It is a truth universally acknowledged that representations of gender in advertising are completely and utterly ridiculous.

Women are highly either sexualised objects used to sell handbags and men’s fragrances (often with super oiled up skin and bodies photoshopped to buggery), OR smiling, Uptown-girl style mums who are just so, so excited to have a new brand of dish washing detergent to try out.

Men don’t get a whole lot of diversity either. Men in advertising are portrayed as either hyper-masculine and relentlessly macho, interested in driving fast cars and not much else; OR the inept slacker around the house who is constantly being criticised by his nagging wife (who then starts smiling when given that fantabulous detergent).

But what if the gender roles in advertising were switched?

A group of students studying Women and Gender Studies class at the University of Saskatchewan created the following video to highlight just how inaccurate – and arguably damaging – stereotypes in advertising are. 

At 0.13 we get a re-cap of the history of women in advertising.

At 0.40 the video explains how representations of women in advertising, affect how women feel about their bodies.

At 1.10 we see some shocking examples of how women are portrayed as objects in advertising.

And then at 2.50 the ad shows how it would look if gender roles in advertising were reversed.

What do you think about how women and men are portrayed in advertising?

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