Marketing to teens: gender roles in advertising


Demonstrate an awareness of gender stereotypes that are used by advertisers to sell products ;
Understand that advertisements are designed to deliver very specific messages to consumers.
Marketing to teens: gender roles in advertising

Brief description of the issue

A strong endorsement of gender stereotypes is associated with higher school dropout rates, for boys as well as for girls. They can also have a negative impact on teenagers’ self-esteem, especially for those who don’t or can’t conform to those stereotypes. Gender stereotypes are widely shared through the media and contribute to teenagers’ understanding of the roles expected from men and women in society. It is therefore important to put specific activities on this topic in place to question gender stereotypes with students.

This lesson plan named Marketing to teens: gender roles in advertising is promoted by MediaSmarts, “a Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization for digital and media literacy. Our vision is that children and youth have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens.” It has however been produced by Charity Laboucan and Tracy Duncan, from Planned Parenthood Edmonton, and Sonya Thompson, from Film Classification Services, Alberta Community Development.

According to the website’s description, this lesson allows students to “explore gender roles in advertising by taking an ad campaign they have seen which is specifically directed to one gender, and redesigning the campaign to target the opposite gender.”

Teachers can also find here how this activity helps developing cross-curricular competencies as well as subject-specific competencies.

You can download the activity directly on MediaSmarts’ website or in the “Documents” section below.