The Genderblend trend in visual communications is a fascinating one because there are so many facets to it.
While an overall paradigm shift occurs in the way we talk about gender, things are also changing in how we represent it visually. And one of the biggest evolutions happening right now concerns the image of men.
Brands are helping to redefine masculinity by spotlighting involved fathers and supportive male partners via “dadvertising,” with men depicted as nurturers, collaborators and advocates for feminism.
Punctuating this year’s Super Bowl were a remarkable crop of commercials showcasing a new, more emotionally available dad, courtesy of campaigns such as these from Dove, Nissan and Toyota:
Nissan’s “With Dad”
Toyota’s “To Be a Dad”
These fathers not only play with their children, but they guide them, groom them, cuddle them and dry their tears.
At the same time, we’re also seeing more gender role-reversals in advertising.
Swiffer’s recent campaign shows men doing the cleaning,
Swiffer’s “WetJet Helps Big Jerry with Floor Cleaning | #SwifferEffect”
while Nikon’s current “Capture the Moment” commercial features a stay-at-home dad looking after the kids while their doctor mom is away working in Southeast Asia.
Nikon’s “Working Mom”
Several non-profits are encouraging men to step up as supporters of female equality. HeForShe gained worldwide followers thanks to Emma Watson’s eloquent UN speeches emphasizing male involvement in the feminist movement. Sheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit LeanIn.Org launched their #LeanInTogether initiative this March, encouraging men to be more supportive partners both at work and at home.
And The Representation Project recently released “The Mask You Live In,” a documentary that explores how emotionally damaging hyper-masculinity can be to young men’s wellbeing, and promoting self-expression and empathy as an alternative.
At Getty Images, we’ve seen a 15% uptick globally in searches for keyword “father” over the last 5 years, and we predict this will continue to climb.
That’s one of many reasons we’ve been creating a flurry of new imagery that highlights and celebrates today’s dad.
As we continue to expand our Lean In Collection with new content each month, we hope you’ll join us in breaking down gender clichés – repicturing men, women, boys and girls with images that “flip the script” to envision an equal world.