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Advertising agencies have for far too long treated women unfairly something that women’s movement has criticized for over half a century. Women advertising different products on televisions, magazines, and on personal computer screens are portrayed as scantily dressed (Zimmerman & Dahlberg, 2008). As a matter of fact, sex forms a major component of the media. It is virtually found everywhere from the prime time television programs, movies, and even music videos. In fact, it is less likely that you will watch an hour of a television program without seeing a suggestively dressed or undressed female in a commercial (Zimmerman & Dahlberg, 2008).
The strongest critics of how women are portrayed in the process of advertising different products have been educated women. These criticisms have brought about some changes in the advertising industries. This paper seeks to outline how advertisements objectify women in order to sell their products and how the objectification creates sexualization of culture. The paper endeavors to enumerate the influence of the advertisements on individuals’ self-worth and its general effect on other women. Since the introduction of advertising several centuries ago, women have always been insulted, degraded, and treated as a commodity if the case of 2010 five minute video featuring Jean Kilbourne is anything to go by (Suggett, 2018).
Despite the fact that it racked an excess of 2 million views, it showed the damning effects of advertising on women and girls. Women and girls are used by advertising agencies as commodities with their semi-naked bodies used in advertising campaigns. Women are portrayed as flawless and anatomically impossible, something that puts women in the harms way (Suggett, 2018). The woman in the adverts, fashion industry, and marketing realms is a type of woman that does not exist in real world, the Barbie Doll woman. Her body if flawless without wrinkles, blemishes, and scars (Suggett, 2018). In fact, she has a perfect skin. She has long, smooth, and shapely legs. Her waist is too small that you could easily break her into two. Her back and breasts defies gravity. She has dazzling eyes and white perfect teeth (Suggett, 2018). What is not known to many is that what they see is a product of photo retouching and several hours spent on make-up chair. Men are always programmed at an early age to desire the Barbie Doll woman, the kind featured on adverts for perfumes and undergarments.
The Barbie Doll, according to the advertising agencies, should be the the standard for setting life by. Women on the other hand are conditioned at an early age to look like this woman, with perfect teeth, long hair, long legs, and incredible body (Suggett, 2018). As a result you will find men drinking particular brands of beer advertised by impossibly perfect women under the guise that if they drink that beer, they will get that woman. In the same breath, women and girls buy certain clothes, food, and beauty products in order to resemble the beer drinking models they saw in an advert (Suggett, 2018). The adverts have successfully managed to teach men to view women as objects. Women in their work places are viewed as objects, something that has led to incidences of sexual harassment. Think of Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein who supposedly harassed Ashley Judd and threatened her if she didn’t agree to a sexual act (Suggett, 2018). This is just an isolated case of how objectification can create sexualization culture where women are perceived to be objects of sex. Sexually objectified portrayal of women in advertisements has had sex to be commercial, recreational, and exploitational (Zimmerman & Dahlberg, 2008). Girls who have been exposed to such advertisements at an early age eventually become sexually aggressive. They begin to experiment with their sexuality at an early age.
This has led to the higher pregnancy rates for adolescent girls in the United States within the ages of between 15 to 17 years (Zimmerman & Dahlberg, 2008). Such exposure is also believed to be a factor behind new cases of sexually transmitted diseases among the children aged between 13 and 19 years (Zimmerman & Dahlberg, 2008). I am very critical of how women are portrayed in advertisements because women are treated as sex objects. They are also portrayed as fundamentally dependent on men (Soley & Kurzbard, 1986). I also find their portrayal as offensive. There are however mixed reactions when it comes to how advertisements affect other women or men. There are certain aspects of advertisements which were traditionally considered offensive which are currently not considered offensive by the womenfolk. We currently have third wave feminists who are not stiff and old-fashioned but bold and fun. They embrace sexuality and view sex as power. They perceive women as as dominant sex. They claim that men continue to use women as sex objects because they are desperately trying to regain power from them (Zimmerman & Dahlberg, 2008).
They believe women are strong and powerful and can be anything they want to be and still be hot doing it. This group of feminists encourage women to use their bodies as works of art. They aver that women are free to use their glamour as long as they are not coerced. Since advertisement was invented, adverts have aggressively objectified women to sell products. Objectification has reduced women to sexual objects. Exposure of young girls to these ads has led to cases of early pregnancies and rise in cases of sexually transmitted infections. Objectification of women is perceived differently depending on whether you are a third wave of feminist or not.
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