The paper presents results of visual analysis of gender content of TV commercial advertising. One can distinguish two views of analysis in visual sociology: the view of 'social iconography' (in which codification of sign-icons (iconograms) of certain models of social behaviour is performed) and the view of 'social iconology' (E.Panofsky) (in which the practice of understanding and interpretation of socio-cultural means of iconograms is realized). The first part of the paper 'Social iconography of gender behaviour' offers methodology of iconogram codification that presents the models of gender behaviour used in modern advertising. The second part entitled 'Social iconology of modern advertising' deals with structural interpretation of results of the investigation the goal of which was to retrieve certain social tendencies reflected in advertising field. The investigation of gender visuality of modern advertising has been carried out by the method of semiotic content-analysis method. The advertising clips (n=452) have been recorded, certain sign combinations (iconograms) that contain typical socio-cultural meanings have been retrieved in each of them. Almost a half (46.7%) of the analyzed advertising videotexts proved to be gender-neutral (or no female or male images were used or universal person-behavioural (but not gender) aspects of female and male social practices have been stressed). As to other 55% of gender-oriented advertising texts, the 'female model' (J.Baudrillard) of narcissism and seductivity (41%) was the most popular among them. The second place in the social rating of popular models of gender behavior in advertising field is occupied by 'male model' (if to sum up all iconograms that develop the masculinity idea, one gets 34.5%). Then, in the descending order, the 'feminist' model (17.5%), 'woman-house-keeper' (17.1%), 'careful mother' (12.9%), 'androgyne' (7%), and 'passive man' (1.6%). One can state that our advertising is rather oriented to reproduction than to breaking (J.-M. Drew) of gender stereotypes: the typical behaviour models ('female', 'male', 'woman house-keeper', 'careful mother') in aggregate occupy more than 5/6 of the total amount of gender-oriented advertising, whilst non-typical models as 'androgyne', 'feminist' and passive man are less than 1/6 of this volume.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.