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Feminism And Reading Advertising Images. Essay

1550 words - 6 pages

These days most young women in western society have grown up with feminism as a part of their lives. Younger women's priorities have changed and they can no longer relate to what they perceive feminism to be. Part of this is the way traditional feminists handle supposedly sexist or offensive images, particularly in advertising. Young women may now see this as over-reacting or unnecessary and prefer to express feminist ideas in alternative ways even if they do not realise that they are practicing feminism (Stewart, 2001; Bail, 1996;4). One way, in relation to advertising, is to learn a new way of reading images - a way that will empower women and men rather than stress women as a lesser sex. Feminist views can be so entrenched however that a new feminism, that will attract younger members, "needs to recognise, develop and enhance women's abilities to negotiate images"(Lumby, 1997;25)One of the most controversial advertisements recently has been selling Chivas Regal Scotch Whisky (see appendix 1). It gained widespread notoriety through media coverage and apparent public outcry. The image consisted of a young woman wearing a mini skirt getting out of a car. Her legs are bare and some cleavage is showing. Her head is out of the shot. The accompanying caption reads "Yes, God is a man" (NWMC, 1996). It is blatantly sexual advertisement. Feminists contend that they should show more 'realistic' women. They should show a more diverse range but bare legs and this type of clothing on women is a common sight. Censoring these kinds of images does not help women to use their minds to negotiate meaning but reinforces the idea that we need protecting. A lot of women these days realise that this is not their bodies and are learning that they don't want to be like that. If women really object to an advertisement they have the power not to spend their money on the product. We should reinforce ideas that they should not be taken in by such images and to value themselves (Stewart, 2001). Traditional feminisms can take things too seriously at times when it is not always necessary. The caption is meant to be either 'tongue-in-cheek' or a publicity stunt for people to react to (ASB, 2000;9; Hornery, 2000). If you look closely at the image you can see it is an American advertisement and that the woman is getting out of the driver's side so at least she is not a passenger and has control, the means to have her own car and is going somewhere. A great example of women being able to adapt these images to their own needs, which a lot of traditional feminist theory does not give them credit for is graffiti that appeared on one of the ads. It replied to the statement that 'Yes, God is a man' with "No, God is a Lesbian' (Hornery, 2000).A problem which makes feminism unattractive to younger women is, not the old rhetoric, but the way in which its arguments and outrages are repeated unquestioningly as 'truths' (Lumby, 1997;11). A FIORELLI (see appendix 2) advertisement was accused...

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