Violent and sexual innuendos in a patriarchal, advertising world

In order to get the attention of the consumers, advertisers design images that they believe would be aesthetically pleasing or the exact opposite, controversial. Which ever way they choose to set up the image, it plays an enormous role as to how the viewers analyze the concept and take from it. It’s without doubt that advertisement is used to promote certain products but when evaluated, there seems to be implicit innuendos of sexuality and violence. In Sexism in Advertising, it statesadvertising sells much more than products; it sells values and cultural representations”, these apparent values and cultural representations are in fact damaging the society because they are unaware. 


In this image, is American Apparel actually selling the underwear or an almost pornographic image? This image is displayed where young girls and boys can see it, isn’t this sending the wrong message? Unfortunately, our society is so accepting of these images that depict sexuality and violence that it might only offend those with young children. But it should offend women as well because the position in which the women is located in is downgrading and shows that Patriarchy is still prominent. She is even using the gaze to attract the viewers.

In John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, he states, “Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.” This idea is that women in advertisements are not human but instead are objects in which attract the male minds.  When a women becomes objectified in an advertisement, the idea of the society being a patriarchy is then justified. 



This ad from Nikon shows the objectification of the women clearly and it is noticeable that a man is in fact holding the camera. 

This lingerie commercial (NSFW/ NSFS- WARNING, PLEASE BE VERY CAUTIOUS WHEN WATCHING THIS COMMERCIAL, THERE IS SLIGHT NUDITY) shows the objectification of women and violence towards women. Of course it’s women attacking another woman but it still shows the violence that is constantly shown in advertisements.

Unfortunately, overly sexualized images are also being rendered to younger children of the society; through Disney and its organizations. In Henry Giroux’s paper, Animating Youth: the Disnification of Children’s Culture, he made clear that Disney films should be analyzed because of the gender and racial stereotypes depicted in most of the films. In every Disney Film (accept the recent ones), most of the Princesses are waiting for Princes to come and save them; usually they are motherless or are forced to live with an evil ugly stepmother. These Princesses also are always slim and of fair skin. All these characteristics teach young girls that beauty is everything and that a man will come and sweep you off your feet so no need to get an education. Also the Princesses are never in power without a Prince by their side. The looks of Princesses changed recently which caused controversy.


Before and after. 



In order to live in a more equal society, people need to educate themselves so that they can see these inequalities that are pressed upon women in advertisements. Ads need to be used only for what they are made for, to get the product know and sold instead of having these innuendos of violence and sexuality. Gender-neutral ads have recently become a sensation so hopefully they create a change that will course through the advertising world and make it a better place. ImageImage


-Ashley Carmenatty  




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