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The commercial advertising lingerie by the Hope designer company sparked controversy when they showed an advertisement on TV. The advertisement featured Brazilian super model Gisele Bundchen. In the advertisement, the supermodel is shown trying to break bad news to her husband.
She tries breaking the news fully dressed then undresses down to her lingerie. The message in the advertisement simply showed that women are able to control men by using their bodies in a certain way. The advertisement was thought to be offensive and sexist because it degraded women to be perceived as mere sex objects (Porthilo-Shrimpton, September 30th 2011).
In another advertisement, for the Toyota Yaris online promotion sparked yet another controversy in their forms of advertising. They used online advertising to promote a car that was to be sold mainly to women. They came up with a competition where there would be an award winning short film that promoted this particular car.
The winning film titled, “clean getaways”, contained phrases such as: “I’m coming”, “She can take a good pounding in any direction”, and “I’m ready to blow”. The advertisement is based on a conversation between a young man and a father talking about a date with the young daughter (Too Rude? Toyota Yaris ad).
Notions of gender
Stereotypical notions of gender have been presented in advertisements, magazines and other forms of media. Stereotypes, especially gender stereotypes, generally change to suit the society’s cultural values at a given time. The traditional stereotype of women being secretaries, housewives, has over time been replaced by the aggressive career woman who is independent and focused. Similarly, a more sensitive, male stereotype has replaced the traditionally macho, dominant stereotype of the past.
Gender here has been clearly stereotyped in the advertisements. Women have been regarded to only serve as objects of sexual desire where they use their bodies to manipulate men. The lingerie advertisement shows that a fully dressed woman cannot talk to her husband without getting him angry over something wrong that she did.
This advertisement sends the message that women can get away with anything as long as they say it when they are wearing tiny lingerie. Men, on the other hand are portrayed as being easily manipulated by their wives. They are simply creatures who cannot be assertive on their own and can be easily swayed from one thought to another by their lingerie-wearing wives.
In the other Toyota advertisement, women have been portrayed as mere sexual objects that can be manipulated by men. This is extremely visible in the conversation that the young man has with his date’s father. The suggestive tones that they use and the words used imply that the daughter is a sexual object.
The materials collected portray women as people who use their bodies to get anything that they want. This reinforces the sexist belief that women are by far less intelligent and more incompetent than men. Men are believed to be smarter and more aggressive at their jobs and are able to get promotions in their jobs as well as higher salaries. Women on the other hand are believed to have beauty as their only asset. They have to use it in order to get what they want.
The advertisements also have a tendency to be sexual. They create their advertisements on the notion that sex sells. Most of these advertisements show men as being fully clothed while the women are half naked.
Nudity is a way of attracting consumers to their products. Some countries such as Brazil have banned some of these sexist advertisements on the basis that it degrades women and teaches them that they can use their bodies to get what they want. However, these advertisements receive as much negative comments as they do positive ones.
Reinforcement of gender roles
Gender roles have been reinforced by using extreme nudity or overly sexual messages. Sexist advertising shows that the society believes that it is a legitimate form of commercial advertising.
This portrays the society as one which is laden with masculine values. This kind of advertising comes in all forms such as using female nudity and sexuality to sell completely unrelated products. Sexualisation of women’s bodies is believed to have its roots in a patriarchal society. Sexism has been accepted as a virtue such that it is allowed even in advertisements and commercials.
The bigger picture
As a result of this, there exists an unrealistic expectation of women’s bodies. Body image problems, sexual and domestic violence have been accepted as the norm in our societies today. The fact that sexist advertising has become a normal thing is something that should be a major concern in our society. Advertising is simply a form of propaganda. In any case it is a form of communication from the producers of products to the direct consumers of these products.
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An advertisement seeks to convince the consumer of a particular product, to consume the product of a particular company or seek the services of that company. Any images or symbols used in advertising are chosen for a particular reason.
Similarly, we found ourselves drawn to products by companies that believe it is okay to use women’s bodies in a sexual way to make their brands more attractive and useable. Men identify to these kinds of products and brands and buy them in huge stocks. The sexist propaganda in these advertisements is echoed in the perceptions men have about women.
The men already have an image of how an image of a woman should be thanks to these advertisements. Women hardly ever notice that their sexual appeal is being exploited by these advertising companies in a bid to sell their products to the consumer market. Each day we come across adverts that are sexual in nature.
Personal response to material gathered
The producers of the material obviously had no intention of producing offensive content and airing it to their consumers. They were just going along with the general trend of sexuality in our societies. Objectifying women has been so normal in our day to day advertisements that no one ever notices anything wrong with it.
General thoughts of the images
Advertising can be done in a way that isn’t sexual. Nudity doesn’t have to be the main attractive feature in every form of advertising. Nudity indeed has been used to sell the company’s products but at the expense of women’s pride and dignity. Men on the other hand have also been portrayed as “cavemen” who cannot control their own sexual desires and would gladly yield to the wishes of a woman once she undresses. Hopefully overtime, this kind of thinking will change for the better.
Porthilo-Shrimpton, Thais. Gisele’s Sexist Lingerie Ads are No Laughing Matter in Brazil. September 30th, 2011. <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/30/gisele-bundchen-sexist-lingerie-ads-brazil>n.p.
Too rude? Toyota Yaris ad. n.d Web.