How Sexism in Advertisements Contribute To Gender Violence

ADVERTISEMENTS AND GENDER VIOLENCE 8

HowSexism in Advertisements Contribute To Gender Violence

HowSexism in Advertisements Contribute To Gender Violence

TheAmerican Society is possessed with the female sexist advertisements.The obsessive culture that defines beauty with body size is a purefantasy and does not represent the reality. This ideology hasresulted in women undergoing cosmetic surgery, unhealthy dieting andrigorous physical training to attain the small body size. Thecontemporary society needs to reevaluate the reality of sexism in theadvertisements and realize that they have contributed to the cultureof sexism, gender based violence and eating disorders (Bordo, 1993).Sexism female bodies in advertisements have contributed to genderviolence and gender discrimination in the contemporary society.

Depictionof women in advertisements undermines the value of the female body.Advertisers expose the woman’s body by focusing on sensitive areassuch as breasts, waist, hips and butts to attract customers. Use ofnude women bodies in advertisements devalues girls and women inAmerican culture. Women’s bodies are depicted as products such ascars and beer cans. The depiction of the woman’s body inadvertisements has contributed to the definition of social andcultural construct. Advertisements depict women as male properties,hence contributing to ender violence in the society (Kilbourne,2010). Advertisements focus on depicting beauty in unrealisticallythin bodies this has contributed to the rise of eating disorders inthe society as beauty is defined by body size. The advertisementshave highly influenced the contemporary society’s perception offood and body image. Similarly, the standard thinness manifested inadvertisements contributes to the culture of women dissatisfactionwith their natural body size (Lavine, Sweeney and Wagner, 1999).

Advertisementsdepict men and boys as a powerful gender. Men are used to advertiseproducts associated with high physical energy. Men are portrayed toexhibit strong physical properties through body size and muscles.Conversely, women are portrayed as submissive objects to be used anddisposed by men at will (Bordo, 1993). The advertisement s advancesthe social and cultural chauvinism where men are known to be familybreadwinners while the women’s role is in the house ashousekeepers.

Advertisementsuse scenes depicting sex and violence to attract a market. Thesescenes, though unrealistic, are duplicated by the society in form ofrape, gender violence and murder. Women are depicted as fragile andsmall compared to men. This has resulted in the growth of a culturewhere men exercise dominion over women. The cultural definition ofbeauty is derived from the small size of women depicted in theadvertisement. As a result, women have adopted a poor eating habit ofavoidance to attain the small body size (Kilbourne, 2010). Women havebecome weaker and weaker and are unable to challenge men whenassaulted. The media has contributed to the definition of masculinityand feminity, hence the increasing cases of gender prejudice andviolence in all spheres of life.

Thecurrent society should therefore evaluate the role played by mediathrough advertisement on enhancing cultural menace like sexism,gender prejudice and eating disorder. Kilbourne urges women to notethat advertisements are not real and women should not strive toattain physical attributes beyond their ability. Women should supportand encourage each other to appreciate their bodies and abilities(Kilbourne, 2010). Media advertisements have highly contributed tothe degradation of female roles and imagery. As girls reachadolescent, they lose self esteem because advertisements have createda culture of female bodies as imperfect objects to be admired andused by men. The use of small body sized women in advertisementscreates a culture of thinness as an ideal woman body size. In someadvertisements, technology is used to magnify female body parts suchas hips, hence creating a body shape and size that cannot be attainedin real life.

Advertisementsportraying sexual violence against women are used to sell productsunrelated to sex such as toothpaste or food. Companies have adoptedto use violent scenes such as murder, women sitting in compromisingpostures and gang rape to create product awareness. Someadvertisements depict women smiling or helpless where there is aneminent attack. The women are depicted to allow the assaulters to dowhatever they want with the female bodies. Such advertisements havesignificantly contributed to the cultural attribute of sexualviolence as sensuality and normality (Katz, 2003)

Humanbeings learn and imitate what they observe. By normalizing sexualviolence against women in advertisements, the society’s belief andattitude to the vice are affected. Magazines targeting teenager andyouths instill the vice of gender violence against girls in boys. Asthe boys grow up, they believe that the girls’ bodies are objectsof male sexual satisfaction and can be used whether girls want ornot. This creates a culture of gender violence in the society.Similarly, sexist advertisements are mainly used in women’smagazines, creating cultural myth of women perceiving themselves asvictims of sexual violence. Advertisers use silence symbols inadvertisements, which has created a culture of women not exposingtheir offenders when assaulted (Katz, 2003). Convicted rapists oftenrefer to sexual, violent myths when justifying their crimes.Advertisements have created a cultural dogma that implies that womenalways ask for sexual violence and enjoy it. Advertisements create aculture at a given time, which is usually adopted by the society.

Astudy conducted by Lavine, Sweeney and Wagner, indicated that mostAmerican women compare their body size to that of women depicted inaverts, hence believe that they are overweight. The power of mediahas resulted in body dissatisfaction among women. Sexism inadvertisements has shifted the role of the woman from an idealhomemaker to a sexual object.

Sexismin advertisement has resulted in a culture of male dominance coupledwith sexual dependence on women. Sexism has contributed to a cultureof female submissiveness and those who challenge the dominance of menare often punished. Women experience gender prejudice in work placesduring employment, promotion reward and challenge. Women workers areoften given unchallenging tasks and treated like children by theirmale counterparts (Glick, 2013).

Aresearch conducted on female prejudice on students indicated that MBAand undergraduate results indicated that male students were givenless challenging assignments compared to their female counterpartshence performed better. This trend is manifested in work places wherewomen are denied the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skill,hence undermining their latent to achieve good results (Glick, 2013).Sexist prejudice in work place hinders the performance by creatingself doubt in women. Men who practice hostile sexism are liked bytheir peers.

Sexismin advertisement has created a culture of male dominance women. Womenexposed to sexist advertisement have low self esteem and unable toresist gender based inequality. The present gender inequality is aresult of women’s choice (Glick, 2013). Culture has enhancedwomen’s disinterest in collective activities that advocate women’srights. Culture has taught women to submit to male demands even if ithurts them emotionally or physically. This has contributed to socialand domestic violence. Women manifest their tameness by failing toreport cases of violence. This has contributed to the increase ofgender violence and discrimination in all spheres of the society.

Inconclusion, sexism in advertisements has created a culture of maledominance and female submissiveness. Men are given higher priority inthe society and the work place compared to women. Women inadvertisements are objectified, hence creating a culture of sexualviolence where men believe that they can use women as objects ofsexual satisfaction. Women have adopted the culture of submissivenesswhere they have failed to collectively fight against female violenceand advocate for social equality. Use of nude and extra thin women inadvertisements has created a cultural definition of beauty andadvanced male lust on women, further aggravating the social menace ofgender violence.

Codebook

Titleof magazine ___Ebony_ Date ofmagazine __December 2014_

Base= Total number of ads in magazine: 6n_

Page

product

gender

sexualized

objectified

violence

infantilized

silenced

3

cigarette

3

1

2

1

1

4

4

perfume

1

1

1

1

1

1

7

Body lotion

1

1

2

1

1

4

9

Baby soap

3

1

1

1

1

1

11

hotel

N/A

12

Soft drink

1

1

1

1

1

1

References

Bordo,S. (1993). Unbearable weight: Feminism, western culture, and thebody. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Katz,J. (2003). Advertising and the Construction of Violent WhiteMasculinity: From

Eminemto Clinique for Men. Gender,Race and Class in Media: A Text-Reader(349-352). Dines, G. &amp McMahon Humez, J. (Eds.), Thousand Oaks:Sage Publications.

Glick,P. (2013). Gender and work: Challenging conventional wisdom. HavardBusiness School

Kilbourne,J. (2010). Killing us Softly 4 Advertising’s image of women. Film

Lavine,H., Sweeney, D. &amp Wagner, S. (1999). Depicting women as sexobjects in television advertising: Effect on body dissatisfaction.Personalityand Social Psychology Bulleting,25 (8), 1049- 1058