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Marketing Men, Selling Beer: Challenging Gender in Japanese Advertising Discourse 1950 - 1996

White, James X. (2018) Marketing Men, Selling Beer: Challenging Gender in Japanese Advertising Discourse 1950 - 1996. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In the postwar period, beer became integral to, and integrated within, Japanese socialisation practices. Beer was promoted to consumers in increasingly sophisticated and ubiquitous advertising campaigns which played a significant social role, depicting correct practices and sites of consumption with scenes featuring normative models of gender. These “idealised” depictions informed consumers about who was meant to drink, how, and where. These images were neither static nor uncontested, however. A variety of writers negotiated and challenged their meaning and significance demonstrating an awareness of a range of competing masculinities and femininities. These commentators discussed societal and gender relations, politics, gendered bodies, the beer industry, and relationships to explain how these depictions conflicted with their “reality” and their understanding of “correct” gender models. These critics were not homogenous with those who came of age during the war interpreting campaigns very differently to those born afterwards. Covering the period 1950 – 1996, I trace the influences on, and theoretical backgrounds, of these divergent opinions and criticisms to understand how interpretations of these images evolved, linking them to societal trends, modes of thought, and theories of gender. This reveals a rich and diverse trove of understandings about, and attitudes, towards gender which has been underutilised or neglected by scholars. Examining these perspectives thus contributes to our understanding of gender throughout this period and affects how we view these images historically. This study also demonstrates how important this approach is for any examination of advertising in Japan. These discussions reveal interpretations and perspectives which, unavailable through textual analysis alone, allow one to chart divergences in conceptualisations of gender and thus increase researchers’ knowledge while decreasing their reliance on individual ability. The importance of this approach thus lies in bringing to light a rich, vibrant, and relatively unexamined discourse around these advertisements which provides multiple subtle viewpoints.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: beer, gender, Japan, masculinity, femininity, advertising, marketing, discourse, thought, men, women, postwar, visual, image
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of East Asian Studies (Sheffield)
Depositing User: James White
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2019 14:43
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2019 14:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23066

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