Advertising Bigotry: The Foundation Essay

941 words - 4 pages

In the past, the ideals of American society incorporated numerous stereotypes that even today cause detrimental effects within our infrastructure. The lasting belief of women and African Americans’ inferiority and its harrowing portrayal in advertisements originates from the very distant past. Seemingly from the beginning of time, women all over the world were viewed as lesser individuals therefore they received lesser roles in their society. Since the 18th century, when America first began colonization, women were expected to accomplish subsidiary household management tasks, such as cooking, sewing, and other domestic chores. From the 18th century to the Women’s Rights Movement in the mid-19th century, the roles of women faced meager advancement only strengthening the subservience of women in our society’s ideologies. As women’s inferiority became a part of America’s philosophical framework, the belief of the lowliness of African Americans surfaced and fused with our society’s ideals as well. For over 150 years, our culture wholeheartedly supported the atrocious treatment of African Americans and defended the harrowing subsidiary views of this specific race. From enslavement to outright discrimination, the African American race has been regularly subjected to devastating stereotyping since the 18th century. The traumatic stereotypes that were prevalent centuries ago are still predominant in today’s society and are exemplified in advertisements nationwide. Why do these companies continue to portray these stereotypes despite the fact that they no longer reflect the American public? While the gender and racial stereotypes in advertisements are a derivative of American society’s past discriminatory views, the continuance of the detrimental portrayal of women and African Americans originates from the stereotypical attitudes and inferior treatment that still exists in our culture. Advertising agencies also play an important role. In their search for novelty and flamboyancy to market their products, they produce more evident and darker portrayals of women and African Americans. The majority of advertising agencies tend to have a misrepresentation of minorities in the workplace influencing how their employees view certain races.
In today’s advertisements, sexist and racist innuendos drip from every facet. From the clothing to the setting of the piece, women and African Americans are faced with degradation of their roles in American society. Individuals still affix women to the roles of housewife, mother or just a sexualized object, permitting advertising agencies to project these defaming perspectives to the world. For example, when a group of jurors who rank advertisements witness sexist ads, the majority of these individuals believe the pieces are “atrocious” (White). Of those who did not “think [the ads were] abusing or misusing women,” the individuals were at least aware of the gender stereotypes in the portrayal of these women (White). One juror...

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