The Issue of Sexism and Racial Inequality in Advertising

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Updated: Feb 12, 2022
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The Issue of Sexism and Racial Inequality in Advertising essay

The purpose of Advertising is to sell you a product. They use many ways to sell you that product, but they have to get your attention first. The things that people see when it comes to advertising is only face value. No one actually takes time to really analyze the deeper meanings of those ads. They are trying to push a secret message that can sometimes promote abuse of women, and degradation of women is okay. Often times women are made into objects making them less than human. Many advertisers really try to push the idea of sex into a lot of ads because as we all know, sex sells. It has even gotten to the point where even children have become sexualized, which is obviously sick and grotesque. Racism is also used quite frequently in ads, but you won’t know it if you’re not looking for it, people of color are often portrayed as animals or dressed up in animal print. Women are subjected to many different types of degradation.

Today many ads focus on women and their bodies. The idea is that are just objects to have. In an ad for “leggs” it shows a man standing on top of a woman’s head. Mind you it’s just her head. She is merely an object, not even human. The caption says “It’s nice to have a girl around the house.” The head s also connected to a tiger pelt. This even dehumanizes her even more. This is has a double meaning other than being and object, the animal print comes into play, it says it right there. She is a trophy, the man has conquered over the women, it’s pure dominance. There is also another ad that just gleams with all this objectification. Its an ad for University Row Manhattan, the image is of a women in a cage while a man sits on top saying “Hold that tiger, Tiger.” We have that theme of gender dominance in this ad, but something new here is the that women is wearing animal print, it symbolizes her as animal. What it is saying is that she isn’t human, she is an animal that needs to be contained. Something else I get out of this is that she she might be considered a pet, but I guess that falls under the umbrella of Male dominance over women and the objectification of women.

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Violence against women has become very prevalent in ads, even when they don’t seem to portray that. As my first example of this is an ad in Vanity Fair, surprisingly, this is the first thing you open to when you open the magazine. First it shows a women sitting on a bench on a basketball court with her legs spread opened. Once you open the spread, you see that now the women is sitting on the lap of a man and she is wearing a jacket, her breasts have almost fallen out. Also in the spread are two other males that are sitting there without their shirts. When analyzing the advertizement. It looks more like she is going to get gang raped by them. There is also that male dominance theme, since she is just one women surrounded by three strong men. She would have to submit to them. Those are all common themes in Calvin Klein ads, they are hyper sexualized, and sometimes show women getting dominated by men. Now, there is a ad that really comes to my attention because it really disturbs me. The ad is for Duncan Quinn, they sell suits for men. The ad depicts a man holding a dead women with necktie around her neck. In the ad the man is smirking like he is proud of what he has done, or that he isn’t even phased that he killed a women. Another thing that is quite disturbing about this ad is that the women is almost nude. The ad doesn’t make much sense, they are a mens suit seller, what does having a dead and almost naked women have to do with that? This is nothing more than an ad that promotes violence against women.

The video game called “Hitman” had an ad that shows a women dead with the tag line “Beautifully Executed.” The ad is targeting gamers, it’s telling them that they can kill women in it. It also means that they can die beautifully. It’s a blatant ad that shows a dead women which means that killing women is okay.

Advertisers are finally crossing a new line. They are using young girls in their ads that are hyper sexualized. In an ad for Marc Jacobs perfume called Daisy. In the ad there is a girl that looks to be underage, and barley clothed, and the color of the underwear is a color that almost makes it look like she is naked. Girls are now being used to push the sex sells agenda. In a recent edition of French Vogue, there was a 10 year old model, who was posing in some suggestive poses. The girl is obviously doing photo shoots that she she shouldn’t be doing. She is only 10 years old, a girl that age shouldn’t be doing things like that.

That advertising industry sure hasn’t let go of racial stereotypes and continues to make them look like animals and less than human. In a photo shoot for V Magazine, Rapper/singer Nicki Minaj was dressed up in animal prints and had tribal prints painted on her. She looked like someone from a crazy African tribes. She is a women of color so they have to make her look like and animal or a scary tribal person. The whole point of this is to dehumanize her and make look inferior to everyone one else. In a super bowl ad for Pepsi, the ad portrayed a black woman as violent and angry. She pretty much controls what her husbands does all the time like watching what he eats and even assaulting a white woman because the women smiled at her husband. You shouldn’t take ads at face value. The themes that some ads push on the general public is disgusting especially when it isn’t completely clear what the purpose of the ad is. The degradation, hyper sexualization, and objectification of women is very prevalent in most ads that feature women. The idea of gender equality has not changed one bit in the advertising industry, the industry is stagnant and shows no sign that it is ready to move forward past these injustices toward women.

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The Issue of Sexism and Racial Inequality in Advertising. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from