Females In Advertising Essay

1008 words - 4 pages

An issue that has consistently been the concern of feminine activists is how women are portrayed in our culture at large and in the media. Many more females are criticizing the monolithic, racist, often unattainable standard of beauty forced into the nation's consciousness through books, magazines, television, and other artifacts of popular culture.In "Beauty"¦and the Beast of Advertising", Jean Kilbourne emphasizes the negative role that American advertising has had in epitomizing gender stereotypes. Kilbourne holds responsible America's mass media for creating "an ideal and impossible standard" of female beauty (195). Most Americans are subjected to thousands of advertisements each day, and many of these Americans are young girls who are becoming more susceptible to the created image of the female role that advertising giants strive to invent.Kilbourne states that the hackneyed image of the female is portrayed in one of two fashions: a housewife or a sex object (195). The typical housewife is often seen as one who is captivated by the latest cleaning products and whose only problem is trying to keep the furniture dusted and the windows clean, lacking intelligence in a man's world. The female image is also portrayed as a sex object, and Kilbourne argues that popular culture depicts women where "conventional beauty is their only attribute" (195). According to Kilbourne, women can never achieve the depicted image of the female as seen in ads. The images that one sees in advertisements are "artificial and can only be achieved artificially" (Kilbourne 195). Women are thus left feeling unsatisfied with themselves and their body image and are continually exteriorized by others and then by their own selves. According to Kilbourne, women are also "dismembered" in advertisements (196). Certain parts of a woman's body are put on showcase and displayed to perfection, leaving most women with a feeling of inadequacy.Kilbourne also points out the "disparagement of maturity" (196), which is the double task of possessing the innocence of a girl and the maturity of a woman. This idea illustrated by the media is often frustrating to many women. Kilbourne also recognizes that a "new woman" is emerging in advertising today "" a woman that can manage to balance all of the responsibilities of a family and job (196). Of course, this balance does not come without the help of a product.At the end of the essay, Kilbourne warns of the destruction to self-image that the eradication of women in the media may cause. Kilbourne claims that "by remaining unaware of the profound seriousness of the ubiquitous influence"¦we ignore on of the most powerful "˜educational' forces in the culture-"¦and effectively destroys any awareness and action that might help to change that climate" (196).Women are consistently seen as sex objects in today's mass media culture. Very rarely does a consumer see a "normal" woman model for such companies as Victoria Secret or...

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