We are in a visual world, where images stimulate some of “mans” most innate animalistic emotions. Within these images the stimuli comes from an overworked notion of manipulating the mind with sexism, racism, and other image power hierarchies. These images are made to evoke feelings inside of us. Jean Kilbourne really digs deep into why men give the stare of bell hooks well known opposition gaze. Kilbourne focuses on what these images are, represent, and teach. Anthony Cortese also feels strongly about the way woman are misrepresented in advertising and the media world. Gloria Steinem explains that there is a detachment from the actual journalism that goes on in magazines; journalism no longer consider because woman’s magazines are viewed as just “catalogs” with bodies, images, messages.
Kilbourne talks about how media and advertisements messages break young girls down. She explains that young women pay way to much attention to the bodies they see on magazines, movies, and billboards that they go to extremes to look like them. Some young girls turn to extreme dieting to alter their image to look like what they think is the standard, which has been set by an ad. She also talks about ads making statements without evening saying a word, she explains that the ad lure young woman in as if they were speaking enticing words to them. This standard is very relevant for today’s times, for example there is a California woman by the name of Blondie Bennett Barbie Doll and she describes herself as Barbie-obsessed; because she is trying her hardest to look as perfect as the image that the Barbie brand doll possesses. She even has taken this image to dire extremes; she is trying to make herself more air headed because that is one of the qualities Barbie processes apparently.
Photo credits: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ Photo Credits: celebritydoctor.net
Anthony Cortese talks about objectifying bodies, he says “although the social construction of gender is not fresh the perspective have recently been more formalized in the objectification theory ” (Cortese 61). This theory of sex sells derived from women’s bodies only being meant to be seen but women themselves never to be heard from. He explains it as if women have no voices in this matter of objectifying themselves to the world. This notion is seen as glorified, so it’s kind of a read between the lines matter for women.
For example almost every major magazine or ad for a fact has a half-naked woman being objectified right on the front cover . The latest trend of the modern day objectification is to objectify the hottest celebrity that’s out and make them a half- naked walking build board for your clothing line. Celebrity singer and actress Beyonce Knowles has always been a sex object in the realm of music, and she is even making that sexy image stronger with more fashion ads. The fact that Beyonce has the type of body that she has is the reason she gets picked for these ads and that is pure objectification.
Lena Durham an actress that is in the hit HBO TV show GIRLS recently got called out by a journalist who asked her “why does she appear nude on the show so much”? He made this statement because he claims that she is to overweight to be show casing a body like that on national television. But if she was a skinny little woman, with a tiny waist, she’d then be the perfect representation.
Photo Credits: www.dailymail.co.uk
Gloria Steinem explains that women are out of tune with what is being sold to them, and how it is being sold. We are deceived by these products that play to our weaknesses. She says we ask our men to often what they think we should get. She even says the content of magazines are largely based on the images, so that they sell out faster. She called this rave of the magazine in the 1920’s a “sexual revolution”. She says the magazines played to our husband’s needs, and our desires for products and this paved the way for many other radical images today.
The way I would reshape this social construction of the way we see images today is by re- characterizing and having an alternative model of masculinity that defies the traditional idea of masculinity by having no separation of social status amongst genders; ridding all of the ideologies behind the glorified patriarchal lifestyle, breaking sexist roles, ridding the idea of control amongst men, teaching men to get in touch with their sensitive side, and teaching them vulnerability. This would have to take affect while women learn a new sense of self as well.
Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used against Women. New York: W. Morrow, 1991.
Kilbourne, Jean. Deadly Persuasion: Why Women and Girls Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising. New York, NY: Free, 1999.
Gloria Steinem – The New York Times – January 8 2008 – The New York … Sex, Lies & Advertising
Anthony J Cortese – Rowman & Littlefield – 2007 – 3rd Ed. – Vol. Anthony J Cortese – Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising