Sunday, October 11, 2009

Unethical and Offensive Print and T.V. Advertisements: Offensive Portrayal of Women

Advertising is a very powerful and influential medium therefore it plays an important and great role in shaping society's views of women by how it portrays them. Unfortunately, most of the images of women in advertisements are unjust to the nature of women, negative and misrepresentative of women and their roles in society. The audience is usually large and ranges from people concerned with the ad to families and young teens.

The women in advertisements and ads usually are in their mid twenties wearing provocative and revealing clothes. Some of those models in advertisements have a pose and facial expression that are daring and sexually explicit which will surely offend women because these women are not conservative dress-wise and even in emotional communication and relationships. Generally, when women are seen as sexual objects, they are treated as such in society (Women's Images in Magazine Advertisements: How Far Have They Come?).

The Gucci print Ad:



This ad is definitely offensive to women because it tries to show the women’s ‘‘place’’ in the world which is at a man’s feet as shown in the picture above. In this picture, the women is visibly distressed and is using her right hand to hold her dress down and cover herself, clearly leaving you wondering in a series of events what might have occurred right before this women ended up on the ground. This ad enters into the ties commonly made between sex and violence in fashion advertising. This ad is totally humiliating to women. It shows that they are inferior human being which totally harms human rights. This is not the portrayal we-women-want to see in ads because it shows that we live in a very shallow minded society that is full of stereotypes and misrepresentation. Women must be given their right to be fairly represented in all media sources.

The Maker’s Mark print Ad:



This ad is also an offensive ad to women because of the words in it. What is it
about selling alcohol that makes advertisers want to belittle and insult women...does it really make men feel more powerful? This ad simply says that alcohol is apparently better than women (great body and fine character). Moreover, it promotes something that is unhealthy; drinking alcohol is very harmful to people’s health. This is an ad that encourages people especially teenagers (due to the use of the word ‘girlfriend; which applies mostly to teenagers or young adults) to drink alcohol. This ad doesn’t serve the welfare of our teenagers and young adults and is insulting women and encouraging the idea that it’s normal to belittle women and that it is accepted.

Winston’s print Ad:



In this ad, Winston tries to convince young women how tough and cool they can be by smoking while waiting for a man, we hope the man arrives soon before lung cancer sets in. This ad underestimates women intelligence by convincing them of silly, unhealthy and immature things to do. This ad also promotes an unhealthy habit that would really and is affecting people (especially teenagers and young adults). Smoking cigarettes is very unhealthy and causes young cancer. The ad encourages young women to smoke because this is way, they will look tough and cool which is a very vague, untrue and immature idea.

Dooney and Bourke’s print ad:



“Dooney and Bourke has been running a series of print ad similar to this in the past 6 months” (reclaimyourculture.com). The female model in the ad is positioned in a vulnerable way as if she is being threatened, she is naked (so possibly sexually threatened) and totally helpless, she has a large red star on her eye; evoking the idea she has been a victim of violence. I believe there is no effective point or reason for making the model pose nude even if she is covered (she is not fully covered though). The point actually is not that the female model is nude but her pose in general and how you get the feeling that she is threatened. I don’t know the reason why they always want to promote the idea that women are insecure.

BMW’s print Ad:



This ad for BMW serves to objectify women and particularly to objectify sexual relationships between men and women. According to BMW "the ultimate attraction" is their fancy car, women are still an attraction, but just not "the ultimate attraction". The car has the most power in this ad, then the man, then the women. Showing that an object (car) has the greatest power is simply unethical and illogical. Clearly, having a magazine photo on a women's face as you are having sexual intercourse with her is demeaning and degrading.

There are a lot of offensive T.V. ads; they all show women as only ‘sex objects’ and nothing more. They dress in a very provocative way, and totally revealing clothes and use facial expressions that are sexually explicit. The ad usually concentrates on the woman more than the product it advertises. They include female models dancing and the model talking in a sexy and attractive tone. I consider the people who like these kinds of ads totally pathetic and very shallow. Using sex in ads is totally unethical and not needed at all. The ad could be as effective and maybe more if it is clean and respectful.


These are the ads we want to see. Positive ads that make women look good and don’t demean women. The first is for Eileen Fisher, "Women change the world everyday." This is a very positive message and is showing women wearing respectful comfortable-looking clothing.

The second ad is for Liz Claiborne, "Feel comfortable." Finally, this is the message we-women-want to hear from a clothing ad.

The outrageous advertisements I showed earlier are ineffective and unethical because they demean and dehumanize women by reinforcing the stereotype that a women's primary identity relates to her being a sex object, harm women's right and is greatly offensive. Negative portrayals of women could greatly affect people and might convince some men (by putting a spotlight on such images of women for a long time) that these portrayals are actually true or at least have some truth or background to them. Generally, when women are seen as sexual objects, they are treated as such in society. These advertisements definitely harm women's rights because it promotes gender inequality and is totally disrespectful of women (especially to women activists and feminists). Valuing women only for their appearance and dehumanizing them is against women's rights. It also reflects an 'oppressive' view of women's role in society because in spite of all women's achievements in the work field that places them on an equal stance with men, she is still seen as someone whose basic role is providing physical pleasures and an inferior human being. This offensive, insulting and disgusting portrayal of women is completely unethical and doesn't give them their full rights as human beings.

Women should stand for their rights and fight back because they are creative human beings who deserve to be portrayed and treated as such so as to gain back their dignity, pride and self esteem. The portrayal of women and girls in advertisements as sex objects is a common form of violence against women and girls. Our society is supposed to be an enlightened and humane society where everybody, especially women and girls, are treated with decency and respect.

Media watch and monitoring systems should be supported and authorized. It is sad that these offensive and insulting ads of women are out there in the open. We strongly urge those concerned in the advertising industry to take the necessary action to ensure that these advertisements are stopped immediately. The media should be encouraged to avoid presenting women as inferior beings and should present them as creative human beings as well refrain from exploiting them as sexual objects and commodities. It is also really unfair that women are left out and not given the opportunity to contribute so women should have increasing and progressive participation in decision making at all levels in the media.

3 comments:

Irina said...

I love your blog, I agree 100%

martin said...

Women are not portrayed as you write, it is men who are always shown as bumbling and stupid in ads and women are goddesses who sort things out. What you write is totally wrong.

Men have kept women alive since the start of human life, we didn't have to. We still keep women alive with taxes (72%) from male work that it distributed largely to females who have chosen to have babies or do cushy work.
Women expect to find a stupid disposable man to pay for her easy life. The majority by far of suicides are men, homeless, children are taken away from us by biassed family courts, we die earlier in every society.
Women have always had an easy life on the backs of men. Trivial complaints about TV adverts is, well trivial.

martin said...

Women are not portrayed as you write, it is men who are always shown as bumbling and stupid in ads and women are goddesses who sort things out. What you write is totally wrong.

Men have kept women alive since the start of human life, we didn't have to. We still keep women alive with taxes (72%) from male work that it distributed largely to females who have chosen to have babies or do cushy work.
Women expect to find a stupid disposable man to pay for her easy life. The majority by far of suicides are men, homeless, children are taken away from us by biassed family courts, we die earlier in every society.
Women have always had an easy life on the backs of men. Trivial complaints about TV adverts is, well trivial.