Length: 1397 words (4 double-spaced pages)
Is the media responsible for the degrading of women? It is a question that has crossed many people’s minds. Psychologists have conducted many studies and surveys have been done to find the answer. The media has found that advertisements have the ability to be seen and maybe not processed, right away, but they can stick to people’s sub-consciousness, the media counts on this. It may not seem like a bad thing but after seeing something over and over again, people tend to just start to believe it without thinking. The media has found that by using advertisements, movies, and music videos they can influence how people view women. The media uses a variety of advertisements, movies, and music videos, to portray how women are viewed, how they view themselves, and turning women into sex objects.
The media uses a variety of ads to portray how women are viewed. The media play’s on people’s sub-conscious mind by using advertisements in a certain way. When people look at an ad, they may not see what the underlining idea is right away. The best ads are the ones that make you think, the advertisers count on people remembering their ad in the future because of some triggering a memory of the ad. The media does not portray women like they did in the old days. Before women were portrayed in, a loving way and they were commended on their intelligence rather than their looks. But now when women are portrayed in advertisements they are sexualized, their looks are the main focus of the ad. An example of this is an ad for jeans. The ad portrays a young woman backed in the corner of an elevator; her eyes are down casted she is wearing a shirt that does not even cover her midriff. She looks like she is wearing a pair of jean shorts but you can’t tell because of the camera angle. The caption says “PUSH MY BUTTONS I’m looking for a man who can totally floor me, who won’t stop till the top. YOU MUST live in SYN” (Kilbourne 461). This ad is for jeans but when glancing at the ad there is nothing telling you that, it’s an ad for jeans. This ad may seem harmless but it isn’t.
The ad really is portraying that young girls are easy and are ready for a man anytime and anywhere hence the environment of the elevator. Violence has also become a big part in the advertisement of women. Bitch skateboards have an ad with a silhouette of a man holding a gun to the silhouette of a woman with the word “bitch” across the top. Now who is it that buys skateboards, mostly young males, and males have more aggressive traits than females do. So what does this tell young men about treatment of women? It does not seem like ads such as these are going to help with the portrayal of women. These are just a couple examples of how the media portrays women. Not only does the media’s portrayal of women in a certain way but also in the way they affect women’s self-concept.
The media not only portrays women in a certain light to men but also plays on women’s sub-consciousness on how they should view themselves. People are exposed to more than 3,000 advertisements every day. Advertisements are used to fill a void by making people feel that if they do not have the products that are for sale then they will not be happy and this is another tactic that companies count on. Magazines continually have articles telling women that they can lose weight in 10 days but at the same time, they will run a recipe for some fatting desert, this is counterproductive to women’s self-concept. First, they’ll say here’s how you diet but at the same time, they tell you to try a double chocolate fudge mud pie. The advertisement market is very tricky and they are becoming more and more subversive and sneaky in how they get their message across. In Kate Moss’s modeling career, she was frequently used by Calvin Klein because he chooses to portray his clothing by modals that are skin and bones. Jean Kilbourne uses an example of Kate Moss’s Calvin Klein ad where she is laying naked on a couch, she has hollow checks; her butt is in the air, in the top right corner the word, OBSESSION for men is written (Kilbourne 469). There is no indication what the ad is for it is basically just a pornographic advertisement. When women are depicted in this manner, it not only diminishes the image of women but it also goes back to the first point and that is the way women are seen. By the way, women are portrayed in the media it really has started to affect the way women feel about themselves. Not only does the media play a role in how women are viewed and the way they view themselves but the media is also starting to turn women into sex objects.
Media has turned women into sex objects. Advertisements have started to not only degrade women but now they are viewed as sex objects. A city bus used a naked woman to sell watches. Kilbourne uses an advertisement for Cigarette boats, in one ad a woman is laying in a man’s arms obviously right after sex. She then turns to him and says “does this mean I get a ride in your Cigarette?” (Kilbourne 456). How can people read that ad and not see that if a woman offers herself up for sex that she can get something out of it or as a woman, she has to give her body to sex as if she was a prostitute. In the music industry, they are just as bad as the media. Music now does not refer to women’s beauty as intelligence how good of a mother or a wife they are but how big their breasts and butt is. Pussycat Dolls song, Buttons is another example of how women are even degrading themselves as sex objects. The line “baby can’t you see? How these clothes are fitting me? And the heat coming from this beat I’m about to blow” (Pussycat Dolls). This is signaling to guys is that they have to look at is the outside appearance of women, not the inside. The reference on the heat of the beat making them blow how implies that girls are easily. These are just a few ways that media and music industry portrays women as sex objects.
The media uses advertisements to influence the way women are viewed. Ads are used to play on people sub-conscious in unknown ways, not always in a good way; usually it is in a bad way. The media not only influences how to view women but how they view themselves. Ad’s that tell women that they are not thin enough, not pretty enough, they are always challenged that they are never good enough and they can always be better. Not only is the media playing a part in the objectification of women but so does the music industry. Ad’s and lyrics are a big part in the way that women have turned into sex objects. Some people may say that people are reading too much into the ads and that they are just ads and that all ads are designed to be catchy. True but at the same time the current generation needs to be educated to critically think. As it stands now kids are growing up and watching and seeing these types of advertisements and are just mimicking what they see. They may think that it’s ok to put a gun to a woman’s head, or that a woman in an elevator is an easy target. Or that the way you pick a girl is by the size of her breasts or butt. Ads are just ads but something has to be done to change the way women are viewed, view themselves, and the sexual objectification. This maybe can be done by censoring the ad’s that are released or maybe just better education to the public about what this is doing to our culture.