Article Title

Buying into the Ideal Performance of Womanhood: Gendered Marketing in the Recontextualization of “She’s Always a Woman” for John Lewis’ Advertising Campaign

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This paper investigates the role of Fyfe Dangerfield’s cover of “She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel, within the presentation of heteronormative gender roles in John Lewis’ 2010 advertising campaign. After outlining the narrative of the advertisement and the ways in which the female protagonist is gendered from girlhood to womanhood, this paper draws upon the work of feminist scholar Judith Butler to problematize John Lewis’s portrayal of gender to show how it perpetuates heteronormative stereotypes. Then, drawing on theories of popular music surrounding identity and the importance of lyrics, John Lewis’ use of Fyfe Dangerfield’s cover is analyzed, outlining the way in which the music strengthens a simplistic narrative of ideal girlhood and womanhood, as well as how it encourages potential customers to identify with the brand. The paper then questions whether John Lewis is able to challenge heteronormativity due to their established brand identity or whether the responsibility falls upon the society, and concludes that it is essential to challenge the function of gender and music within advertisements.


Gender, advertising, popular music, heteronormativity, womanhood

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