The Hyperreal Gambler: On the Visual Construction of Men in Online Poker Ads
Keywords:hyperreality, media, advertising, poker, online poker, Jean Baudrillard, masculinity, poker players
Online poker, like gambling in general, is predominantly a male activity. Thus, poker ads most often depict men as their protagonists. According to Jean Baudrillard, advertising can be seen as a ‘plebiscite whereby mass consumer society wages a perpetual campaign of self- endorsement.’ Ads often use stereotypical imagery for establishing a shared experience of identification with the consumer, and since their role is to sell rather than to portray the realities of life, they often have an exaggerated and monolithic – or, hyperreal – way of representing gender. This article offers an analysis of the ways in which men are portrayed in the ads of Poker Magazine Finland in the volume of 2009 (all six issues), at the peak of the so-called online poker boom.Theoretically, the article draws on postmodern theorists such as Jean Baudrillard and particularly on his concept of hyperreality (exaggerated and media-saturated reality) to analyze the way males are portrayed in the ads in question.
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