Cultural Jam Assignment



Analysis of The Original Ad:

Clothing retailer Gap Inc. has recently sparked controversy over its latest advertising campaign for Gap Kids. This advertising campaign is initially intended for a promotional back-to-school marketing campaign. However, it suffered a backlash with critics describing it as sexist.

Based on my analysis, I have identified three key aspects of this advertising (ad) campaign that showed that it is gender stereotyping and inappropriate:

Firstly, the little boy in the ad was labelled as “the little scholar”, wearing a T-shirt with the scientist Albert Einstein’s face on it. On the other hand, the little girl beside him was labelled as “the social butterfly”. This not only implied that boys are smarter relative to girls, it also showed that boys have more aspirations and potential to succeed than girls. Conversely, this ad seemed to depict girls as not having the same intellectual capacity, dreams and goals as their male counterparts, and that they should focus solely on socializing.

Secondly, the image of the girl included a caption that stated, “Chambray shirts + logo sweaters are the talk of the playground.” This implied that girls only care about what they wear and keeping up with the latest fashion trends and styles. Moreover, this conveyed how girls are only concerned about getting the attention they yearn for. Contrary to the girl’s caption, the boy’s caption stated, “your future starts here,” which suggested that boys should focus on studying hard and start preparing themselves for the future, whereas girls should just focus on their social lives.

Finally, I also noticed a difference in terms of their poses. In the ad, the little boy was portrayed in an active and confident pose, standing with both feet on the ground, with a genuine smile on his face. On the other hand, it seemed as if the little girl was attempting to do a “model-like” pose, and her passive expression showed that she was purposely told to stare into space. This not only had the implication of amplifying the negative connotation of doing things “like a girl”, but it also implied that girls should only care about how they are perceived by the society.

The Culturally Jammed Ad:

Through the jammed version of this ad, I hope to convey the importance of empowering young women and girls – that is, to change their mentality from “I cannot do it” to “I can do it.” Through this ad, I also aim to convey the importance of giving women and girls the opportunity to participate on an equal platform as their male counterparts.

Firstly, I altered the title of the girl’s tagline from “the social butterfly” to “the strong, smart, confident lady” with the objective of encouraging young girls to find their inner strength. While physical beauty plays an important role in empowering women in some ways, I strongly believe that helping young girls find their inner strength is far more empowering and advantageous than just physical beauty. Once young girls have discovered their inner strength, they will be able to pursue whatever they want to pursue, and not be constrained by perceived societal expectations.

The second alteration I made was to the caption below the tagline, from “chambray shirts + logo sweaters are the talk of the playground” to “chase your dreams, hard work + dreams = success.” I strongly believe that women and young girls have the capacity to be more than a “scholar.” My purpose is to show young girls that they can achieve anything they want in life, and therefore they should feel confident in pursuing their own dreams, whatever it may be.

Given the progress that has been made in advocating gender equality, gender inequality is still a pressing and ongoing issue worldwide. Through my culturally jammed ad, I hope to convey to all the little girls out there that they are capable of pursuing anything they set their mind to be.


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