Sexist ads show that society is dominated by the same masculine values that have controlled the image of women in the media for years. Sexist advertisement reinforces gender stereotypes and roles, or uses sex appeal to sell products, which degrades the overall public perception of women. The idea that sexism is such a rampant problem comes from the stereotypes that are so deeply embedded into today’s society that they almost seem to be socially acceptable, although they are nowhere near politically correct. Images that objectify women seem to be almost a staple in media and advertising: attractive women are plastered all over ads. The images perpetuate an image of the modern woman, a gender stereotype that is reinforced time and time again by the media. These images are accepted as “okay” in advertising, to depict a particular product as sexy or attractive. And if the product is sexy, so shall be the consumer. In the 1970s, groups of women initially took issue with the objectification of women in advertisements and with the limited roles in which these ads showed women. If they weren’t pin-ups, they were delicate
Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly surrounded by advertisements. On average, we are exposed to approximately 3,000 ads per day, through logos, billboards, and television commercials, even our choices of brands. But in today’s society, one of the most used and influential tools of advertising are women. But the unfortunate thing is that women are not just viewed as actresses in these ads but as objects for people to look at, use, abuse, and more. In her fourth installment in a line of documentaries, “Killing Us Softly 4,” Jean Kilbourne explains the influence of advertising women and popular culture, and its relationship to gender violence, sexism and racism, and eating disorders.
Jean Kilbourne is an advocate for women and is leading a movement to change the way women are viewed in advertising. She opens up the curtains to reveal the hard truth we choose to ignore or even are too obtuse to notice. Women are objectified, materialized, and over-sexualized in order to sell clothes, products, ideas and more. As a woman, I agree with the position Kilbourne presents throughout her documentary Killing Us Softly 4: The Advertising’s Image of Women (2010) and her TEDx Talk The Dangerous Ways Ads See Women (2014.) She demonstrates time and again that these advertisements are dangerous and lead to unrealistic expectations of women.
The roles of males and females in society have significantly changed, as opposed to the predominant roles in our history. In the modern culture of today, women have begun to break out of the mold that which society has placed her in. This much can’t be said when it comes to modern gender representation in mass media advertising. It can be safe to state that woman are seen as sexual, fragile, exotic—whereas men are portrayed as tough, in control, and aggressive. This trend can be one seen as an inhibitor to the advancement of our culture, because especially for women, it is hard to pull away from the stereotypes that are continuously represented. As examples of the given trend, the following
Gender role bias in advertisements has been so prevalent for so long that the untrained eye wouldn't even discern it. All the same, these biases, for the most part, put women in subordinate positions and men in dominant ones. This assumption on both the genders is unfair and demeaning. These ads portray women as subservient and play toys for men. Not only do the models depict an image nowhere near close to reality, but their bodies are scantily clad and what few clothes they are wearing are very revealing.
Advertising is everywhere, it’s online, billboards, magazines, and the most popular television. Different advertising are mostly targeting towards a certain gender, age, or interests. Covergirl advertising is mostly targeted at women, and is also seen in every place you can think of. You most likely could go up to any girl and ask her-what is the Covergirl slogan? Easy, Breezy, Beautiful, Covergirl. Covergirl has done a great job at advertising there make-up products. Covergirl has branched out to every type of advertising there is. They have commercials, bill boards, online ads, there in many magazines, and they are also being promoted on the poplar show America’s Next Top
In this week’s lecture on culture and media, I learned to identify issues in our society that is usually overlooked. The TED talk, “Killing Us Softly,” by Jean Killbourne, taught us how advertisers began to change the public’s views as they began to overly sexualize women and objectify them in various advertisements. The difference in the way men and women were portrayed were extremely different and is now being continued into the present, while being accepted as a current norm.
In society, women are held to a very high social standard. The pressure to look as perfect as all the models in magazines have driven many girls to an impossible fixation. Not only is it seen as a social norm, but also people do not even realize the degrading images of women in our everyday surroundings. After watching “Killing Us Softly”, this ideal was brought to my attention more that almost every advertisement piece that involves women promotes sexualization, objectification, and reinforces the feminine gender roles in America.
In 2016, the United States spent 190 billion U.S. dollars on advertisements, almost double the amount of money on advertising than the next largest ad market (Statista). These ads advertise a multitude of different products. The ads are exposed to society in many different ways, from the breaks in between songs on the radio, to the ads shown online. Ads are targeted to a specific group of people, usually, the target demographic the brand wants to buy their product. Brands will often use women’s bodies in a sexual way to get people to stop and look at their ads. Over the last few decades, speakers and activists have seen advertisements becoming more sexual and more demeaning towards women. Activist Jean Kilbourne has been analyzing ads and has been bringing awareness to this issue for years through her four documentaries. In her documentary, “Killing Us Softly 4,” Jean Kilbourne asserts women’s bodies are often dismembered, portrayed with an unattainable, “ideal” body type, and despite advances in the women’s movement, the objectification of women in ads have gotten worse. The two images below illustrate these ideas.
Sex sells. We’ve all heard this before, so it’s nothing new, but a good advertiser is always aware that sex can also offend – so you have to tread a very fine line. The ad we are deconstructing, a print ad for Covergirl cosmetics, walks that line very well and is setting them up to reap the benefits of another well-planned advertising campaign. Covergirl is a heavyweight in the world of cosmetics that has been used for decades by women and girls alike, and as such they are very skilled at appealing to everyone within that very wide demographic.
The bases for this opinion, lies mostly in the placement and configuration of the models in the advertisement. The female model is placed in a sexually suggestive positon. on the other hand, the male models in the ad, are seen looming over the female mode; that suggests something menacing is taking place. The female model is dressed in minimal clothing, that resembles a sexy baby onesie, this is also evidence that the model is being sexualized. Although one can argue that since the men are shirtless, the model is not as objectified as the male models. The facial expression of the female mode does not depict fear, but it potrays a face that says, “I was expecting this”. This phrase can be concluding, because of how the model does not make eye contact with the males, but in a way doesn’t mind them taking advantage of her. The ad can also be viewed as a propmoter for the rape culture, that is highy prominent in Amerca today. This ad brings women one step backwards, and it shows them how the advertising industry has managed to glamorize the objectification of women. They have achieved this by, telling females that it is okay to be only perceived as a sexual object, whose sole job is to visually appeal to
Advertising uses a lot of different techniques to show the public the perfect female image. Body doubles and computer retouching are two examples of how advertisers are able to “doctor” images. The majority of women we see in magazines, music videos. and movies do not appear in reality, as we perceive them in the media. We may actually believe we are looking at one woman’s body when we are actually looking at sections of three or four women’s bodies, which, when spliced together, shows us the best parts of each women’s body as the final product. Women cannot attain these impossible standards of attractiveness. Young girls learn very quickly that they must spend much time, energy, and money on achieving these standards.
The sexualisation of women in advertising has become a very prominent and controversial issue in today’s society. Many brands, products and campaigns we are presented with portray women as being available and willing sexual objects, who exist to cater to the male gender. Gucci is one such brand that does this, focusing on emphasizing the sexual appeal of the female gender in order to sell their products, because as advertisers know: ‘sex sells.’ This new cultural shift can however, be seen as politically regressive for women, as the ideology it brings negatively impacts how women are viewed by society and how they view themselves.