Sexual Objectification Of Women In Advertising

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Women being depicted as passive sexual objects is nothing new in the media or in the patriarchal society we live in but what is, is the shift over the years from women being as passive objects of the male gaze to now sexually agentic in their sexualisation (Halliwell et al., 2011). With the help of the feminist movement, sexism and sexual objectification of women was brought to attention and thus traditional advertisements were heavily critiqued for their sexist and objectifying images of women. Although we still have sexist advertisements that objectify women, most contemporary or post-feminist advertisements now depict women as not only independent and powerful but also encourage women to partake in their own sexualisation in the name of…show more content…
It values sexual attractiveness opposed to the importance of being a movement about the social, political and economic equality of the sexes (Goldman et al., 1991). Entrepreneurs through advertisements have in turn transformed and re-defined feminism into a “symbolic currency” (Goldman et al., 1991). Contemporary advertisements bombard our televisions and billboards still with half-naked women, but half naked women who promote magical lipsticks and high-heels promising to decrease your student loan, equal pay between you and your male colleagues and world peace. They construct a woman who symbolizes independence, ambition and individual freedom by attaching these ideals to the product their selling. “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world”, this quote by Marilyn Monroe is a prime example of commodity feminism, capitalizing on femininity to sell a pair of shoes, depoliticizing the movement by turning feminist social goals into individual lifestyles (Goldman et al., 1991). Stiletto’s have become a marker of an independent, confident, ambitious and sexy young woman. Successfully constructed by advertising, selling these ideals to women that you deserve to be sexy and powerful and to become it, you must wear six inch stilettos that not only will add to your discomfort, but will make your legs look long, sexy and slender. High…show more content…
“Raunch culture” termed by Ariel Levy (Liss et al., 2011) is where young women report enjoying being sexualized and are active in their roles of displaying their bodies for entertainment purposes or to tease men. Some women argue that they enjoy being sexualized as it helps boost their self-esteem and gives them some sort of power from being desired (Malson et al., 2011). I don’t disagree with this as there is empowerment from being sexually desired but this may be a sense of false empowerment as to feel “empowered”, one would have to fit the socially accepted version of an attractive woman which is most always a thin, white and able-bodied, young woman. Contemporary advertisements thus do not differ from the traditional advertisements in that it is still focusing on the appearance of women as their main source of value (Vanderbosch & Eggermont, 2012) and the standard of beauty is so narrowly defined that most women do not fit the criteria of these beauty ideals which can be damaging (Liss et al., 2011). Women whose body types and features you will hardly see featured in magazines will be pressured to conform to these beauty standards, giving women a false sense of empowerment through
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