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Communication scholar Sut Jhally applies the late sociologist Erving Goffman's groundbreaking analysis of advertising to the contemporary commercial landscape in this provocative new film about gender as a ritualized cultural performance. Uncovering a remarkable pattern of gender-specific poses, Jhally explores Goffman's central claim that the way the body is displayed in advertising communicates normative ideas about masculinity and femininity.

The film looks beyond advertising as a medium that simply sells products, and beyond analyses of gender that focus on biological difference or issues of surface objectification and beauty, taking us into the two-tiered terrain of identity and power relations. With its sustained focus on the fundamental importance of gender, power, and how our perceptions of what it means to be a man or a woman get reproduced and reinforced on the level of culture in our everyday lives, The Codes of Gender is certain to inspire discussion and debate across a range of disciplines.

Comments (11)

Elizabeth avatar
Elizabeth

As always, excellent and careful work by Sut Jhally. Yes, a bit repetitive, but I think some of that helps clarify some core ideas, and reinforces the sense the advertising itself is highly repetitive and obsessive in its narrow depictions of gender. Also, very good application, update and ...Read more

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Marc

I can shoot holes in this entire video...a sad attempt at Liberal propaganda.

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merri

Let's hear your responses then. What are the holes you can shoot in this? Seriously. I want to know. It helps me better understand what students are / are not learning and why.

Leon avatar
Leon

The usual criticism is that the images chosen have been selectively curated to create a narrative the producers have predetermined to tell (hence it is propaganda). And followed up by the producer having had a long time to collect all these images, and now you are putting me on the spot to ...Read more

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Anonymous

I liked the direct connection to Goffman's work and sociological theory.

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Daniel

Educational porno. Cool!

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Anonymous

The research is excellent, but the narrator is dry.

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Anonymous

I do very much like this film as it's certainly an eye opener, but I agree with another poster that it seems a bit long and repetitive. I imagine the abridged version in the "Watch Related Videos" section, the one that's 47 mins, keeps the integrity of this film but refines it to more of the ...Read more

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Anonymous

It seemed a bit long and repetitive.

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Anonymous

wow! very interesting.

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Anonymous

I liked that this series opened my eyes to a new reality.