Women in Advertising
So this link appeared on my facebook wall: http://front.moveon.org/kate-winslet-i-dont-look-like-that-and-i-dont-desire-to-look-like-that/?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4de7e1dd45f52d91,3 And I thought it looked pretty interesting, so I watched it and read through the comments, then posted my own massive one. I don’t want all that typing to just be read by a few people, so I will post it here so I can hear your ideas as well
WATCH THE VIDEO, READ SOME COMMENTS, AND THIS IS MY COMMENT:
Well, from first glance at the comments, my guess is most of you guys (and gals) are american. Why some much focus on Conservative vs Liberal? Do we really need to bring that title out so that as soon as someone says a "liberal-sounding comment" you can say "Oh, well, I’m a conservative, therefore I can disagree with them because they don’t believe in the same government as I do, so theres no way we can agree on this."
Reading through the comments, I’ve heard this:
So, I guess I’ll respond to those issues. Also, I’m going to throw in
To start, I would like to ask a question. It is said here that advertising puts of images of "flawless beauty" and "the ideal women" and then women everywhere get insecure and try to mimic them. To those women (the women everywhere), I would like to ask "Do you think that the people in the pictures are beautiful?" And I guess the same question to the men. How do we know that the women that advertising puts are are "perfect beauty"? I like how the video showed the anorexic models, and then said that they are in modelling still. To me, and to most people I know, those women are actually quite ugly. Just because women are posted all over the place and someone is saying "Look at these beautiful women and the products they use to be beautiful, come buy our products and you can be beautiful too!" Can someone not say "Actually, you are not beautiful. I do not want to look like you." If one says "Yeah, thats a pretty cool look, I want to look like you" then how can one blame an industry for inspiring a new look for one to try? It all comes down to one’s choices. I’ve kind of swerved off topic here, so I’ll conclude. Advertising is only degrading to women if they let themselves be degraded. Look at Kate Winslet. She chose to do her own thing, and to hell with what Hollywood and advertisements told her. So instead of saying "Oh no, advertising gives me a ‘perfect’ ideal that I have to live up to", try saying "You know what? I don’t like that. I want to be myself." Do you think that advertising would be as effective if noone looked at it or agreed with it?
Onwards to my next point! I think that advertising is also degrading to men. I don’t like the word degrading, but it is said that advertising gives women an image of "perfect beauty" with long legs, a narrow waist, a big bust, and flawless features, but have you seen ads with men? Broad shoulders, flawless complexion, rippling abs and pecs, this goes both ways. Men also have pressure to try and achieve "ideal beauty". So, don’t limit this problem to just women.
Thirdly, I saw someone post (it was Nibingul) that "If women don’t want to be treated like trash, then
Fourthly, talking about women playing the victim card. This kind of ties into two of the above paragraphs I typed, so it’ll be short. Advertising puts the same ideals out for men, yet that is hardly ever brought up as an issue. Usually, its "Advertising is degrading to women by putting up an image of perfect beauty that is unattainable" When in reality it puts up that image for everyone. Male and female. So, that is why I think that people say that women are just "being the victim here". This is an issue that affects everyone, women just speak out the loudest about it.
Lastly, the point about how objectifying women makes it easier to abuse them. I fail to see how this works. If you take someone, put them in a box, and throw that box into the river, you can think "Hey, I never killed a person, I just threw a box away", that to me is objectifying someone to facilitate violence towards them. If you see a women dressed up or digitally altered to look like a beer bottle (like the video showed), then think "Hey, if I abuse that person, it’s just like smashing a beer bottle. Its not abuse.", then I think that that person is quite twisted, and would have ended up as a serial killer whether advertising dressed people up or not. Also, does this not ruin Halloween? Are we removing are humanity by dressing up as inhuman objects?
This post was giant, and I’m sure that many will just skip over it. And I’m not telling you if I’m a liberal or conservative. So you’ll actually have to read what I wrote to make judgements.
Great post Bryan, I’ve been thinking about this subject for a while now because it ties in perfectly with our notion of happiness and true happiness. Our notion is what we learn when we get confronted with images that depict what happiness should be like, true happiness is the experience if you were happy right now.
In our present day society we get bombarded with ideas of how life should be like, how much happier would you be if you bought car X and how much more beautiful you would be like if you used product Y. Commercials manipulate you into doing what the commercial was designed to do. It’s propaganda, disguised as marketing, in the name of individuality.
Now I think it’s obvious that the confusion of what’s real and what’s not can lead to many problems, the advertisement of woman is one of them. I don’t want to repeat the points in the video, of which I agree with all of them. I’d rather like to point out that this happens unconsciously. Your idea of beauty is made up by bits and pieces of the reality you grew out of, if that reality is part manipulating you are manipulating yourself in the end. And this inner fight is extremely strong in western societies (We have armies of marketeers to make sure we keep on consuming). We personally feel like were never enough, were never good as we are now. (In the same way we are never happy with what we have now, if we just have a little more, THEN we will be happy).
Once I read this quote by an artist that sums up the goal of advertisement: Advertisements are compost, I grow fruits on.
So all you can do really is: Not buy the products that use advertisement like that (or else that part of the system keeps on going). And make sure you know that you have to enjoy beauty in two ways, one that is digital/fake and one that is the beauty of the real people you meet. Don’t confuse the two.
The dichotomy between liberal and conservatives regarding this subject is complete non-sense in my opinion, it doesn’t adress the issue at all.
The key problem with advertising is also the key problem with life – mistaking ideas and images for reality.
As a footnote, it’s crazy how the site’s tagline is “democracy in action”, then talks as if only 2 parties that are both sponsored by banks and corporations – and act mostly (almost completely) for the benefit of banks and corporations – comprises a democracy.
Nice topic Bryan :) Yes it seems like this has been an issue for as long as I can remember. I’ll throw out some thoughts…in no particular order..
3) I don’t see where liberal/conservative comes into play here either :)
Excellent topic!! I must admit I fall victim to some of these add tactics… it is in our human nature.
Even this website is guilty of using such tactics. Look at this article featured on high existence: http://www.highexistence.com/why-marijuana-is-illegal/
Observe the picture of the attractive female with the low-cut shirt. Surely there are tons of other pictures that could have been used, but it is pretty clear why this one was chosen.
And it worked! I’m not saying that it was good or bad, but even if we aren’t consciously drawn to these types of images, our subconscious mind enjoys the simple human beauty.
I am an advocate of using simple, NATURAL human beauty in advertising. Parts of our mind enjoy the logic of a muscular man using exercise equipment as opposed to an overweight or underweight man. But when advertisers get carried away and use dishonest imagery to sell their products, it becomes an ethical problem.
They are exploiting the natural insecurities we feel about ourselves. Society conditions us to look perfect and behave well. Advertisements like these flourish because we, as a society, embrace them, and reward them with our business. Only an intellectual revolution on a massive scale will change the way business is done. But that means a change in natural human behavior. As long as we have our irrational human emotions, we will always have these advertisements. They are simply too effective as a business practice to abandon.
This is one problem no subset of the human race can “cure.” Unless you can think of a way to remove the sexual desires of a human, or the natural insecurities we feel (but that would remove our most cherished human quality: emotion).
I bet the society in the movie Equilibrium doesn’t have adds like these…
I haven’t see the movie Equilibrium, but as with the portrayal of Spock in Star Trek, people who don’t fully understand what emotion is create an idea of non-emotionalism – which of course is very unattractive.
It is possible however to live with a full emotional scale, but without emotions caused by illusions. The main factors of illusion are self-centredness, attachment, identification and objectification.
I like this girl alot and agree completely with her view on the matter:
Its good to see she’s keeping her computer up to date.
But seriously, she says some good stuff.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.