Advertising is everywhere. We are submerged in it, and are drowning in the constant stream of messages we receive each day. Men and women are reminded of their gender roles so much that it is ingrained in our systems to act and expect others to act a certain way. More and more, we are seeing that the people we see in these advertisements are not only becoming dehumanized, but materialized. We live in a materialistic society where valuables are more important than values. We are desensitized to the violence and sex we see. Like a drug, we need more and more. I believe advertising is going too far with sexuality to reach target markets and should slowly return to a more traditional method to sell products.
Patriarchy is a dominant social system that is thriving throughout the world. Men are the primary authority figures while women are expected to support the needs of her counterpart. Advertising is doing everything in its power to reinforce these beliefs. In the past, we see that men were in the suit and tie and women were in the kitchen making dinner. Now, we see that men are violently overpowering extremely sexualized women to prove that they are still the center of the social system. Bell Hooks explains, “Clearly we cannot dismantle a system as long as we engage in collective denial about its impact on our lives. Patriarchy requires male dominance by any means necessary, hence it supports, promotes, and condones sexist violence” (24, Hooks). What Hooks is also saying is that by allowing men to slowly deconstruct and sexualize women more and more through media, our social perception of women is slowly being dismantled as well. The purpose of these images is to make the consumer aware of their product and it’s use, however, the problem with the ads we see today is that we believe in the possibility of becoming
Addicts go to rehab for drug addiction. They are slowly introduced to a more healthy way of living until they can hopefully become clean. The same should go for advertising. Perhaps if we slowly introduced a different set of images, such as empowered women that are supported by their proud male counterpart, we could slowly make a change. The change in the way society views imagery can’t happen overnight. Berger says, “Transform the woman into a man. Either in your mind’s eye or by drawing on the reproduction. Then notice the violence which that transformation does. Not to the image, but to the assumptions of a likely viewer” (64, Berger). The imagery we see is just a starting point to which our imaginations use as a canvas to paint the scenario being conveyed. Should those images slowly become more empowering towards women while directing men’s attention from the body of a woman to her brain, we could possibly see a change in the way these ads are viewed.
The advertising and media we see are deeply rooted due to the ability pop culture has for glorifying such objectivity. Every year, men drool as they watch Victoria’s Secret models walk down the runway in new “fashion”. It has become a phenomenon. The beauty, fashion, and entertainment industries have commoditized sexuality and objectivity. The young generations see what these models are wearing, how they look, and are they are perceived. Young men want to be with them, and young women want to be them. It is a vicious cycle. Young women should be following the footsteps and imagery of someone like Ivanka Trump, who is a successful businesswoman, dresses with class and dignity, and has a presence that shakes the ground she walks on. Instead, they are concerned (and probably confused by) the flesh colored jumper that Miley Cyrus paraded around in. Pop culture serves one of the many foundations for media and advertising
Advertising is going too far. Society is addicted to sexuality and violence and media is capitalizing on it. The images we see are trying to sell a product, but the messages further reinforce patriarchy and gender roles in the world. Pop culture serves as a strong foundation for the media we see and does not help any attempt to reform the cycle of gender roles. We need to implement a new wave of imagery that encourages female empowerment along with cooperative relationships between male and female rather than male being dominant.
Hooks, Bell. “Understanding Patriarchy.” The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love. New York: Atria, 2004. 20-33. Print.
Berger, John. “Chapter 3.” Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting, 1973. 45-64. Print.