Friday, March 12, 2010


In order for advertisements to be different towards women, the women being portrayed can no longer be looking or fulfilling the male gaze. Women can still be sexy, but they have to be sexy because they want to be, not because they have to be sexy for someone else. Women can still be portrayed as feminine, however femininity should not be the only way to perceive or attempt to target women. The advertisement industry must acknowledge that women are consumers also and that their offensive ads have a lot of impact on the identity of teenage girls and women. When the advertisement industry is held accountable for the impact and effects of their ads, then perhaps they will be obligated to redirect their advertisements. Jean Kilbourne expresses these same ideas in “Beauty and the Beast of Advertising” in her critique of the advertisement industry:”Advertising images do not cause these problems, but they contribute to them by creating a climate in which the marketing of women’s bodies- the sexual sell and dismemberment, distorted body image ideal and children as sex objects-is seen acceptable” (Kilbourne 125). The media is guilty of normalizing sexist, racist, and ageist attitudes through their ridiculous and “shocking” ads. Take for example the Dolce & Gabbana ad of the model being held down by one man, while three other men look on- this ad clearly imitates a rape scene, and simultaneously insinuates violence towards women, by reducing the model to an object and dehumanizing her. Nonetheless, the ad would have had a different affect if the model was perhaps on top of the man, and if she actually looked like she was enjoying herself. This would imply aggressive sex, in a way that suggests that women can participate in such sexual acts too-which is perfectly fine.
A second issue that should be addresses is the types of products targeted to women (Steinem 112). Advertisement industries can still sell make-up and traditional women products, but they should be more inclusive in the advertisements of products brought by both men and women, such as cars, credit cards, insurance and so on. Finally the advertisement industry should be more original; sometimes shocking does not mean being more sexist than the ad before.

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