Advertising: we see it everywhere on a daily basis, whether it is in the city or webpages, anywhere there is usually a logo or a poster, there contains a subliminal messages that are uncomprehendable by those who they are aimed at reaching. Many of the brands and products we see everyday represent themselves in a way that if you used these products you will be a happier person. The images that big cooperation’s present through highly recognize advertisements use unrealistic images of what beautiful means. They create images that are harmful towards women by portraying them in a way in which other females need to look like them, thus degrading women’s self-esteem.
“Ads sell a greater deal more than products” (pg. 121, Kilbourne). The most powerful companies, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein, display violence against women and target the gay community, in a way that heterosexuals do not understand. Dolce & Gabbana have an ad containing five men surrounding one woman, which we can critically analyze as being a rape scene, illustrating violence against women.
In the Beauty and The Beast of Advertising by Jean Kilbourne, he states “They sell values, images and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be. Sometimes they sell addictions”(pg.121) Many of viewers of advertisements are teenagers and young people, who are naïve when consuming these images. That is the reason we see a high rate of addiction, such a smoking cigarette at a young age and different eating disorders, such as anorexia developed at a young age. “Because they are new and inexperience consumers and are the prime targets of many advertisements”(pg.121). Schools today should incorporate classes to teach young, developing minds about the manipulation done by companies in their advertisements, movies, television shows, and products, giving students an ability to remove themselves from the pull of these images.
“Women are allowed a mind or a body, but not both” (pg. 59, Wolf). Women are portrayed as objects and are not shown as human beings in media. There is a large effect on the female population, yet many advertisements in the twentyfirst century are still searching for the male gaze in women through showing womens cleavage and legs to attract men to buy into what is being sold. “If a woman has great legs, who cares who she is?” (pg. 122, Kilbourne). In order to sell, the only thing that matters is appearance. Because of the female representation by advertisements, female appearance is now the only thing categorizing them as women. Minds become disconnected from bodies and are treated differently and unequal.
Superiority, disemberment, clowning, canting, dominance/violence are the five ways in which we can view sexist advertisements. “The following are more of the more subtle ways advertising reinforces cultural values of subservience, domination and inequality between the sexes” (pg. 123, Kilbourne). Women are viewed as weak, while men are depicted as powerful beings. I feel as though women should protest against these ads and create their own organizations around the world to ban many of these ads. Perhaps crime rates will decrease and different mind frames will emerge where eating dissorders and addictions will cease to increase. I believe advertisements should change so women will gain more respect and there can be more equality between the sexes. Many of photoshopped images should be banned from all media outlets and incorporate a more realistic appearance.
Cortese, Anthony J. “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising.” Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising. Lanham: Rowand and Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2008.
Kilbourne, Jean. “Beauty and the Beast of Advertising.” Los Angeles: Center for Media and Values, 1989.
Wykes, Maggie, and Barrie Gunter. “Conclusion: Body Messages and Body Meanings.” The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. London: SAGE Publications Ltd., 2005.