Home About Us Site Map Help


Using Sex to Sell: Topics to Explore Category
Gender Representation

Youth are asked through lessons and activities to explore stereotypes and other issues about gender presented in current advertising.


Acting Out the Gender Roles in Ads
After first analyzing the visual messages about gender provided by models in ads, participants are encouraged to mimic the poses of models in ads and discuss their feelings while assuming these roles.

Images of the Female “Ideal” in Advertising
Through examination and discussion of ads, participants explore how ads use female images to link their products to ideas about what it means to be an “ideal woman.”

Images of the Male “Ideal” In Advertising
Through examination and discussion of ads, participants explore how ads use male images to link their products to ideas about what it means to be an “ideal man.”

Gender Stereotypes in Advertising
Participants identify gender stereotypes in ads. After discussing how these gender stereotypes both reflect and impact the treatment of women and men, youth examine ads that counter such stereotypes.


Creating Ads That Appeal to Both Women and Men
After examining how ads use specific imagery to target men or women, participants cut and paste existing examples to create their own ads that appeal to both sexes.

Challenging Gender Stereotypes
Youth challenge stereotypes by turning “male” ads into “female” ads and “female” ads into “male” ads.

Collage of Role Models
Participants find ads that show positive roles and behaviors for women and men and create a collage of the pictures.

Comparing Ads in Women’s and Men’s Fashion Magazines
Participants compare the type, style, and number of ads in fashion magazines that target men and women.

Selling Beauty to Men
Through the examination of ads that sell male beauty products, from fashion to fitness, youth discuss the relatively recent trend of advertisers targeting male appearance.

Girl / Guy Issues
Participants create brochures that target the concerns of gender specific audiences.

What Do Stereotypes Look Like? Part 1
Participants discuss their personal opinions regarding gender stereotypes, then represent their perceptions in the form of a mural.

What Do Stereotypes Look Like? Part 2
By collecting and examining examples, participants consider the relationship of media stereotypes to some of the commonly held stereotypes of females and males.

Images of Objectification: Bodies in Pieces
Participants examine the objectification of the body in ads that show only body parts.

Soft Sell / Hard Sell
Participants identify the techniques of selling stereotyped images of men and women. For images of women, themes include: superiority, dismemberment, clowning, canting, and dominance/violence. For images of men, themes include: independence, strength, and control.

For More On Gender Representation, See:

Bend It Like Beckham
Through a critical viewing and discussion of the film, participants explore issues of the representation of women, and how gender roles can be tied into greater cultural and social trends. Youth then bring in their own clips from TV or film for further discussion.

Gendered Communication? The Mars / Venus Problem
Through role-playing different communication scenarios, participants discuss some of the male/female behaviors described in John Gray’s book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Focus on observable behavior vs. gender stereotyping. Heterosexism with regard to couples communication is also discussed.

Who’s Playing: the Gender of Gamers
After discussing the game genres that interest boys and girls, participants discuss male and female video game characters and how they embody or defy gender stereotypes. Youth also discuss gaming as a member of the opposite sex, and then create their own game characters that could be played by both male and female gamers.

78 Genes Apart
Participants listen to an NPR report to begin a discussion on genetic differences and similarities of men and women. Youth then read a humor piece on the same subject, and examine how much of the perceived difference between the sexes is based on actual observation, and how much on cultural stereotypes of behavior.

The Clothes Make the Man
After examining the personal style of several male celebrities, youth discuss how fashion impacts media perception of personal identity and masculinity. Youth also discuss how men’s fashion impacts their own style and perceptions of gender.

Why Force Conformity: Ode to the Bra
After a briefly exploring the history of corsets and bras, participants examine how cultural values and aesthetics have shaped women’s bodies throughout history, and then write a poem expressing their emotional response.


Media Literacy 101 Using Sex to Sell Talking About Abstinence Reducing Risks Reading Media Be the Judge Producing Media
Home About Us Contact Us Site Map Privacy Policy