15 Gender Stereotypes Young Women Wish Advertisers Would Stop Using

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Wondering how to reach Millennial & Gen Z females today? We asked 13-35-year-olds all about gender stereotypes...

In the past few years, the growing feminist movement has reached mass acceptance among Millennials and Gen Z: 63% of 18-34-year-old women call themselves feminists, according to the Washington Post, and in the wake of #MeToo, the movement is only getting stronger. Many 13-35-year-old females want to change the representation and perception of women, and there are implications for brands. Mainly, young consumers are putting pressure on brands to make their marketing less “girly” and more gender-neutral. Just last week, a Twitter storm hit PepsiCo when their C.E.O divulged the details behind their plans to create chips more suited for women in an episode of Freakonomics Radio. “Lady Doritos” started to trend on social media soon after, with many women sarcastically pointing out that instead of equal pay or an end to sex discrimination, they were getting their own chips.

Despite Doritos calling the reports “inaccurate,” the swift backlash just goes to show that Gen Z and Millennial females are fed up with gender profiling and want brands to do better. The Genreless Generation is demanding that more brands embrace the gender blur, with nearly eight in ten 13-33-year-olds saying it’s ok for girls to be masculine and for guys to be feminine and over half of 13-35-year-olds recently telling us that brands shouldn’t consider gender at all when targeting messages. 

To get a better sense of exactly what tropes they wish would disappear, we asked 13-35-year-old females, “What is one stereotype about your gender you wish advertisers would stop using?”* Here are their top 15 answers:

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of gender stereotypes…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Time I could be sleeping is time I spend on social media. It's now part of my waking up and going to sleep routine and, for those reasons, I'm feeling done with social media."—Male, 24, CA

MasterCard created an audio-only logo for Generation Voice Activated. The finance brand has debuted a sound they’ll play when people check out using their MasterCard. YPulse data shows that 29% of 18-36-year-olds own a smart speaker device, and that number is only expected to grow along with the use of other audio-activated devices. MasterCard wants to make their brand memorable without visual cues to tap into the $40 billion in revenue voice shopping is expected to generate by 2022. (Fast Company)

Brands are acting uncannily human on Twitter—is it working? Many brands (mainly the food and beverage kind) are “behav[ing] like real people with idiosyncratic personalities” on social media to connect with young consumers. This allows them to “stand out it in a crowded marketplace," explains one marketing professor. And Twitter users are engaging: from Sunny D to Steak-umm, brands are going viral for nihilist, and even depressing, first-person posts. (Vice)

Millennials are buying more greeting cards this Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimates the industry made as much as $933 million yesterday, compared to $894 million last year. Experts say that Millennials are behind the boost as they buy more expensive, albeit fewer, cards that often have personalized flourishes and functions (like audio). They’re also opting for IRL cards over e-cards because, as one enthusiast explains, "I like giving cards because you can hold it, unlike a text or email.” (NPR)

Brands went beyond romantic messaging for Valentine’s Day this year. Some catered to Millennials’ Treat Yo’Self mentality with collaborations like Tinder and Homesick’s “Single, Not Sorry” candle, while others celebrated Galentine’s Day. Target stocked themed decorations for those hosting girls-only get-togethers and Kay Jewelers set aside a site category for Galentine’s Day gifts. Finally, the NRF estimates that pet owners spent $886 million on their furry friends on Valentine’s Day, and retailers like PetSmart advertised accordingly. (ContentStandard)

More college grads are taking on retail jobs as stores up the ante for new hires. Yes, the trend is fueled by student debt and other financial factors, but also because stores that focus on experience expect more than ever from their customer service reps. Workers at Sweaty Betty, Everlane, and Warby Parker are reportedly trained with workshops, tests, and homework. But while, as one expert explains, “Customers are also coming in with much higher expectations of what level of service they’re going to receive,” retail wages aren’t keeping pace. (Refinery29)

Quote of the Day: “The best thing about social media is to connect with people across geographical boundaries and cultures. I love interacting with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”—Female, 22, PA

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies