www.downloadslide.com Chapter Three The Changing American Society: Values 95 ILLUSTRATION 3-7 Ads targeting the gay community can range from standard ads run in gay-oriented media to ads such as as this Tylenol ad with clear gay themes. Gender-Based Marketing As we saw in the chapter’s opening vignette, gender roles in the United States are shifting. The shift is going both ways, with more women taking on traditionally male-oriented tasks and more men taking on traditionally female-oriented tasks. It’s hard to imagine that just a few generations ago, the prevailing stereotype of an automobile purchase involved a male making the purchase alone. Today, women influence 80 percent of all vehicles sold, make over half of all new vehicle purchases (up from 20 percent in 1984), and purchase 40 percent of all SUVs. 83 Changes in gender roles for women have been dramatic, with increased participation in the workforce, increased wealth and purchase power, and increased participation in active lifestyles, to name just a few. Marketers of products and services ranging from automobiles, to sportswear, to financial services clearly understand the importance of women as a market segment. Consider the following examples: • Cadillac targets professional women with campaigns for models such as their CTS featuring Kate Walsh and the tagline “The real question is, when you turn your car on, does it return the favor.” • Harley Davidson has a page on their website called Women Riders and sponsors Garage Party events for women, who are an increasing proportion of Harley’s customer base. 84 • Nike has an entire golf and apparel line targeted to women, along with an entire section on its website featuring these products as well as the Nike Training Club app available through iTunes. LO6
www.downloadslide.com 96 Part Two External Influences The terms sex and gender are used interchangeably to refer to whether a person is biologically a male or a female. Gender identity refers to the traits of femininity (expressive traits such as tenderness and compassion) and masculinity (instrumental traits such as aggressiveness and dominance). These traits represent the ends of a continuum, and individuals have varying levels of each trait, with biological males tending to be toward the masculine end of the continuum and biological females toward the feminine end. 85 Gender roles are the behaviors considered appropriate for males and females in a given society. As the previous discussion of automobile purchasing indicates, gender roles in America have undergone massive changes over the past 30 years. Much of this shift has been for behaviors previously considered appropriate primarily for men to be acceptable for women too. But also, as we saw in the opener, there is a shift for behaviors previously considered appropriate primarily for women to be acceptable for men too. Gender roles are ascribed roles. An ascribed role is based on an attribute over which the individual has little or no control. This can be contrasted with an achievement role, which is based on performance criteria over which the individual has some degree of control. Individuals can, within limits, select their occupational role (achievement role), but they cannot generally determine their gender (ascribed role). It can be useful to distinguish traditional or modern gender orientations on the basis of preference for one or the other of two contrasting married lifestyles: • Traditional. A marriage in which the husband assumes the responsibility for providing for the family and the wife runs the house and takes care of the children. • Modern. A marriage in which husband and wife share responsibilities. Both work, and they share homemaking and child care responsibilities. Americans have certainly moved toward a preference for a modern lifestyle, from only 35 percent in 1977 to 71 percent in the most recent polls. 86 In addition, only 25 percent agree that women should return to their traditional roles and 87 percent agree that fathers are just as capable as mothers of caring for their children. 87 However, while males and females both express strong preferences for the modern lifestyle as a general concept, most recognize that it comes with a cost. For example, 80 percent of mothers with children age five or under would prefer to stay home with their children if it were totally up to them, 88 and nearly half of both men and women believe that it was easier when “women stayed at home and men went to work.” 89 As the opener indicated, men’s participation in household duties is on the rise. It is important to realize, however, that the focus there was on all men, whether married or single. However, for married men, while participation in household tasks has increased, the general pattern still follows more traditional gender roles. The following Gallup Poll results show the breakout of household chores in terms of who is most likely to do them. The figures for each activity represent the percent response to the question, “Who is most likely to do each of the following in your household?” Activity Husband (%) Wife (%) Keep the car in good condition 69 13 Do yard work 57 12 Handle investments 35 18 Do grocery shopping 16 53 Do laundry 10 68 Clean house 9 54 Source: F. Newport, “Wives Still Do Laundry, Men Do Yard Work,” Gallup, 2008 www.gallup.com, accessed May 26, 2008.