Advertising is a form of marketing that aims to attract consumers and consequently increase sales. Different channels of advertising such as television, the internet, and magazines have different ways of attracting customers. Representations of the human body in magazines are unique and different compared to other advertising channels.
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Images used depict different stereotypical gender roles that create certain images in the minds of consumers, and pass certain messages. The representation of both the male and female body aims to teach consumers certain social cues, which have great impact on them. Representation of both genders applies differently in advertising. Representation of the genders largely depends on the society’s definition of femininity and masculinity.
The male body
In many advertisements, representation of men applies in many ways. They apply as physically active, serious, alert, energetic, and conscious to the surroundings. Nudity applies in small scale to depict the strength and valor that masculinity represents. As such, masculine bodies are represented in ways that show their strength, bravery, and valor.
In cases where nudity is used, male bodies with huge muscles and protruding bodily veins are used. Masculine bodies experience full control in advertisements. Images depict men standing upright, hands in pockets, gripping objects tightly with their strong hands, and with eyes open looking attentively. These postures depict seriousness and power. In cases where the male and female bodies appear on the same advertisement, the man is always standing while the women is always sitting or lying on a bed.
This shows the submissive nature of women and the dominating nature of men. The masculine body in advertisements passes the message that men can be all they wish to be. In addition, they encourage men to be tough and brave as that is what defines masculinity. Nudity applies to reveal the strong nature of male bodies. Images used show strong hands and shoulders, strong muscles, and protruding veins on hands.
Image1: Strong hands and muscles (Man is superior and woman is inferior)
The female body
Representation of the female body is achieved through nudity. The female body applies as the ultimate representation of beauty and vulnerability. It comes across as sexy, seductive, vulnerable, and playful. Nudity is mainly encouraged in representation of female bodies in order to reveal their sexiness. Several body positions apply to depict their powerlessness, sexiness, and submissiveness.
For example, their often representation while sitting on the floor, caressing certain objectives seductively, and playing with objects with their eyes closed. Another representation involves women sitting on beds or chairs looking confused. The female body is controlled by social norms and perceptions that people harbor. In many advertisements, women are depicted as weak and inferior to men. In contrast, men are mostly shown grasping objects while looking serious to show that they are always in control of their lives.
The feminine body is represented as an object of sexual appeal. This applies through nudity. Many advertisements accentuate the curves and certain feminine features through nudity. This is encouraged and widely used within consumer culture. The female body is viewed as a source of pleasure for consumers. In order to create and depict perfection, many images are manipulated using highly advanced technologies such as Photoshop.
Image 3: vulnerable, nude, and seductive
Image 4: touching herself, and seductive
In Killing Us Softly 4, there is a lot of gender stereotyping. Even though it passes intended messages, it depicts women in negative light. Women are not objects of sex appeal and pleasure as depicted.
Advertisements apply to attract consumers through different representations of masculine and feminine bodies. The male body is represented as strong, powerful, and dominant. In contrast, the female body is represented as sexy, seductive, vulnerable, weak, and an object of pleasure. Advertisements pass different messages depending on the mental images that advertisers wish to create in the minds of consumers.