Sexism and the Media
There are numerous examples of sexism in advertising: from Britney Spearsâ€™ advertisements for her perfume Curious, in which she strips down to her underwear for the camera, to Victoriaâ€™s Secretâ€™s models like Chrissy Teigen undergoing both plastic surgery and photoshopping (because stripping down to her underwear doesnâ€™t do enough to convey the right body image) for the companyâ€™s lingerie ads, women are routinely objectified for the â€œmale gaze,â€ as Laura Mulvey put it (Turow, 2009, p. 195). While sexism can take many formsâ€”such as the stereotype of women as homemakers ever ready to please their husbands that was promoted in mid-20th century advertisementsâ€”in advertising today, sexism is most readily displayed by way of objectification, as seen in Go Daddy ads, Victoriaâ€™s Secrtet ads, beer commercials, and so on, where womenâ€™s bodies are like commodities.
Feminism challenged the notion of this objectification of women for a time, but in the post-feminist culture of today, sex has bombarded media and women appear more objectified than everâ€”and willingly so. Women in the media appear to celebrate their sexuality in a way that would have been frowned upon in the Feminist era as a kowtowing to sexism by men (i.e., women acting like nothing more than eye candy for the male gaze). However, as Rosalind Gill (2015) points out, the concept of sex has shifted in the post-feminist era. Likewise, in her essay on empowerment and sexism, Gill (2008) argues that rather than women feeling ashamed of subjecting themselves to the male gaze, they seek to use their sexuality to dominate in todayâ€™s culture. Gill asserts that what defines the post-feminist model is the shift from objectification to subjectification (in other words, the woman is not thought of as the object of the male gaze but rather the male has become the subject of the femaleâ€™s desire to dominate sexually): â€œtoday women are presented as active, desiring sexual subjects who choose to present themselves in a seemingly objectified manner because it suits their (implicitly â€˜liberatedâ€™) interests to do soâ€ (Gill, 2008, p. 45). This paper will view how sex is used in advertising to show why this type of media is inherently sexist in spite of the post-feminist perspective that appears to justify or validate sexually explicit use of the female form to sell product in todayâ€™s culture.
Advertising today projects and perpetuates a false set of values with respect to women, femininity, and womanhood, as Kilbourne (2010) shows in Killing Us Softly 4. Advertisers use tricks, like camera framing, lighting, make up, costuming, post-production cleanup (editing), and photo-shopping to make women appear in an idealized form that will appeal to both men and women. The Victoriaâ€™s Secret ad that ran during the Super Bowl, in which Adrianna Lima twirls a football between her legs in order to get viewers to want to buy the companyâ€™s lingerie, uses all the tricks of marketing to give men and women the idea that owning this brand of underwear will make one into a kind of sexualized goddess. Likewise, in many ads there on television, women are depicted as controlling and jealous for comedic effect while men are shown having to put up with all the foibles of the female sex for laughs. Women are either portrayed as sexualized images or as burdens that are tolerated for some reason by the superior male sex. Budweiser, Geico, State Farm, Doritos, Go Daddy, and many other companies have used women in these ways to sell their products. While women have always seemed to be the brunt of male jokes in advertising (the old Schlitz beer ads show a woman burning dinner at the stove and the husband saying joking, â€œDonâ€™t worry, darling! You didnâ€™t burn the beer!â€), todayâ€™s ads have turned more and more towards sexualizing women to an unrealistic degree.
Feona Attwood (2014) explains the new perspective on female sexuality in the media by saying, â€œWhere once sexualized representations of women in the media presented them as the passive, mute objects of an assumed male gaze, today women are presented as active, desiring sexual subjects who choose to present themselves in a seemingly objectified manner because it suits their liberated interests to do soâ€ (p. 100). In other words, women have become complicit in the crime of sexism and in their own exploitation. Post-feminist theory argues that women are not applying their sexuality to the trade of commerce in order to line the pockets of advertisers, but rather they are doing it to line their own pocketsâ€”and essentially they are saying that if you cannot beat them (and the Feminists have certainly tried for decades to do so) then join them. The post-feminist culture celebrates when females show their forms and call it empoweringâ€”though nothing has really changed in the equation other than that these women are supposedly being well-compensated for their complicity while being praised for their liberation. One must wonder, however, exactly what they have been liberated from: they are still subjecting themselves to the male gaze (even if they are acting like that it is a game they are playing in order to dominate sexually). They are still defining themselves as objects of lust (even if their aim is to use lust as a form of control). They are still putting themselves into the hands of advertisers who have known since the time of Bernays in the first half of the 20th century how to use female sexuality as a means to manipulate the consuming consciousness. Sex sells even still today just as it did a century ago. The fact that women now view the selling of their sex as empowering (whereas they used to view it as exploitative) just because now they want to do it and they want to do it precisely for control does not really justify it in the least if one is going to judge the matter from any traditional standpoint or even from a feminist standpoint. Only from the perspective of post-feminism does this type of behavior because laudatory and only then because the moral justification for it is based solely on the notion that whatever the woman wants is good, because her will is what matters most. If she wills herself to be a tool for advertising, that is her right and she should feel empowered to do so: such is the essence of post-feminism.
Post-feminism is embraced in todayâ€™s culture because the culture itself has changed. Sexual liberation has not led to the type of empowerment predicted by feminists like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan but rather to a harem type of culture in which the women in the harem of the male-dominated advertising industry are put on pedestals and praised for their example in order to mitigate any sense of guilt of conscientiousness about how they are still really just subjecting themselves to the male gaze. Erving Goffman (1979) states that â€œposing for an ad almost invariably involves a carryover of sexâ€ (p. 26), so it cannot be argued that women in advertising are simply expressing a form of gender equality (if men can flaunt their forms on beaches, then so too can womenâ€”so goes the idea); rather, women are deliberately attenuating their sense of the differences between male and female sexuality in an effort to politicize sexuality from the egalitarian perspective. As men and women attempt to shift the values of culture away from the patriarchal order, they argue that women are no longer the subjects of the male gaze because the patriarchs are not in control (Turow, 2009)â€”but this is simply not true. At the end of the day, the patriarchal order is still firmly in place, the patriarchs cut the checks, and the use of female sexuality to sell magazines, ad space, to generate clicks, and so on, is still widely used.
Gill attempts to answer whether sexual agency can ever be used as a tool of empowerment for womenâ€”and indeed this was one of the premises of feminism in the early days: women could demonstrate their independence through their own sexual agency. However, in the advertising world, there is no real independence occurring: women are still selling or contracting out their sexual agency for monetary gain. What fuels the transaction is the underlying sexism of society. Post-feminist theory posits that this is not sexism per se but rather women using technology and consumerism as a launch pad for their own benefit: they apply their sexuality in a system that allows them to use what they have in order to better their position economically; such is the argument of Evans and Riley (2015) in Technologies of Sexiness: Sex, Identity, and Consumer Culture: postfeminism, they say, â€œrefutes feminism itself as a spent force, relegated to history and a time of structural inequality when women were not able to make claim to the kinds of consumer citizenship to which they are currently entitledâ€ (p. 16). Thus, by abolishing the theoretical principles that supported feminism, post-feminist culture validates its complicit attitude in embracing the sexist structure of advertising by calling it liberating and good for women economically. Evans and Riley (2015) assert that this sentiment can be understand â€œas a fusion between neoliberal subjectivity and a feminist politics reimagined through the logic of consumerismâ€ (p. 16), but that does not change the objective fact that women are still subjecting themselves to the male gaze and that they are simply taking advantage of a system all too willing to shower them with dollars and praise if they will just take off their clothes, enjoy it, and allow business to flourish without objecting using any old-fashioned, prudish, or out-dated concepts to condemn the advertising industry as sexist or as offensive. By convincing women that it is in their best interests to participate in the consumer culture by selling their sexuality to the advertising industry, the advertising industry provides women with a false sense of liberation. It is false because women are still dependent upon the industry and its cash for their liberation. They are not liberating themselves or becoming independent on their own. Rather, they are engaging in precisely the type of behavior that Bernays recognized long ago would bring in the revenues for businesses. It is just as exploitative today as it was thenâ€”the only difference is that a veneer or gloss of respectability has been given it by post-feminists who view this type of behavior as good for women. The concept of what is â€œgood for womenâ€ is what has changed for them.
Kilbourne (2010) shows why this concept of â€œgoodâ€ needs to be reassessed: her documentary Killing Us Softly 4 reveals the ways in which advertising presents a false, distorted and destructive image of femininity, sexuality, and womanhood. Women allow themselves to be presented in ways that are not actually true to reality: they are participating in a male-driven fantasy that thrives on lust, and they are doing it because they are pridefully self-deluded into thinking that this type of complicity somehow makes them strong, independently-minded, and honorable. The reality is that the projections of female beauty within the advertising industry lead women to develop insecurities, phobias, eating disorders, body image complexesâ€”and the compulsion of course to buy the products that are being advertised as the tools that will make them beautiful like the women depicted in the advertising (though these models are invariably touched up in post-productionâ€”meaning their representations are further falsified through airbrushing in addition to the cosmetic surgery they undergo in real life to enhance what nature has given them). As Mary Celeste Kearney (2010) points out, â€œmedia are sites of considerable ideological negotiation and contestation, that is, sites of struggle over meaning and valuesâ€ (p. 3). The values that are perpetuated within advertisingâ€”images of women as near-emaciated models projecting sexual dominance over men by way of expertly applied makeovers, expensive dresses and jewelry, perfect costuming and perfectly situated lighting, and amplified ambiance all of which casts them in an idealized glowâ€”are values that do not reflect that real values that women have to offer in society. That is why advertising media are still inherently sexist: they promote a false depiction of why women should be valuedâ€”and what is worse, as Kilbourne shows, they have a detrimental effect on the female psychologyâ€”inducing millions of young women to want to rush off to the stores to buy the consumer products that advertisers have convinced them will make them beautiful and have value.
In conclusion, advertising is sexistâ€”and that can be seen simply by looking at the representation of women in the medium. They are depicted unrealistically and used to generate profits for companies that want to sell their products to insecure and impressionable men and women, boys and girls. In todayâ€™s post-feminist culture, this sexism is celebrated as liberating for women, but the reality is that it is enslaving and perpetuates a false concept of what real femininity and even real masculinity should be. Todayâ€™s post-feminists promote a new concept of these characteristicsâ€”and that is why todayâ€™s advertisers get away with hawking their products through sexist and exploitative ads.
Attwood, F. (2014). Mainstreaming sex: The sexualization of western culture. IB Tauris.
Evans, A., & Riley, S. (2015). Technologies of sexiness: Sex, identity, and consumer
culture. Sexuality, Identity, and Society. UK: Oxford University Press.
Gill, R. (2008). Empowerment/sexism: Figuring female sexual agency in contemporary
advertising. Feminism & Psychology, 18(1), 35-60.
Gill, R. (2015). Gender and the media. John Wiley & Sons.
Goffman, E. (1979). Gender advertisements. NY: Harper & Row.
Kearney, M. C. (Ed.). (2012). The gender and media reader. NY: Routledge.
Kilbourne, J. (2010). Killing Us Softly 4. Cambridge Documentary.
Turow, J. (2009). The advertising and consumer culture reader. NY: Routledge.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY!!!
We provide professional writing services to help you score straight A’s by submitting custom written assignments that mirror your guidelines.
Get result-oriented writing and never worry about grades anymore. We follow the highest quality standards to make sure that you get perfect assignments.
Our writers have experience in dealing with papers of every educational level. You can surely rely on the expertise of our qualified professionals.
Your deadline is our threshold for success and we take it very seriously. We make sure you receive your papers before your predefined time.
Someone from our customer support team is always here to respond to your questions. So, hit us up if you have got any ambiguity or concern.
Sit back and relax while we help you out with writing your papers. We have an ultimate policy for keeping your personal and order-related details a secret.
We assure you that your document will be thoroughly checked for plagiarism and grammatical errors as we use highly authentic and licit sources.
Still reluctant about placing an order? Our 100% Moneyback Guarantee backs you up on rare occasions where you aren’t satisfied with the writing.
You don’t have to wait for an update for hours; you can track the progress of your order any time you want. We share the status after each step.
Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.
Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.
From brainstorming your paper's outline to perfecting its grammar, we perform every step carefully to make your paper worthy of A grade.
Hire your preferred writer anytime. Simply specify if you want your preferred expert to write your paper and we’ll make that happen.
Get an elaborate and authentic grammar check report with your work to have the grammar goodness sealed in your document.
You can purchase this feature if you want our writers to sum up your paper in the form of a concise and well-articulated summary.
You don’t have to worry about plagiarism anymore. Get a plagiarism report to certify the uniqueness of your work.
Join us for the best experience while seeking writing assistance in your college life. A good grade is all you need to boost up your academic excellence and we are all about it.
We create perfect papers according to the guidelines.
We seamlessly edit out errors from your papers.
We thoroughly read your final draft to identify errors.
Work with ultimate peace of mind because we ensure that your academic work is our responsibility and your grades are a top concern for us!
Dedication. Quality. Commitment. Punctuality
Here is what we have achieved so far. These numbers are evidence that we go the extra mile to make your college journey successful.
We have the most intuitive and minimalistic process so that you can easily place an order. Just follow a few steps to unlock success.
We understand your guidelines first before delivering any writing service. You can discuss your writing needs and we will have them evaluated by our dedicated team.
We write your papers in a standardized way. We complete your work in such a way that it turns out to be a perfect description of your guidelines.
We promise you excellent grades and academic excellence that you always longed for. Our writers stay in touch with you via email.