Date of Submission



This study investigates how television advertisements in India construct gender identity. Advertisements that appeared during popular Indian television serials were obtained from a local video rental outlet and recorded on a weekly basis for a period of six months. A representative sample was then screened and used for analysis. As sign systems are involved in the construction of meaning (Chandler, 2001) - and advertising makes use of signs to convey its message (Bezuidenhout, 1998), this study employed semiotics as a method for analysing the ideological messages of Indian television advertisements - as semiotics is concerned with the study of signs. The proposed structure of the semiotic analysis in this study, is guided by Barthes (1977) essay ""The Rhetoric of the image"". All the advertisements involving domesticity emphasised the traditional role of women - as a wife and mother. Through the ideologically constructed messages, the advertisements not only valorised and affirmed the traditional role of Indian women but also made the domestic role of the woman appear natural to the viewers (Roy, 1998). This study is one of the first major studies of the nexus between the media, and the construction of gender-identity in India today. Therefore, it will not only be significant to policy makers but also to educators who could use it as a basis for developing and implementing a media literacy program, aimed at developing students' critical thinking and media literacy skills to enable their capacity to evaluate the role and power of the media in lives.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


237 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education

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Education Commons