In this paper, the aim was to highlight the roles that the media play in the expectations around physical health by race and gender. A comparative content analysis was conducted on advertisements featured in online T.V ads. Results from this study are pointing to the notion that in order for an ad to make a solid appeal with respect to physical health to the targeted audience, two parameters are critical: race and culture. However, other scholars have a contrary opinion. They think that advertisements ought to be presented in a manner that shows gender equity and not gender segregation.
There is no doubt that media has a remarkable effect on people’s choices and beliefs. Many stakeholders have realized the power of the media, and for that matter, they use it in the championship of their brands through advertisements (ads). The visual culture of people is largely connected to issues of gender and race. Goffman (1961) contends that the ability to identify another person as either male or female or black or white is integral to the ability to interact with others. Goffman (1961) further notes that this relies on unique signals that people use in the categorization of others as either male or female. For that matter, it is paramount for people to effectively comprehend those signals, and this depends on decoding of information. Goffman (1961) further illustrates that there is nothing natural about gender and race identity. He sees it as part of the process that humans use when learning about different attributes that they perceive to be themselves particularly, in gender and racial terms.
Advertisements shape the way people perceive themselves in gender and racial terms, as well as their health (Slattery, 2003). It is apparent that males in ads are shown to be competitive, strong, intelligent, and masculine. In contrast, females tend to be portrayed as are often presented in advertisements as masculine, strong, intelligent, and competitive. On the contrary, females are shown to be emotional, empathetic, gentle, and dependent (Slattery, 2003). The cues transmitted through ads have a crucial effect on people’s perception of their gender and health, and this is phenomenon is socially created. This phenomenon is realized through achieved through gender; different people in the advertisements execute roles that are associated with their gender and race, and in effect, that affects the audiences’ perception of gender and to some extent their health (Slattery, 2003).
Statement of the problem
Media has a significant impact on how people perceive themselves in terms of gender and race as well as their health. For that matter, people’s choices and health are based on their gender and race as most ads portray. Understanding the roles that media plays in the expectations around physical health by race and gender is key to the positive regulation of the media for a better course.
This paper seeks to highlight the roles that the media play in the expectations around physical health by race and gender. A comparative content analysis was conducted on advertisements featured in online T.V ads. This is a qualitative and quantitative research paper. The qualitative analysis relied on content analysis while a bivariate regression using GSS was used to conduct a quantitative analysis.
What role does the media play in the expectations around physical health by race and gender?
This literature reviews is vital to the topic at hand because it provides previous findings, and research ideas from other scholars that are key in understanding the concepts under evaluation. Visual culture has been found by many studies to have an integral link with larger issues of gender (Slattery, 2003). Firstly, the ability to perceive an individual as either male or female has an impact on how one interacts with others, and that is a socially created phenomenon. It is evident that most ads take into consideration the race and gender of the actor in the ad with the aim if influencing the targeted audience in a more solid manner (Slattery, 2003). The issues of masculinity and feminity and race are always included in ads with the aim of attracting the attention of the targeted audience (Slattery, 2003). Ads have a crucial effect on the health choices of people. For example, ads that promote cigarettes, medications or food have a stronger appeal to the targeted audience when race and gender are included in the ad.
People ought to brace themselves with better techniques of sending signals to others in a way that will allow others to see them in a socially recognizable manner. Advertisements, as stated by Goffman (1961), denote commercial realism, and they try to portray the world in real terms. For that matter, advertisements ought to be presented in a manner that shows gender equity and not gender segregation. They should provide an opportunity for the audience to make their independent choices that are not governed by gender or race.
Researchers who study ads that has an effect on people’s health choices have found that advertisements have a huge impact on people’s choices (Slattery, 2003). And when physical health is taken into consideration, it was discovered that ads that promote alcohol and tobacco have a huge impact on the sales realized. In fact, without advertisements, those brands are not easily recognized by the consumers. In addition, it has been found that the physical health effects that most consumers of tobacco and alcohol have are partly influenced by the ads of those commodities (Slattery, 2003). A significant number of consumers who have been affected by tobacco or alcohol in one way or another have indicated that their consumption of those commodities was influenced by advertisements. Other studies have revealed contradictory results (Slattery, 2003). For instance, the National Bureau of Economic Research reports that some a number of studies have not found an association between alcohol and tobacco consumption and advertisements (Slattery, 2003).
A comparative content analysis was conducted on advertisements featured in online T.V ads. Mixed methods research design was employed.
In this research paper, 15 ads were sampled from the internet. There were three groups of ads: smoking, diabetes, and depression. In each category, five ads were explored. In order to be chosen, the desired ad had to fall in any of the three categories listed above (smoking, diabetes, and depression). These categories were chosen because there is a huge number of ads targeting audiences in those categories. In essence, each category has many ads to sample from, and most ads in these categories have all the three aspects being tested: race, gender, and health. Random sampling was used in selecting representative ads.
In this research design, as noted by Creswell and Plano (2011), investigators can either create or employ philosophical stances that are not only diverse, but also explicit. The authors term them as dialectical stances. In essence, these stances are integral in closing the gap between two world views: social constructivist and post-positivist (transformative perspectives, as well as pragmatic perspectives. For that matter, a mixed methods approach is integral in transforming the tensions that are embedded in the varying perspectives into knowledge and ideas that are fresh, most importantly via dialectical discovery. For example, pragmatic perspectives, examine what works via the use of various approaches normally by giving precedence to the significance of the research questions under study. In line with this, objective and subjective ideas are put into an account. On top of that, a transformative perspective suggests an orienting framework that mixed methods employ.
Generally, researches tend to be affiliated with one or more theoretical frameworks that are either biological, sociological or behavioral that guide their researches. On a positive note, the employment of mixed research methods allows the investigator to embrace other theoretical frameworks. From a qualitative perspective, concentration is on the contexts, as well as meanings of people and their experiences. In essence, research that is theory-driven is championed. In the long run, the investigators have a detailed understanding of the process, especially those that develop with time. Furthermore, qualitative approaches help in the collection of data in scenarios measures are absent with the chief goal of strengthening the comprehension of the concepts under study (Hesse-Biber 2010).
In contrast, quantitative research is embedded in a deductive inquiry. The main aim of such a design is test theories and hypotheses, as well as provide detailed descriptive information, and showcase the interrelatedness of variables. The most significant value of a quantitative approach is that the outcome can be measured unlike in the qualitative approach. This phenomenon is extremely useful in the generation or revolution of a cause and effect theory, as well as generalizations and replications. For that matter, the use of mixed methods begins with starts with a realization that the investigator is evaluating the social and health world. Consequently, social inquiry is put to task compute different sources, as well as levels that shape a given problem (Morgan 2007). For example, organizations and family, policies and government.
Data that is collected qualitatively is combined with that collected quantitatively. The strengths of both methods are put together and thus offset the weakness realized when a single method is used. For example, it is hard to understand the context that people talk when a quantitative research design is used. In fact, some of the voices of the participants can be neglected. The biases of the researcher manifest in the background unknowingly, and these weaknesses are eliminated through the use of a qualitative approach. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is seen weak because of the personal interpretations of the investigator. These weaknesses are eliminated through the use of quantitative design.
Additionally, the deployment of search a research design helps in the provision of sufficient evidence needed tin the evaluation of the research questions and objectives at hand. In essence, investigators that deploy this design are equipped with numerous data collection and analysis tools unlike when a single method is used. In fact, it helps the investigators to answer questions that would not have been solved when a single approach was used. Following this realization, mixed methods design was selected as the design for this paper. In essence, the role media plays in shaping physical health on the basis of gender and race will be understood.
However, this design has a number of setbacks. Firstly, it is cumbersome because it calls for an in-depth data collection process, and demands different expertise in both areas. For that matter, data collection and analysis takes time; therefore, there is a need to have patience.
Independent variable: gender and race
Dependent Variable: effect of media on the expectations around physical health by race and gender.
Gender: denotes the state being male or female, and it is socially constructed.
Race: Another social construct that groups people on the basis of their physical characteristics.
Physical health: denotes he overall health of a person including their physical fitness.
Advertisement (ad): a notice that broadcasted in different media with the aim of informing or persuading a targeted audience.
Bivariate Regressions Analysis- GSS Data
Qualitatively, content analysis was used to assess the role media plays in shaping physical health on the basis of gender and race. In the other hand, bivariate regression using GSS was employed in computing the extent to which media shapes the expectations around physical health by race and gender. In this paper modeling was not necessary because the data was effectively analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. As indicated, an online search was conducted using key terms such as smoking, depression and diabetes. Commercial ads (videos) that were present on the visited sites were collected and analyzed. The ads that were collected were those that targeted audiences with smoking, depression or diabetes problems.
In grounded research, the researcher uses the data collected to construct a theory. In this research paper, grounded theory is employed. Here, the researcher is only involved in the random selection of ads targeting three audiences, and analyzing how race and gender affect the expectations of physical health as portrayed in those representative ads. From here, the theory is constructed with respect to the findings of the study.
The advert was examined to check if the actor(s) in the ad are associated with the two parameters of gender and race. Positive was indicated where there was a correlation and negative no correlation.
This study is in tandem with the grounded theory. As noted earlier, in grounded research, the investigator comes up with a new theory according to the findings of the study at hand. This is what has happened in this research. In this research, I was involved in the random selection of ads targeting three audiences, and analyzing how race and gender affect the expectations of physical health as portrayed on those representative ads. From here, a theory was constructed with respect to the findings of the study. From the underpinnings of the grounded theory, data has revealed that in order for an ad to have a greater impact race and gender parameters must be included. In essence, this study has found that age and gender are two significant parameters in an ad. If the ad has to make a huge appeal with respect to physical health, then these two pentameters must be included, and this is very vital when advertising in the American society. However, this is not what scholars like Goffman stand for.
In addition, in the current society, the issues of masculinity and feminity and race play an important role in ads with the aim of attracting the attention of the targeted audience. Ads are often used to pursued people in a cetin way. It is paramount for everybody to have an independent of what they want. Ads should only be informative and not persuasive. That is why Goffman (1961) hold the opinion that ads must not show racial and gender inequity and segregation, but rather, the audience that is targeted should be free in its choice of any given brand, and this must not be governed by race or gender.
The research study at hand was limited by the fact that only a few ads were analyzed. In order to have a better outcome, it would be prudent for future studies to take into consideration a sizable sample size. That will help in making more concrete conclusions. In addition, future studies can widen the scope of the ads that are sampled. In this study, only ads that targeted three audiences were analyzed.
This research proposal sought to evaluate the role that media plays in the expectations around physical health by race and gender. There is no doubt that media has a remarkable effect on people’s choices and beliefs. Many stakeholders have realized the power of the media, and for that matter, they use it in the championship of their brands through advertisements (ads). Advertisements shape the way people perceive themselves in gender and racial terms, as well as their health. The American society is not only diverse, but also competitive. Brands must be custom made for a given race or gender in the American society for them to have a greater recognition. In line with this, gender and race represent integral parameter in the advertisement industry of the US market as shown by this study. There are different opinions from other scholars such as Goffman. The contrary opinions are suggesting that ads must provide an opportunity for the audience to make their independent choices that are not governed by gender or race. This research paper useful to my peers because it provides new findings with respect to the roles that the media play in the expectations around physical health by race and gender. These findings can be used as a basing for future studies or in policy formation.
Creswell, J. and Plano, L. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Goffman, E. (1961). Gender advertisement. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
Hesse-Biber, S. N. (2010). Mixed methods research: Merging theory with practice. New York: Guilford.
Morgan, D. L. (2007). Paradigms lost and pragmatism regained: Methodological implications of combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(1), 48-76.
Slattery, M. (2003). Key Ideas in Sociology. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.