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What Do Advertisements Say About the Identity of Women in the Twenty First Century?

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Advertisements in the twenty first century show that women are depicted as sex objects. The portrayal of women in static and dynamic advertisements says that they exist for the pleasure of masculinity. Women are seen as submissive and vulnerable, and this creates the stereotype of women as sex objects. Observing so many advertisements where women are the common theme of objectification, thus contributes to the universal representation of the identity of women. Twenty first century advertising constructs an identity of women that is behavioral and physical, creating a indestructible stereotype.

Exposing younger generations of women and girls creates a definite image of how they should look and behave. “Researchers have established a growing literature documenting the detrimental effects on women’s self-concepts of being regarded as primarily an object of others’ pleasure. What’s only recently come under scientific scrutiny is the impact on a woman of portraying herself in an objectified way to others” (Citation).

An ad released by Burger King in 2009 contributes to our understanding of how advertising companies use women as objects who use their bodies to serve men. As an observer of the ad, we are drawn to the large white letters reading “It’ll blow your mind away” emphasized with capitalization. This line, tied with the image of the woman with her mouth open, can be linked to the act of performing oral sex on a male. The dramatic black shadow around the edges makes the focal point of the ad the static action of the woman and the “BK super seven incher.” Hence, the projected target audience of this ad is male, continuing the notion that women are there just for a man’s pleasure.

An ad released by Natan Jewelry in 2002 symbolizes the treatment of women. With a plain background, eyes are focused on the woman’s legs in both images. We notice the legs are closed when the ring box is closed and they open when the box opens and reveals a ring. It implies that women can be bought with jewelry. Her body language is submissive. Her legs are pale which represents innocence and purity. Even though the face of the man is not present in the images, there is still the clear depiction of domination of the male. This company should want the main focus of their ads to be the jewelry they sell, but instead the diamond in both of the images is barely visible and the focus is on the portrayal of the women as a sex object. The woman will not only be forced to sacrifice herself for the man, but also for the diamond. The intent of Natan Jewelry was to symbolize the value of diamonds to a woman by demonstrating that a woman will open herself to man who buys their specific diamonds.

In a 2015 Carl’s Jr. commercial, model Charlotte McKinney, is used as an object to capture the attention of men, as she walks through a local market. She is the centerpiece of the commercial as she talks about “going all natural” as she struts, presumably naked to onlookers. Visible references between her tush and a resembling apple. As a hand reaches to grip the apple, the identity of a woman is seen as vulnerable. Her attractiveness is limited to her visible extremities. Also, Carl’s Jr. enables the body image of women by the use of the clothes Charlotte is dressed in. Seductivity is linked to how much skin a woman shows, and the company uses this to their advantage. By having their model wearing close to nothing on her upper body and tight shorts on her lower body, it boosts the body image standard of women. Carl’s Jr. utilizes the clothing of the actress to draw the most attention to the releasing of their new all natural burger.

Companies that use the sexualization of women do it in order to have a higher chance of selling the product. They use the the most desired image of a woman in their advertisements because it will evoke customers. The desirable standard of a woman has been focused on body image. The incorporation of these numerous advertisements contributes to the beauty standard of women. Also, in relation to the beauty standards, Barbie has added to the desirable image of women. Megan Garber says “Ruth Handler may have designed the doll, in the 1950s, to be a progressive alternative to the baby doll, thereby expanding girls’ vision of what their roles might be; what she also designed, however, was an impossible standard that would endure for generations”.

In a 2013 GoDaddy commercial, what is seen as a model and a nerd, gives off the implication that the model is the sexy one and the nerd is the smart one. The commercial was focusing on the two sides that make up the company. The identity of women observed here is that women can only be seen as sexy. By inflicting this notion on millions of viewers, it furthers the standard body shape and size of a woman. By only seeing them as sexy, limits them to one identity that is visible to all. Towards the end of the commercial, the woman and man begin to embrace with a tender kissing, which enhances that it is a woman’s job to connect and exist to pleasure a man. GoDaddy uses a tactic to have all eyes on the skin tight, curved, and blonde young woman.

In a Skyy Vodka ad, the understanding comes from the depiction of male domination. Skyy uses the body of the woman to appear under, and vulnerable, to a man in a suit holding vodka. The use of style of dress for the woman is significant to the objectification of the woman herself. The ad exemplifies women as exoticized objects in order to charm the male spectator. This ad suggest that men can not only get beautiful looking women if they purchase a bottle of Skyy Vodka, but also control them.

Advertisements play upon our desires to be perfect. What is understood from Natan Jewelry ad is that if a woman wants diamonds she will have to be submissive. Also, companies use women in more provocative poses because it appeals more to male viewers. Attractive females with little to no clothes on draw the undivided attention of male onlookers.

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