Essay on Advertising and the Women's Movement

1942 Words 8 Pages
Avoiding eye contact and cowering with her legs together, Aphrodite’s naked pudica pose in the Venus de' Medici ironically calls attention to the areas that she is trying hide, her breast and genitals (fig. 1). The futile attempts to hide her anatomy would be insignificant if not for the pudica’s contrasting counterpart, the male contrapposto pose, shown in figure 2. The nude male stands in a confident upright posture with his head held high and penis proudly exposed. In ancient Greece a man’s penis was a symbol of his strength, intelligence and authority, whereas pudica, “pudendus,” in Latin, means female genitalia and shame. According to Etienne Walla, an expert of Law, and Elisha Renne, who has a Ph.D. in Anthropology, evidence suggests …show more content…
Explained by Jeanne van Eeden, a professor in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Pretoria South Africa, advertising in capitalistic societies has a tremendous role in shaping how people view the world they live in (Eeden 3). She goes on to say, “Advertising images…stem from sets of power relations and enlist cultural codes, stereotypes, myths and ideologies in their social production of meaning” (Eeden 3). In other words, modern advertising reflects cultural class systems. Therefore, the poststructural feminist argument made by art historian Eunice Lipton that women did not form their own identities because they were not allowed to participate in art history, supports the idea that reoccurring images of women like the pudica pose created strict ‘feminine’ standards based on male expectations (Lipton 10). Even though women were enjoying the same freedoms as men, by the 1970s the obsessive preoccupation with the female body that took over American media made it apparent that the impact of long-standing male dominance had already corrupted the female psyche.
In order to appreciate the dramatic challenge faced by the Women’s Movement throughout the 1960s it’s important to know the extent that the flagrant and unapologetic misogynist atmosphere had on U.S. advertising. Women were still portrayed with the passive nature of the Medici Venus; however a direct gaze

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