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A Level English Language Guide to Gender Representation in Advertising

Sarah Battams | Monday November 11, 2019

Categories: Archived Resources, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level, AQA A Level Pre-2015 Resources, AQA A Level English Language B, ENGB1, EDEXCEL A Level, Edexcel A Level Pre-2015 Resources, EDEXCEL A Level English Language, OCR A Level, OCR A Level Pre-2015 Resources, OCR A Level English Language, WJEC A Level, WJEC A Level Pre-2015 Resources, WJEC A Level English Language, Hot Entries, Language and Linguistic Analysis, Gender, Gender Resources, Media & Non-Fiction, Analysing Media & Non-Fiction

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Language and Gender is one of the ‘social contexts’ examined in question 2 of unit ENGB1: Categorising Texts - but is also a topic that is a part of other exam board English Language A level units.

The AQA specification states that, ‘In preparing for this topic candidates should study how gender is represented and reproduced in the everyday texts that surround us, for example in advertising, fiction and non-fiction texts etc.’ The activity detailed below considers one of these ‘everyday texts’ – advertising - and compares how gender is represented in two thirty second television commercials.

The aim of the activity is to enable students to find effective ways to analyse and comment on the language and the visuals used to create two TV advertisements for razors, one with a target audience of men, the other with a target audience of women. Owing to the nature of the commercials there is less linguistic data in them than is likely to be found in exam texts; however, it is hoped that the activity of comparing this genre will help to introduce students to the concepts including media representation and the creation of stereotypes.

Online links to the two TV commercials are given, so they can be watched and discussed in class. In addition, screen shots and the transcripts from the commercials have been included, which could be used alone if access to the internet is limited in the classroom or if a downloaded version is not available. Students could look at these materials alone or in groups, as a precursor to discussion or to written work.

The Assessment Objectives being examined in this unit are:

  • AO2 (16 marks) Demonstrate critical understanding of a range of concepts and issues related to the construction and analysis of meanings in spoken and written language, using knowledge of linguistic approaches.
  • AO3 (32 marks) Analyse and evaluate the influence of contextual factors on the production and reception...

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