The Changing Roles and Women in Ads Used by Electronic Kitchenware Manufacturing Sector in Turkey, Since Beginning to Present


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The Changing Roles and Women in Ads Used by Electronic Kitchenware Manufacturing Sector in Turkey, Since Beginning to Present
  1 The Changing Roles And Women in Ads Used By Electronic Kitchenware Manufacturing Sector in Turkey, Since Beginning To Present Assist. Prof. Dr. Dilek HOCAOĞLU 1   Dr. Demet GÜNAL ERTAŞ 2  Dr. Dilek AKBULUT 3   Introduction Product ranges constantly expand and increase in number along with brands in our day, demanding more and more importance placed in product design and marketing. Consumption of designed and manufactured products reaches beyond the limits of requirement and advertising emphasizes on a different manner of consumption. Advertisements are targeted on women based on the assumption that women are more prone to shopping than men. Based on this perception, this paper discusses the relationship of product-gender in printed advertising, which has a key role in promotion and sales of products manufactured in Turkey. The subject is exemplified with printed advertisements designed for electronic kitchen appliances manufactured by the Turkish corporation Arçelik. How the role of woman is fictionalized, the fashion in which the image of woman is used, its influence on promotion and relationship to the marketed product are examined through examples under the heading of advertising. Consumption and Advertising Dictionary of Advertising Terms suggests that advertising is a process of marketing that most cost-efficiently transmits the most persuasive sales message for any goods or service to the most appropriate mass (Melek, 1995). The general purpose of advertising is to announce a new product or service to the target consumer and establish in them positive perception of the product, brand and establishment. The sales goal of advertising is to motivate and convince the consumer to purchase the product or service, to promote and demonstrate benefits of and generate demand for products or service manufactured by establishments ( Yıldız , 2006). Advertisement must create a bond between the product it promotes and the user to achieve the desired goal. These bonds are mostly established through the transmitted concepts (Karaca, Papatya, 2011). Gender and Advertising The term of sex   denotes the biological aspect of being a woman or a man while the term of gender stands for the meanings and expectations attributed to being a woman or a ma n by the society and culture (Dö kmen, 2004). Gender roles demonstrate how men and women are supposed to behave and various duties they are expected to carry out. In advanced industrial societies, the role assigned to women is to do house chores or work in services, in other words, do “the women’s job.” Meanwhile, men spend their life working on their careers outside of home (Marshall, 1999). Advertisements are used to instruct women on the manner they must work in predetermined areas of life according to their gender role ( Yıldız , 2006). Sociocultural Factors in Advertising The goal of advertisers is to transmit the effective and persuasive sales message to the consumer correctly. In doing that, they first need to take into consideration the values, consumption habits, social and cultural structure of the society they operate in. There are numerous factors that influence the decision-making process of individual purchasing behaviors, 1   Assit. Prof. Dr., Department of Industrial Product Design, Doğuş University, Turkey 2  Dr., Department of Industrial Product Design, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey 3  Dr., Department of Industrial Product Design, Gazi University, Turkey    2 including necessity, motivation, perception, attitude, beliefs and personality as socio-psychological factors. Sociocultural factors are family, social class, reference groups and culture. Demographic factors with the most significant influence on purchasing decisions are income, education, profession and gender. While the father figure was regarded as the head of the household and the purchaser, woman, having earned financial power in today’s world after serving as an assistant in purchasing decisions of the family, gained a say on what money should be spent. Moreover, women became more active in spending on not only cleaning, food and clothing but also automobiles, electronics etc., which used to be a male territory, and led businesses to revise their sales and marketing methods (Hız, Dinçer & Karaosmanoğlu, 2010).   The Female Role in Advertising Marketers recognized the importance of women a long time ago as they met the eye more at home, at work and in society. The female image started to be used in order to support the purchasing decisions of women in favor of various consumer goods. However, only primary roles of women in society (mother and wife) were depicted in these advertisements. It is observed that women in advertisements could easily make purchasing decisions on food and small goods but made decisions with men to purchase products and services like a vacation, house, insurance policies and durable consumer goods (Hız, Dinçer& Karaosmanoğlu, 2010).  Women had two basic functions in mass-media advertising: the first addresses them the target mass and the second positions them to appeal to the target mass. In contemporary societies, women turned into luxury and extraordinary consumption instruments and advertising material that can be addressed to their own appreciation as well as that of men. In this aspect, woman turns into an object. Female body becomes the most effective visual object for provoking and escalating consumption desires of masses towards products. In this context, woman is described as a mother or a wife as well as a sex object. Three basic roles of women are constantly emphasized as cleaning, cooking and taking care of children in advertisements that position them as mother or wife. The updated role and image of woman in social life is projected as the one who works without forgetting she is also a mother and/or a wife or a woman who produces solutions in recent advertisements. On one hand, the traditional role of women are carefully preserved, while on the other hand, new grounds are established where women can express their individualistic and competitive side (Hiz, Dinçer   & Karaosmanoğlu, 2010).  Demir (2006) analyzed the contents of 200 advertisements published between the years of 2000 and 2004 and exhibited the male and female stereotypes in TV advertisements and concluded that the young, beautiful and attractive female stereotype participates more in advertisements while the values attributed to both genders by the patriarchal culture changes in advertising. Sarı (1999) states, while men are portrayed through their attitude, women are depicted through their images in advertisements. Women appear in product ads that target them such as cosmetics, clothing, household goods and health products; together with the automobile advertisements that target men. In the latter, women are used as more of a sex object (Çetinkaya, 1993;  127). The female image in advertisements can generally be assigned to one of the four following models:    Woman as a mother or a wife    Young and attractive woman    Working woman    Old woman (Yıldız, 1996).  There are also new images of independent, confident, hardworking women who look for excitement, success and adventure in recent advertisements. However, these new images are masculinized and de-identified into sex objects (Hızal, 2004: 36). The following presents the female image by years: 1950-1960: Women and children are frequently used in the advertisements in 1950s and motherhood and babies are conveyed to be important for contemporary women (Wernick, 1999). 1960-1965: In 1960s, women who live according to the duties of a mother and a housewife were criticized for their graceful, domesticated and feminine portrayal in advertisements. The gender code was shaken in the 60s and 70s (Ün, 1996).    3 1965-1970: In the second half of 1960s and in 1970s, the rise of the Second Wave Feminist Movement, increasing number of women working in public service and the reflection of these social alterations in media consequently changed representation of women in advertisements. A new category of “reconciling women,” who are neither too feminine nor too feminist, who establish a balance between the traditional and the modern but also can prefer their home and children to the public service, emerged in this period. So, advertisements started to depict women as people that do not only consume for their home and children but also for themselves. However, the category also led to the rise of physical beauty and attractiveness as a measure of achievement at home and in public (RTÜK, 2004).  1970-1980: Most of the men in the advertisements in 1970s are described as informed experts on purchased products while women are only portrayed as a user of the purchased product (Dökmen, 2010).  1980-1990: In 1980s, as the notion of “equality” became one of the basic conc epts, the category of “super woman” came to life next to the “good mother and wife” and “reconciling woman”   (RTÜK, 2004).  The free market economy was engaged as part of the financial decisions made on January 24, 1980; people were encouraged to consume and as a result the 80s proved to be milestone in advertising. 1990-2000: Private television channels started broadcasting in 1990s, inducing a great change in advertising (Yavuz, 2004: 41). During this period, commercials were designed in a way that people c ould watch like TV series (Özçağlayan, 2000: 50).  2000-2010: In spite of the development in advertising and the transformation in the female image, women were once again cast as housewives, mothers and wives in the advertisements of 2000s. Whiteware Consumption and Advertisements in Context of Modernism and Gender According to Veblen, in early 20 th  century, men regarded their wives and daughters as instruments through which they can exhibit their wealth (Veblen, 1958). Moreover, consuming by proxy of the head of the house became a duty for women in the course of financial development. However, as time went by, owners of lesser wealth adopted luxury lifestyles obtained from expensive shopping as well. As heavy industry declined in 1960s, the increased male unemployment created a pressure on women to find jobs. In 1970s, consumption and production were no longer gender-assigned and both genders staked their claim in these activities. Lifestyles were not privileges of certain groups any more in such a society without fixed social statuses. People worked to earn a living and to participate in the consumption as well while the goods became goals and awards of the job. Purchasing became more a motive (Baudrillard, 1988). In late 1980s and early 1990s, male body started to be used in advertisements for commercial purposes. Advertisers first adopted psychoanalytical ideas and produced advertisements with the male body and a homoerotic subtext. However, this does not seem to be a taboo-breaker for the young age group. It is assumed that feminist criticism against the exploitation of female body played a role in the appearance of these advertisements. Also, products and advertisements that address men targeted their purchasing power. The market initially targeted homosexual men but expanded and covered others. Consequently, the homosexual group can be positioned as the trendsetter (Bocock, 1997). Under postmodern conditions, the stratified modern consumption styles and the conscious state of belonging to a style are confused and combined (Bocock, 1997). Identities were conclusively demarcated and clenched with the sense of “belonging” and sometimes went through rapid changes in the postmodern environment. Subsequently, consumption styles that are different and even exclude one another were stretched and integrated. “Imitation” of social hierarchy and lifestyles of superior groups in the modern environment was replaced by finding own lifestyle and appealing to oneself and others. A similar change is observed in transitivity between the biological and the social, and as a result, “sexuality regulating regimes.” Modernit y, which is associated with heterosexuality, offers a “body regime”  in which different pleasures and aesthetical and medical tools are attributed to the male and female , accompanied by “space regulating regimes.” Masculine spaces are coded with authority and competition while feminine spaces are coded with aesthetics, emotions and empathy (Sancar, 2012).  4 In the Republican era, “home” was one of the fields of modernization, which expressed the ideal to “ reach the level of contemporary civilizations ” . In fact, different duties were assigned to men and women in this phase of Turkish modernization; politics were given to men and social and cultural affairs to women. Women started organizing modern daily life, waiting men, who are weary from managing the state and politics at home, and constituting the modern family. Actually, this type of modernity designated two basic spaces of life, one in familial and the other in social terms, as in the prematurely industrializing society. The feminine family space, which is the natural and apolitical habitat of women and children, was juxtaposed by the masculine social space, the stage of power struggles (Sancar, 2012). Modernization at home and in domestic life was one of the prevalent themes in the Republican era. Use of technology in modern methods was taught at the education institutes for girls, founded after 1928, in order to rationalize and modernize housework. “Scientific” h ousework methods were published in textbook as well as popular magazines and promised to make housework more productive, improve hygienic conditions at home and save money and time. Women were going to be more modern along with their homes and have time to do other beneficial things for their home and improve themselves (Ah ıska, Yenal, 2006).  The use of electronic household appliances popularized the phenomenon of modernization in the Turkish society. Three important factors are proposed to explain the increase in electric appliance consumption: the release of goods, proliferation of electric energy in rural regions and the improved level of life standards. Whiteware came to be used after 1935 and mediated the strengthening and stiffening of an interclass awareness as the indicator of financial power and modern lifestyle. Popularization of these products induced the transition from the traditional “contented society” to consumption society (Orçan, 2008). The use of refrigerators changed the culinary culture a nd washing machines spared the time of housewives. Housework, previously performed with the help of neighbors, became manageable by one woman. These new products led to changes in household arrangements, neighborhood relations and off-time activities. On the other hand, two thresholds may be supposed to exit in the evolution of consumption habits. The use of television sets after late 60s played a great role in the change of mass culture and consumption styles. Electric service, extended towards rural areas in this period, and the use of electric appliances especially accelerated the change. However, the real transformation in the consumption culture manifested itself after 1980. Free market economy came into effect and the early Republican ideal of “modernization” was replaced by the goal to “step into a new age.” This new goal revealed itself as an individualistic transformation strategy rather than a societal project like modernism. New consumption styles were the most important indicators of these individualistic strategies. Promotion and popularization of electric household appliances, offered as a method of modernizing houses and women, found a place in textbooks, magazines, radio and TV commercials in this period. The commercials initially reflected on traditional values and a humble lifestyle and featured mothers and elder sisters as domestic producers. Woman, the symbol of modern privacy, was gradually turned into a consuming, postmodern wife and even a sex object encouraging consumption (Orçan, 2008).  While the woman was the domestic producer of modern times, electronic appliances became the new servants of the household. Houses were mechanized with these appliances; advertisements started showing women working at home and the consumer was wrapped in the role of a working woman. Moreover, these home technology articles are currently associated with a male image in advertisements. These ads where women occasionally appear have become an indicator of the changing male identity (Figure 1-2). Meanwhile, Tur kish companies like Arçelik and Vestel prefer to use toy robots in their advertisements instead of male characters (Figure 3-4-5). These characters, which turn housework into a game, are in fact the equivalent of male image. It may be interpreted as a reflection of the male identity of technology. Figure 1: Bosch commercial  5 Figure 2: Bosch commercial Figure 3: Arçelik advertisement, “Çelik” and “Çeliknaz”  Figure 4: Vestel commercial Figure 5: Vestel commercial
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