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The Influence Of The Idea Of Advertising On Society

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While trying to find a topic that I wanted to analyze, I realized just how impactful the different ideas that advertisements have on society. I decided to look into how women are portrayed in ads and how that then affects the women who see those ads. While I was looking through advertisements I really noticed just how sexualized women are, which did not surprise me because it is always like that. However, I did think that it was really interesting that they were sexualizing things that did not need to be sexualized. For example, for a Burger King ad about a new sandwich they had they chose to sexualize it. On one side of the advertisement they had a woman with her mouth open and on the other side of the poster they had the sandwich they were trying to sell. The caption then read “It’ll blow your mind away.” which is overtly sexual for something that does not need to be. There are so many examples of this, which is sadly not as big of a deal as it should be.

The other advertising thing that I always seem to notice is that while women are sexualized and seen more as an object rather than a person, ads that feature men do not have the same level of sexualization. While there are ads that do sexualize men they are not as exposed and as it is said in an article by The National Post, “men hold the power and privilege of looking while women are powerless objects who should consider themselves fortunate for being appreciated.” which is about how when men are shown as shirtless they are not as objectified as a woman would be. Another example is on a Calvin Klein advertisement that I saw last year for a unisex button up shirt. In one photo, it featured a man who was wearing the shirt, fully buttoned, and a pair of jeans, nothing out of the ordinary. In the other photo, however, it had a woman wearing the shirt, but the difference was that she was only wearing the shirt and underwear, nothing else.

The shirt was unbuttoned and it barely showed her face. One other type of advertising that really sticks out to me is the ones that are specifically for women, something that no man will ever use. The one ad that really threw me off was for underwear from Victoria’s Secret. The ad showed only a woman facing away from the camera and being shown as an object, which really does not make sense for an ad that is targeted for women. One of the more upsetting aspects of this part of sexism in the media is the affect it has on men, and how this influences how they see women. Many of the advertisements that include women show them as objects, which then influences how men see and treat women they meet. However, while it is important to acknowledge the way the media objectifies women, it is also important to understand that the sexism and oversexualizing of women in advertisements and the media has a direct impact on the women who see those things.

Women that are portrayed in media do not represent the majority of women in the world, which can cause many young girls to internalize that there must be something wrong with them, or that they are ugly because they do not look like the girls in the magazines. In fact, as mentioned in an article titled “Here’s How Sexism Effects Your Mental Health, According to Science,” by JR Thorpe, he states that “ the stress of objectification can also lead to extremely negative mental health outcomes…that their bodies exist as objects for the gratification of men…” which is an incredibly upsetting thing for anyone to go through, especially young, impressionable women, who see these ads and believe that they are meant to look and act that way. They do not have the opportunity to see themselves in roles that do not have anything other than them wearing very little, unlike men who seem to constantly see themselves in roles where they are supposed to have power, even though there are some ads that have them shirtless. There are so many different ways that sexism in the media influences and eventually destroys the way that women are seen and how they see themselves.

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