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Samuel James Conroy

Confirmation Progymnasmata AD

Confirmation Progymnasmata

            Diane Hope does a deep look into the advertising world, particularly surrounding how men and women are portrayed in advertising. At the end of the day, an ad is trying to sell you a commodity, which means it is going to show you whatever the advertising company best believes will sell this product. Gender is a defining element in advertising. Since overconsumption and environmental degradation are becoming an ever-growing issue, advertising firms need to cover up these issues through their creative imagery, typically surrounding gender. This goes as far back as the ads for the Buffalo Pan American Exposition of 1901.

“Niagara,” personifies the 156 HOPE great falls as a slim young woman (see Fig. 7.1). She stands under a rainbow—still and posed, the fertile shape of breasts and legs revealed by her diaphanous gown as it is transformed into cascades of water that fall from her outstretched arms to the encircling river” (Hope).

The image can be seen here:

Then, for the San Francisco Panama Pacific International Exposition, a similar advertisement was done, except this time is was a man resembling Hercules. The advertisement shows the man splitting North and South America to create the Panama Canal.

The image can be seen here:

In the Hercules ad, masculinity is shown be how he is defining the land around him and literally shaping the earth, while for the Niagara ad, “Nature feminized is a seductive object of our gaze” (Hope). Overall, advertising has always painted a feminized environment as an attractive woman who is seductive in nature, while the man is a dominant force that shapes the world around him.

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