In the 1950s, the roles of women were basically housewife. They were supposed to stay home, take care of the family, bear children, raise them up and look after their husbands. It was a basic truth that the way to a man’s heart was through food and; therefore, women carried the responsibility of cooking food for their husbands without any help. It was a belief that good kitchen skills will result to a happy family (Motschenbacher, 2010). They would also carry out all other household chores while the men were out looking for food for the family. Women were supposed to be submissive and take orders from men without questions. Women were to be feminine under all circumstances. To ensure that this happened, girls were taught female roles at a very tender age. The role of men at this point in time was majorly to search for food and offer protection and security to the wife and children (Lent, 1999).
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In the 60’s, Men were nurtured to be strong and be able to protect themselves and their families without any fear. The 1960 advert shows that Boys were supposed to grow and to ‘act like men’. They were not allowed to cry in the event that they were faced with difficult situations (Johnson, 1997). In addition, the boys were supposed to endure all the pains facing them without complaining. They were meant to attain masculinity, assume and maintain the masculinity position in the society. The boys who portrayed bravery and masculinity were rewarded. Men were supposed to be the sole providers for their families and for this reason; they commanded respect from their wives and women around them. They had the sole responsibility of protecting, rearing and educating their siblings (Levit, 2000).
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This advert portrayed women as people who could not live a life on themselves without depending on everyone else for support. The media revealed women as subjects who had to look up to the parents, brothers, mentors, friends and other people for support, direction, guidance and advice. They were viewed as people who could not make their own decisions and depended on others especially men to make decisions for them (Smith & Mankiller, 1999). The media showed women as weak and everything they do was never for themselves but to please other people. This inculcated gender violence since women did not have any power or say over what men said or did (Perry, 1992). In the event that women opposed what men said, this attracted punishment and beating from men. As children grew up, they learnt the place of women in the society, and they grew up knowing that women had to depend on men for their survival (Anderson & Taylor, 2007).
In the 80s, women started developing and taking more serious roles in society. Most of them left the ordinary housework jobs to office works to take care of their families. They started getting education and professional positions in the work force (Litman, 2011). They even started taking powerful positions in governments. In addition, Women started fighting for equality with men. The learned women led the fights against female discrimination and media portrayal of women as weak. They were opposed to the oppression they had been subjected to by men for many centuries (Cameron & Kulick, 2006). Movements were created to fight for rights of women. The advert described women as beings with extra ordinary strength, intellectual capability and stronger emotionally than men. At this point in time, women were getting more confident about themselves and their rights. They had voices, machinery and support to position themselves in the society as equal to men (Scott & Jackson, 2002).
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