. In the study, 25 gay and lesbian participants with different ethnic, age, and professional backgrounds observed 10-15 commercials that "exemplified dominant gay and lesbian portrayals." The participants discussed how the advertising representations were similar or different to how they viewed themselves and provided "vivid interpretations of the media representations."

According to the study, five specific strategies emerged within these minority consumers to interpret the messages catered to them:

  • accepted the perception of "higher disposable income of gay male households" and transformed material consumption into a definition of self-worth. "I was on many consumer panels because I fit the profile of gay men who have disposable income and travel a lot," one participant said.
  • Participation in the mass market was equated to membership in mainstream society. "We got money. We contribute to the corporation. We contributed to big business. We got families. We are part of the mainstream now," a participant said.
  • Targeted advertising was identified as an essential step in achieving social political inclusion. "Consumer rights and citizenship, civil rights are intricately connected in the United States […]. And when we express our identity as a consumer, that reinforces and strengthens our identity as a citizen," a participant said.
  • Perpetuating problematic depictions of gays as effeminate men or lesbians as "sexualized femme" was tolerated in the interests of social inclusion. "I was ambivalent when watching this commercial. It's playing up the stereotype. But for me, if you can see gay people on TV in Texas, it's positive," one participant said.
  • Participants were willing to give up something of their subcultural identity for the sake of total acceptance in society. "When we are truly accepted in the society, we will just blend in […] even that might mean sacrificing our uniqueness," a participant said.
The findings are published in an article titled "How Minority Consumers Use Targeted Advertising as Pathways to Self-Empowerment: Gay Men's and Lesbians' Reading of Out-of-the-Closet Advertising" Journal of Advertising Vol. 40 No. 3 Fall 2011.

Currently, the researcher is working on a project about gay and lesbian consumers' political consumption to understand how they would respond to political appeals in advertising messages (e.g., companies advertising themselves as a gay-friendly work place, or a long-time sponsor of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community).

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Nerdyguy
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2011
"How advertising shapes the image of gayness in America"

Must be a British thing. In the U.S., you'd never use the word "gayness" like this. Substitute "homosexuality" or "gays" or "gays and lesbians" and it makes sense here. Who knows, maybe it's poorly written in both countries and didn't get caught by the editors?
FrankHerbert
2.5 / 5 (82) Dec 05, 2011
Capitalism has chosen to elevate gays to full membership in society. Who will take their place as "the other"?

Muslims?
freethinking
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 05, 2011
Marlboro man comes to mind when I read this. How many people died because of companies promoting smoking? How many people will die because advertisers promote homosexuality? Homosexual lifestyle is one of the most destructive lifestyles one can choose.
Nerdyguy
2 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2011
Capitalism has chosen to elevate gays to full membership in society. Who will take their place as "the other"?

Muslims?


Well, makes about as much sense as any of your crackpot nonsense. So, in that vein, par for the course.
FrankHerbert
2.5 / 5 (83) Dec 05, 2011
Marlboro man comes to mind when I read this. How many people died because of companies promoting smoking? How many people will die because advertisers promote homosexuality? Homosexual lifestyle is one of the most destructive lifestyles one can choose.


Well by that logic Christianity should be banned. It's outwardly hostile to all other people's and quite violent. Also diseases have been known to spread in christian areas.

For example, the christian areas of Africa are more inflicted with AIDS than the islamic parts.

Maybe the problem is christians are latent homosexuals and aren't willing to take prophylactic measures to compensate for their lifestyle?

EDIT:
He's not trolling you moron. He's just like you, a conservative with VVVV-his head so far up his ass he'll never see daylight.-VVVV
Nerdyguy
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 05, 2011
Marlboro man comes to mind when I read this. How many people died because of companies promoting smoking? How many people will die because advertisers promote homosexuality? Homosexual lifestyle is one of the most destructive lifestyles one can choose.


Come on. If you're going to troll, isn't the whole idea to be slightly more sly about it than this ridiculous rant? Shouldn't you at least try to work in some "scientific" information from the Church of Latter-Day Homophobes or something?
Nerdyguy
1.1 / 5 (34) Dec 05, 2011
@FrankHerbert: do you ever sit back and read some of the nonsense you spout?

You disagree with the guy. I disagree with the guy. And your brilliant conclusion based on this rock-solid information is that this makes him a conservative "like me". Derrrrrrrrrr.
FrankHerbert
2.4 / 5 (84) Dec 05, 2011
The point is he's not a troll because he's sincere. You are I'm assuming sincere in your occasionally equally inane BS. You're both conservatives.

You were calling him a troll because you don't want him to speak for your side. Too bad, he does. Deal with it.
freethinking
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
FH, Christians violent yea right! Next time a christian blows themselves up, riots in the street because they were insulted, or didn't get something (aka OWS gang) let me know.

Homosexual a dangerous lifestyle, ah yes it is. AIDS would not exist to the extent it does today if it were not for gay sex. Homosexuals have a dramatic shorter lifespan than heterosexuals. They also have many more mental issues, and even though it is not PC to speak about it they are more prone to be pedophiles.
FrankHerbert
2.5 / 5 (82) Dec 05, 2011
The Iraq war is a Christian war.

http://jonathantu...sayings/

GQ has an array of daily briefing booklet sent by Donald Rumsfeld to George W. Bush on the Iraq war and the war on terror that featured Biblical sayings. This is the reading prepared for a president who called the war on terror a crusade. Such Biblical inspirational sayings as Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear HimTo deliver their soul from death were coupled with triumphant pictures for the Presidents daily briefings. The covers read like a Sunday school workbook for an adolescent student.


So... are you going to deny Bush as a Christian... or what?

Homosexual a dangerous lifestyle, ah yes it is.


Christianity is a dangerous lifestyle that promotes the spread of AIDS. Just look at a density map of Africa showing the spread of the disease.
Nerdyguy
2.5 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
The point is he's not a troll because he's sincere. You are I'm assuming sincere in your occasionally equally inane BS. You're both conservatives.

You were calling him a troll because you don't want him to speak for your side. Too bad, he does. Deal with it.


The problem with people like you...ok, ok, ONE of the problems with short-sighted, limited intellect, fear-and-hate mongering people like yourself is that you're stuck in some sort of middle-school level thought pattern where you actually believe that people are grouped into "sides". In your case specifically, you seem to think those "sides" are conservative and liberal. Anyone you don't like or disagree with even once gets this treatment: labelled a conservative, lots of nasty name calling, dozens of your alias sock-puppets robo-voting their comments, etc.

This may shock you: it's not all that simple.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2011
You were calling him a troll because you don't want him to speak for your side. Too bad, he does. Deal with it.


Grow up Frank. You don't have mind-reading ability, and have no idea of what other people's motivations are.

I called him a troll because he was clearly trolling. It's a word, with a common meaning and a definition. And it fits perfectly.
FrankHerbert
2.5 / 5 (80) Dec 05, 2011
The problem with people like you...


Uhh you're the one that constantly tries to label you disagree with as liberal, morons, children, or girly. I'm simply responding in a frustrating manner hoping you might just realize you're engaged in the same BS. This is admittedly unlikely.

Grow up Frank. You don't have mind-reading ability, and have no idea of what other people's motivations are.

I called him a troll because he was clearly trolling. It's a word, with a common meaning and a definition. And it fits perfectly.


It's very clear from his post history that he was sincere. No mind reading was necessary.

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.


It's my opinion that wasn't his intention. He's not a troll.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
The Iraq war is a Christian war.


Looney. Even by your flagrantly looney standards. I mean, wow. Just wow.
FrankHerbert
2.5 / 5 (81) Dec 05, 2011
Anyone you don't like or disagree with even once gets this treatment: labelled a conservative, lots of nasty name calling, dozens of your alias sock-puppets robo-voting their comments, etc.


Right. Do you also have voices in your head? Just because people give you poor ratings doesn't mean it's some liberal conspiracy. Try having good opinions.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011


Uhh you're the one that constantly tries to label you disagree with as liberal. I'm simply responding.


Truly funny stuff. I MAYBE have used the word liberal on PhysOrg a total of 3 times. Maybe. I am honestly convinced that with all of your sock-puppet aliases and whatnot that you get confused even over the people with whom you are debating.

Or perhaps, as I have suggested above, you literally can not comprehend that human viewpoints are quite complex and don't fit into neatly-defined categories that make it easy for you to identify your teammates and your "opponents".
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
Uhh you're the one that constantly tries to label you disagree with as liberal, morons, children, or girly.


Your ability to fabricate anything you wish and attempt to mold it into your reality is amazing. You are now literally making things up out of whole cloth. While I certainly do use the word moron quite a bit, I explained above that you have me confused with someone else if you think I'm a liberal-conservative looney. In addition, "children" or "girly" just aren't in my extensive repertoire.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
Anyone you don't like or disagree with even once gets this treatment: labelled a conservative, lots of nasty name calling, dozens of your alias sock-puppets robo-voting their comments, etc.


Right. Do you also have voices in your head? Just because people give you poor ratings doesn't mean it's some liberal conspiracy. Try having good opinions.


lmao. Nice try Franky. However, your sock-puppet voting trick is well documented. I even recall you admitting to it some time ago (more than once).

There's no real mystery. Disagree with Franky, and two things happen:

1) Frank begins showing up just after every post you make on any article, any topic in order to pick a fight.

2) Every single post will get a robo-voted series of "1" votes, within about 2 seconds of each other, across multiple articles. The same 5/6/7 names, in the very same order.

Hilarious stuff. But, I supposed it keeps you from stalking children or whatever else you'd be doing otherwise.
FrankHerbert
2.5 / 5 (81) Dec 05, 2011
Your disinformation is up there with the best of them.

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations set up to combat secret organizations give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through front groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy.* Spokesmen of the various fundamentalist anti-Communist crusades openly express their admiration for the dedication and discipline the Communist cause calls forth.
FrankHerbert
2.5 / 5 (80) Dec 05, 2011
That's from "The Paranoid Style in American Politics".

It demonstrates that Nerdyguy has recognized me as "the enemy" and is willing to do or say anything to defeat me. He will charge me with every little flaw he sees in himself.

He is engaged in disinformation; therefore, he accuses me of it. He is also a puppet account. Whose I'm not exactly sure, but he didn't register until all this down-voting business started that the teabaggers here feel they need to blame on me.

I guess they are threatened by factual information and having their opinions-presented-as-facts called out as such.
Nerdyguy
1.1 / 5 (34) Dec 05, 2011
That's from "The Paranoid Style in American Politics".

It demonstrates that Nerdyguy has recognized me as "the enemy" and is willing to do or say anything to defeat me. He will charge me with every little flaw he sees in himself.

He is engaged in disinformation; therefore, he accuses me of it. He is also a puppet account. Whose I'm not exactly sure, but he didn't register until all this down-voting business started that the teabaggers here feel they need to blame on me.

I guess they are threatened by factual information and having their opinions-presented-as-facts called out as such.


lmao dude. So, your original thought process is to attack me by accusing me of precisely what I've accused you of doing? Come on, you can do slightly better. I mean, creativity counts here!

BTW, who is "they"? All those neo-conservative right-wing mafioso out to get you? With all our super-secret CIA contacts, you'd better be careful.
Norezar
1 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2011
Oh...

I thought this was an article about some new Apple iPad or such.