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The Sexual Objectification of Women in Advertising, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 627

Essay

Chapter 21 focuses on ethics in advertising and promotion. The aspect of this chapter I chose to focus on for summary is how untruthful and deceptive advertising harms consumers as well as the advertising industry as a whole. Deceptive and untruthful advertisements can consist of being deliberately untruthful, have false or misleading claims, engage in faulty sweepstakes, provide too little information, and embellish and exaggerate claims (Belch, 2012, pp.). The problems that arise from these types of deceptive practices are consumer’s distrust in advertising that therefore lead to lower consumer activity. One aspect of advertising that can lead to consumer distrust is engaging in offensive tactics or bad taste and shock value. Although these aspects are based on a person’s opinions and values, there are often certain images or words that are universally considered offensive or in bad taste.

A common theme of advertising that is used and has been used in the past is portraying sexist stereotypes or using women as sex objects to sell a product or a service. “Advertising often depicts women as preoccupied with beauty, household duties, and motherhood, or shows them as decorative objects or sexually provocative figures” (Belch, 2012, p. 744). It is argued among critics that portraying women as sex objects in mass media, such as advertising, “contributes to violence against women,” as well as greater prevalence and spread of eating disorders and other harmful mental disorders (Belch, 2012, p. 245). It is worth noting, however, that these images are improving with time, and portrayals of women in advertising and media are becoming more realistic, therefore less harmful to young girls and boys (Belch, 2012, p. 245). This is because more realistic portrayals of women lead to wider acceptance of diversity.

Advertisement Analysis

In terms of how gender stereotypes and norms are used to increase consumerism, women are often used in advertising as objects- oftentimes faceless, presenting specific body parts. Also, women are used in advertising to show domestic use— they are the house cleaners obsessing over a new product that she must but in order to have a perfect house. Or she is obsessed with beauty and dieting and the advertisement is meant for her to purchase new, improved beauty products that prevent aging or a diet pill that will maker her thin and beautiful. The following  advertisement uses sexual imagery of women’s body parts to sell a diet aid/drink while also using suggestive language to draw even more attention to the objectified body part.

This advertisement not only uses a female body to advertise a diet product, by also does so by completely removing any human and recognizable features of the female—her face is nowhere to be seen. The product is aimed at women in an effort to sell a product that will make them more beautiful and sexually attractive, while also removing any other qualities of the woman that might exist. She is ultimately just a sexual image of body part meant to sale a product to other women who want to look like her. Sex is often commercialized in advertising and women are essentially the product that garners the reaction from the consumer to spend money. “Constant portrayal of women as sex objects in advertisements seems to have subconscious effects on the American population” (Zimmerman, 2008, p. 76). This can be harmful to both men and women for various reasons, but most often because it creates very unreal expectations of what people should look like while at the same time removing human qualities from those depicted in the images.

Works Cited

Belch, George, E., and A. Belch, Michael. “Advertising and promotion.” An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. New York: MacGraw

Hill Higher Education (2012).Zimmerman, A., & Dahlberg, J.

(2008). The sexual objectification of women in advertising: A contemporary cultural perspective. Journal of Advertising Research, 48(1), 71.

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