Friday, August 5, 2011

How Gillette's razors are advertised based on gender

Gillette makes razors for men and women, but how they advertise for the two is very different. The marketing strategies are very gendered, as well as the razors themselves. The razors for men are made in only black, dark blue, and green colors; whereas, the women’s razors are pink, light blue, and pastel colors. The names are also gendered, such as the “Mach3 Turbo” and “M3 Power” for the men because “Turbo” and “Power” represent masculine terms. The razors marketed for females have names such as “Venus Devine” and “Daisy,” which are feminine terms. Even though Gillette is one company that makes razors, the razors are made and advertised differently based on gender. Advertisements for men’s razors portray ideas of masculinity and advertisements for women’s razors express femininity.

The razors for women are advertised based on the idea that women connect shaving with femininity. The advertisements show women with soft, delicate skin and their slogan is “reveal the goddess in you.” So, they are promoting the idea that if a woman shaves, she will be more feminine.  Also, Gillette provides the idea that having smooth legs will make a woman feel good. They claim that the razors will make the woman’s skin smooth and beautiful, and thus making the woman feel good.  However, the razors obviously can’t change women’s skin; the razors can make the legs smooth, but not “beautiful”.  In the article, “Image-Based Culture: Advertising & Popular Culture,” Jhally says, “the marketplace cannot directly offer the real thing, but it can offer visions of it connected with the purchase of the products” (251). This is what Gillette is trying to do by telling women the razors will make their skin beautiful.  The advertisements are based on the ideas of femininity, which include that women need to have soft and beautiful skin.

On the other hand, the men’s razors are advertised based on the ideas of masculinity. The newest razor, the Gillette Fushion is advertised throughout Shark Week on The Discovery Channel. The commercial shows two male scuba divers shaving underwater with fierce sharks swimming around them. In the article, “Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity: From Eminem to Clinque for Men,” Katz states,  “Because one function of the image system is to legitimate and reinforce existing power relations, representations that equate masculinity with the qualities of size, strength, and violence thus become more prevalent” (356). Gillette portrays this idea of masculinity by using a great white shark, which is the biggest, strongest and most violent animal in the ocean, in order to sell its razors to men. In conclusion, the advertisements for the men’s and women’s razors are specifically gendered and use ideas of masculinity and femininity in order to sell their product.

Works Cited:

Jhally, Sut. “Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture.”Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A 
Text-Reader. 2nd ed. Ed. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2003. 249-57.

Katz, Jackson. "Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity: From Eminem to Clinique for Men." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: a Text-reader. 2nd ed. Ed. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2003. 349-58.

Images retrieved from: