By: Ana St. John
Advertising campaigns have reinforced and even promoted gender stereotypes throughout the years. Now the perspective is different; the industry is in the process of a change. The award winner advertiser and art director Maria Jose Diaz explained what is causing this transformation.
According to Maria, a few years ago, successful campaigns were created thinking specifically about selling products and highlighting the male point of view because of their financial role in the household, while women were only in charge of taking care of the home and the family.
Female stereotypes have existed in the advertisement of most products, from clothes, toys, and home appliances to cleaning products. They were majorly due to the perception of the role women must play in society and to the low participation of females in advertising campaigns and leadership roles in the industry.
The advertising expert mentioned that the best examples are cleaning brands because they always portray women in charge of the house duties as if these were exclusive to them. This reality has generated feminine stereotypes throughout the years, sexualizing the female body, and even though it is still happening, it is also losing its impact.
“Change of behavior is coming from outside of the industry, not from the inside” the advertiser highlighted.Read more: Gender Stereotypes in Advertising: A conversation with Maria Diaz
Before, advertising used to create trends, but now we see audiences jumping in through social media, setting the tone and demanding change because now they can provide direct feedback.
“A brand can’t use a campaign that reinforces gender stereotypes and get away with it because social media will come in. Cancel culture does not only happen to people brands could also suffer from it.” the advertiser highlighted.
The advertiser has also worked on different campaigns that challenge gender stereotypes, one of them is the campaign “We won’t wait” a student campaign with Levi’s to diminish potty parity she worked with Art Director Aditi Sobti and Copywrite Molly Baraff.
Maria Diaz also reinforced that supporting and encouraging women in creative positions will generate radical transformation because female-to-female support in the industry plays a role in overthrowing gender stereotypes. Advertising is more than a marketing strategy it is an agent of change.