By Jason V.
Advertising is a very important aspect of contemporary society. All across the media world woman have been and are being stereotypically typecast into roles that demean them as a whole. One of the main issues with stereotypes about women in advertisements is that women are expected to look a certain way. In general women suffer from this because their self-esteem is being damaged when they can’t meet society’s standards of what beauty is. The majority of fashion lines focus on body proportions and how thin women are. Most women don’t resemble models that are social representation of how women are supposed to look like.
Adolescent girls are being mistreated in advertisement that focus solely on skinny women because it will make the young girl feel uncomfortable with their own body when it doesn’t resemble models, actresses, and singers that are on advertisements. While most men also are put into a similar position of standardize beauty, women have it worse because they have to drastically alter themselves if they wish to resemble a stereotypical women that ads convey. With added pressure from society women are going through a lot of tension which is very stressful and can be an unhealthy obsession to try to look like a model.
Advertising is powerful force as it can morph people’s ideology of what woman are suppose to look and do. “Advertising is an over $200 billion a year industry. We are each exposed to over 3000 ads a day. Yet, remarkably most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising. Ads sell a great deal more than products. 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. The image of how woman should look is a powerful one.” (Kilbourne). Advertisements are everywhere and influences the population perceptions as well as sets a social norm of certain aspects. Women and beauty are correlated and are stereotypically portrayed as beautiful divas. A consequence that can occur are anorexia, bulimia, purging, and other eating disoders that are a result of unrealistic models. Young girls suffer the most in the sense because they are the at young developmental age at are being exposed to very thin models and believe those models figures are the norms. It isn’t easy for a young girl to see advertisements everywhere most of which are using models and Photoshop to create a standard that thin is beautiful.
Advertisements sell product but psychologically they also sell an image of what is normal in society. Advertisements about cosmetics, fitness, and fashion all target women in general but use models or celebrities to display their products. Advertisements are at every corner in modern society so it is difficult to ignore those ads. Companies that don’t even revolve around women still use female sexuality to sell its product. “Sexual images have been a staple of advertising since the very birth of the industry. Women’s faces and bodies adorned Coca-Cola calenders back in the 1890s and have been employed to sell virtually everything since.”(Jacobsen and Mazur). Since advertising became prominent women have been used as sexual symbol to promote a product or a concept. It is unfair to group all the women into a specific image of beauty, when in reality it’s the contrary because many women don’t look like the models on the advertisements. Sometimes the models themselves don’t look like the ads they are in because of the use of Photoshop and other physical alterations.
Women are not alone as men are used to also depict a normal standard for how they should look and act. Women and men go through sexual stereotypes but women in general are portrayed as the dependent. Male and female models set up the views that the we live in patriarchal world because women appear as the sexual object that a man would have to obtain. “Even with the bigger freedom of choice given to women nowadays we are still to a certain extent living in a patriarchal society which looks through the male gaze. Women are still being portrayed as being dependent on men” (Limpinnian). Essentially women and men models are both being used to represent social customs but for women those customs are unfair as advertisement convey a male-dominated world. Men are the wealthy, successful, and handsome while women are shown to be beautiful and in need of a man.
Advertisement is a complex business that involves different aspects such as psychology, mathematics, sociology, statistics, economics and law but neglect to notice or care for the affects that come with those ads. Countless ads from godaddy.com or axe body spray convey women as sexual objects merely to serve one purpose which is to make the men happy. Sexism in advertising is like yellow journalism in that it highlights women to sell a product similar to how a headline gets twisted to sell newspaper. The advertising companies can say what they want about their ads but the decoding of the message is that of a sexy women. A woman being used for their appearance to sell a product is unjust and demeans women and what they have worked so hard for, which is to be treated equally as men. Advertisements that use women should include realistic sizes and appearance so young girls and already matured women don’t have to stress of their figures. Lots of low self esteem, unhealthy eating habits, and stress are all affects that are can be attributed to sexual stereotypes of women in ads all across the world in different media outlets.
Jacobsen, Micheal F., and Laurie A. Mazur. "Sexism and Sexuality in Advertising." N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.
Kilbourne, Jean. "Killing Us Softly 4." Lecture. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
Limpinnian, Danielle. "The Portrayal of Men and Women in TV Ads." (n.d.): n. pag. Apr. 2002. Web. 12 Oct. 2013.