Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Group 3: Gender and Advertising



Women in Advertisements has been based on exploitation, and a way to continue to suppress women and reinforce the ideals that maintain the patriarchal society. Stereotypes are used  in most of the media we see today especially advertising. Stereotypes are used to maintain the imbalance of race and gender. 

Why else is stereotyping wrong?
  • it reduces a wide range of differences in people to simplistic categorizations.
  • it transforms assumptions about particular groups of people into “realities”
  • it's being used to justify the position of those in power.
  • it perpetuates social prejudice and inequality.
                                                                                                                                                                   
The use of Photoshop in advertising in order to further idealize the bodies of female models is something that has become so commonplace that it can now be considered the norm. The use of Photoshop takes physical appearance to the extreme, producing images of bodies that are literally unattainable, because they do not exist in reality. The expectations that this sets for audiences is a significant enough problem that the American Medical Association spoke out against digitally altering the appearance of models, stating that "We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software." In this sense, image editing goes beyond just being an advertising concern, as it is identified as an issue of public health.
            Likewise, in some advertising the glamorization of domination over women is a persistent theme. The effects of these kind of messages in advertising are not things that one can gauge instantly, although any possible outcome is not a desirable. It may be extreme to suggest that somehow advertisements encourage violence against women, but at the very least there are advertisements that treat it as commonplace. In addition to this, because advertising has the sole purpose of selling a product, it is not in a position to explore the theme of sexual violence in a responsible way, or do anything beyond showing what kind of pants or makeup the people involved might wear. If this is a persistent theme, then even if it does not encourage violence, it encourages people to accept violence around them. A common idea, particularly in the realm of fashion advertising, is that of pushing the envelope, but even if that is a worthwhile goal, why would one want to push the envelope in such an unsavory direction?
            We live in a time when celebrities are hugely involved in selling and affecting our values and  in shaping our society. More and more celebrities are endorsing products in advertisements both in magazines and in television, basically in the media landscape at large. In the spirit of this, the inspirational person of the week is Emme of Emmenation.com.
Emme is a model, actress, television personality and a nationally recognized women's advocate for positive body image. She often appears on news programs during discussions regarding women's issues. She has appeared as an body image and media expert on important panels for organizations such as NEDA and Creative Coalition (the last one during The Sundance Film Festival). In addition, she also spoke about women's and children's issues before a congressional sub-commitee in Washington D.C. making her the first model to do so.



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