Advertising is a global phenomenon used to sell products to unsuspecting victims of society. They use images displaying sexism, racism and power hierarchies. For example, in class we’ve seen ads of men selling ties, by strangling a woman with it. As well as selling shoes, with a woman tied up in the trunk. How are we supposed to absorb this without being a little mentally screwed up?
The purpose of these images is to sell the product, along with a whole new way of life as well as a whole new perspective of your own life. These images warp your sense of self-peace and contentment, by shoving perfect pictures of perfect, happy people in your face, reminding you that your life isn’t complete but it should be, and it can be if you become a product of their merchandise. As stated by Susan Douglas, media is deliberately creating these views for us to warp reality (15).
The unintended effects of selling products via advertisement are the shoppers’ personal sense of self, their feelings of how they should, act, look, feel and essentially be. This can be seen throughout American society, with their obsession with being fit and the extreme rise in popularity of casual plastic surgery. Everyone is trying to achieve this “perfect” image, which in reality is unattainable, which leads to shame, depression and self-loathing. These images affect girls that are just 10 years old, as I’ve learned from Jean Kilbourne’s research. Women want to appear sexy for men, and seeing that almost every model has the body of a teenage boy, we feel the need to drop down in weight, increase our exercise and obtain a body practically nobody can. Women are also seen as child-like and virginal, causing contradictory statements to the previous wishes to be sexy. “must be overtly sexy…as well as passive and virginal,” from Cutting Girls Down, by Jean Kilbourne (130). Women’s bodies are being used on display as objects, for men to gaze at, these images subconsciously intend for both men and women that it is OK to view women as body parts and as sexual machines.
I believe people are bored of these overtly perfect images. They have been in advertisements for almost a century, promoting flawlessness, in this time of our newly induced “raunch culture,” age people enjoy realism. I find, the people I come into contact with love honest, raw, true life. I believe mainstream advertisement has dulled down reality, and society is searching for the truth, thus images should be displayed with REAL people, to expose REAL bodies, REAL faces and ultimately REAL lives. I also have noticed people would be more apt to purchase products promoting authenticity. For example, to sell clothes, use actual unedited people; seeing a stick thin woman in clothing ads has caused me to shop less, because I know I can’t photoshop myself before leaving the house, and the clothes never seem to fit right, so in order to do away with my disappointment I’ve saved a bunch of money by wearing the same clothes I’ve had for years.
Almost everybody is using yelp and other review sites for opinions on everything, from shoe websites to food. We’re tired of being lied to, and I believe my generation is growing up in an age of awareness, we know ads are lying to our faces and we’re masking our emotions with mascara and crest white stripped smiles, so when someone like Louis CK tells it like it is, we grasp onto it and hold on hope. The truth is out there, and we want to see it, I feel the advertising industry would be a lot more profitable if they used genuine representations for their products. We’re sick of being ashamed, so we stopped caring to shame ourselves, we know we’re bombarded with false displays of life so we ignore it, and isn’t the whole point of advertising to catch attention and not be ignored? It’s time to step up and start relating to people, to say its perfect to be imperfect, being real sells.