Advertising, sexism, racism and power hierarchies we have discussed a great deal of these topics in class and have seen many images of what they are and the reality of advertising is that they can have a great deal of sexism, racism, and power hierarchies. For instance as we discuss and seen in class how women can be seen as being sexualized through an ad like Victoria Secret for instances in this picture we can see that this woman is wearing lingerie in which it is promoting women to go out and buy these types of clothing and many women might believe that by wearing such lingerie might make them sexier or it can also make a woman feel like she needs to be thin to wear such clothing and look like these models. Also too, look the way a lot of these advertisements on television or in a magazine might show us it is the way to be, which is again a form of sexism. Such advertisements like Victoria Secret again can be define how women are supposed to be seen like being super thin is being promoted, which is what society has embedded women to think is the way to be. Like from the reading Ways of seeing John Berger says “From earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually. And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman.” (Berger 46)
Which this also relates to power hierarchies in example to how anything that women may drink or eat or even do a man can’t drink or eat or do anything that a women is seen doing because then that would be seen as being weak and not manly which is also an example of patriarchy as well. Like for instance this commercial on Dove which encourages men to have masculine hair http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2296540/Doves-hilarious-new-ad-warns-men-using-womens-shampoo–unless-want-sweeping-shiny-luscious-locks.html#v-2240560481001. Which goes back to the whole idea in which Bell Hooks mentions from her reading which she says “Patriarchal culture continues to control the hearts of men precisely because it socializes males to believe that without their role as patriarchs they will have no reason for being.”(Hooks 115)
Racism, in class and from the readings we have discussed this whole view of how black women were seen back then and how they were publicly advertised to be. Like for example from the reading Crooked Room where it says that black women are standing in a crooked room because they are confronted with all kinds of race and gender stereotypes and how they have to figure out which way is up. Again from Melissa Harris-Perry’s reading the crooked room she says that “black women are seen either as “oversexed” or as “fat mammies who aren’t thinking about sex at all.” (Perry 33) Generally white people saw them as being promiscuous or asexual and they had terms like “Jezebel” and “maid” and also “Mammy” which were some of the labeled stereotypes they had for black women.
Another example that comes to mind when thinking about racism is from the commercial that was shown in last year’s 2013 super bowl coca cola ad where there is these Las Vegas show girls, a black cowboy, and an Arab walking through the desert with a camel and viewers have to vote and see who will win the coca cola bottle. From the coca cola commercial it stirred a big controversy with Arab American groups which they said that Arabs are always seen as oil rich sheiks, terrorists, or belly dancers. Also president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, said in an email. “The Coke commercial for the Super Bowl is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world,”. (Imam Ali Siddiqui,) This also plays a big role on images and how images can be seen as a gaze to viewers, it’s as if we cannot avoid looking at them, because it captures our attention. Which is the whole point to advertisements to capture our attention the images gravitates things we find pleasurable, advertisers try everything to again get consumers rendered in were products are desired and money is spent which is a continuous and evolutionary process.
As we can see advertisements sometimes can give the wrong messages and advertisements are usually care more about selling whatever product they are promoting, without looking at the bigger picture and seeing that it can harm someone’s self-esteem or be racist or show how men are seen as these beings that can be more powerful than women. So if it means they have to show women half nude to sell their product then that’s what they will do, and again after all a lot of the time as they say sex sells. As we have been looking at from class and from the readings I can honestly say, that I myself used to see such products like Calvin Klein and Victoria secret and think and say to myself I want to be thin and look like that model because I thought that’s what being sexy meant now a days in today’s society. Now, of course I definitely have a different prospective on the idea of how much advertisements, television, music videos, and magazines have influenced what were supposed to wear and drink and smell and look like and even act like. So the only way we will be able to stop this as an alternative path for the industry is to have everyone be aware of what is being sold make them see that it isn’t just selling a product that it is more to that. Also changing these advertisements and maybe showing women less exposed, showing women equal to men and not having men be afraid to be a little less “masculine”.
Lastly, to have an alternative anti-advertising messages we can for example look at the documentary we saw in class called Thin in which can be a great example of how we can change advertising in a positive view because maybe advertisers have no consciousness of the ways their ads can be harmful to someone in what they are portraying from the ad. So maybe if they were to see the documentary Thin or just in general how much these ads can influence and impact someone’s life, they may start making and thinking differently about their ads and changing ways by inspiring better ideas in hopes to engage the audience in a more different approach.
Reporter, Daily Mail. “Dove’s Hilarious New Ad Warns Men against Using Women’s Shampoo –
Unless They Want Sweeping, Shiny and Luscious Locks.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 20 Mar. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
Zeidler, Sue. “Arab-American Groups Call Coke Super Bowl Ad ”racist”” Reuters. Thomson
Reuters, 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
Perry, Melissa H. “Crooked Room.” Crooked Room. 28-39
Berger, John. “Chapter 3.” Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting, 1973. 45-64. Print.
Hooks, Bell. “Feminist Manhood.” (n.d.): 107-34. Print.