Phillip Wade Wilson

Gendered Environments – Confirmation

“Advertising’s promotion of overconsumption – most frequently through constructs of gender identity – is a major link between overproduction and environmental degradation”

In the advertisement I am using for my MP2 project, gender roles play a huge part in how the women and men in the advertisement interact with the environment. As Hope explains in chapter seven, “Gendered Environments: Gender and the Natural World in the Rhetoric of Advertising”, when referenced in relation to nature women are depicted as consumers and men are made out to be producers in advertising. This very aspect is present in all the scenes of women and men in nature.

Women are shown to be one with nature. A woman looks over the mountainous region of the Middle East. A woman walks gently in soft sand leaving only a shallow footprint behind her, even being sure to step over low hanging palm leaves. A woman is washing her face in the waters of an oasis as the sun gently shines through on her. All of these representations show women interacting with the environment in a way that shows she has the utmost care for her surroundings and all, like Hope’s characteristics state, are slim and acting passively to nature almost as if they give the earth the consent to dominate them. Hope explains that women are not compared to the earth but rather they are the earth, and in relation to the way men are represented it makes sense they are positioned this way.

Men are the opposite, where women look as if the earth is dominating them, men look as if they are dominating the earth. And as I stated before it should be no surprise women are in a passive position because these advertisements are playing on the gender roles society has semiologicaly created for men and women. In the advertisement I am using for my project, a man takes the lead in a hike through a mountainous region with a woman, a man is already waiting for the woman who is coming outside, a man is diving down into the Arabian Gulf to hunt for clams, a man cracks open a clam and reveals a pearl. In all of these situations, men are not solely dominating the environment but also the scenes where they are interacting with women. Even when the man finds the pearl, the next scene shows a woman wearing what is to be assumed a necklace from that very pearl – they cast the man as the producer and the woman as the consumer.

Though the bigger picture here is the use of these romantic and gender-based scenes to distract from the overconsumption and overuse of our environments across the globe. Many of the ads Hope refers to seem to be targeted toward Americans, yet this advertisement is a global one meant to attract the wealthiest citizens from around the world. Due to the constant construction, oil extraction, and overall global warming, the United Arab Emirates rivals the United States for the largest consumerist and consumptionist nation. While this is a travel advertisement, so the goal is to make it look as great as possible to get people to come, the use of human interaction with pristine waters and endless foliage essentially undercuts the reality of the situation. It makes me wonder, what it would really be like to visit since the advertisement almost seems like a work of propaganda (I have attached it below in a link).

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