Advertisements are everywhere we go. They are used to attracts people’s attention. Advertisements are an important and simple method for companies to use to make themselves known. It has greatly impacted our society throughout the years. The advertisements are influencing people’s habits day by day, altering the values and priorities of our society with sexism and gender roles,and by creating false needs. Overall, it is very obvious that men and women play different roles in advertising.
Advertisements essentially have the power to promote positive or negative impact to our society. There are a lot of advertisements that put a negative impact on society by portraying women as sex objects. Advertisements also rely on stereotypes as shortcuts to portray their idea. There are many advertisements with a sexual appeal to them to attract men and unfortunately women fall for these advertisements because they try to embody them.
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These advertisements I found also have quite a lot of gender bias in them. Typically more from the 20th century but there a still a few that companies are producing today. When I was looking at these types advertisements I was truly shocked how many there were and how big companies think it is okay for them to attract customers in this way. A lot of the ads I found portrayed women to be useless and just good for house work and cooking. In one ad, there was a saying, “You mean a woman can open it…?” for a new ketchup bottle.
This was just one of the insulting ads towards women that I found. This ad was stating that their cap for the ketchup bottle was so easy to open that even a girl could do it. This ad was just another way to show that women are the weaker figure and men are the dominant figure. Now there is a relatively recent ad that caused some controversy for me when I saw it. It is a Dr. Pepper ad that has the saying “It is not for women”. I do not understand the companies approach and what they were trying to accomplish by advertising this new product.
The only thing they are accomplishing in this ad is separating men and women. This is an example that shows the gender divided culture is still prevalent but it is 2019 and it should not be around any longer. Another sexist ad that I found was a Total Cereal ad. Right away I saw a woman cleaning the windows with a headline that says “Keep up with the house while you keep down your weight”. Now the first part the headline, “Keep up with the house” clearing shows what subject the company is using, which is women.
And it is also using one of the oldest stereotypes about women being the ones that need to stay home and clean the house. Then the second part of the headline, “while you keep down your weight” again is pointed towards women and showing the generalization that society has that women should have the “perfect body”. The company Total Cereal is trying to tell women to eat their cereal to keep down the weight.
This ad makes the company look bad and disrespectful because they just add to the generalization of women and it is sexist. Now, I only mentioned three ads out of the twenty that I found but those three summarize what the rest of the ads that I found from companies. These sexist ads show that society is still dominated by the masculine values which still control the image of women in society and in media.
These sexist and gender bias trends in these ads connect to what I have learned in the film, Killing Us Softly 4, and from this class. The film made it more aware to me that the media does not care for the actually important qualities of a woman, just their sexual appearance. These advertisements create this image for women that they need to be ideal image of perfection. Because of this image of perfect, the numbers cosmetic procedures have dramatically increased of the years. These women are changing their face and bodies to what they think is the ideal woman.
These procedures are ultimately to make them look younger. And the reason for women to want to look younger is because the media says that they are worthless and everything will go downhill once you look old and not youthful anymore. A Victoria Secret’s ad had a group of women wearing their bras and underwear and the headline was “The Perfect Body”. The women in the ad are all tall and skinny. For the company Victoria Secret, the perfect body is a skinny woman. This is a wonderful example to show how the media can cause these types of insecurities for women and children.
These advertisements are misleading the public and it gives them the wrong impression. It is labeling certain characteristics to each sex. This refers to what I have learned from class about gender socialization. Gender socialization is what children about the social expectations and behaviors of boys and girls. So when these kids are growing up around these advertisements that say this is what “beautiful” looks like for women and this is how a strong male figure should look like and act. This also leads into the topic of gender roles in society.
Gender roles are expectations of how one should dress, talk, etc. based on their sex. These gender roles are equivalent to stereotypes for the sexes. For example, women are portrayed to be the ones who clean the house, take care of the children but men are the ones who work and provide for the family. This also means that men are superior to women. In a Mr. Clean ad, it had the headline that said, “This Mother’s Day, get back to the job that really matters”. It has a picture of a mother and daughter cleaning. Not only does it just show a mom cleaning but it shows the daughter.
So if other young girls were to see this ad they would think it was the norm and it is okay because it is so embedded in today’s society. As stated in the film, men are held to a lower standard and are really victimized if they fail. These gender roles and socializations pressure both sexes to fit the society’s ideals. Even though nowadays the difference between men and womens roles are similar, the media are going to follow the traditional roles and stereotypes.
In conclusion, advertisements are greatly responsible for evoking these views for the people in our society. As long as these advertisements portray women and men as such, the children will create these stereotypes in their minds about the different roles of men and women. The views of the people of our society are based on the interpretations they assume from the images that in the advertisements than the observations of men and women in real life. Unfortunately, this continues in a vicious circle because these companies are going to come out with advertisements they think what society thinks and how they view people.