Sex Sells: Sexuality In Advertising. Essay

980 words - 4 pages

Since the inventions of television and radio, audiences have been bombarded with advertisements every seven to ten minutes. These ads did not by any means create stereotypes, but by being created to relate to a wide target audience, they help to perpetuate them. Over centuries our concepts of aesthetic beauty have changed, but only until more recently were they so similar across a wide geographic spread at the same time. Is this coincidence, or has our increased communication ability fostered a more universal ideal? From shampoo to cosmetics to clothing, over the years our sense of style and our sense sexuality have become more closely intertwined.In order to better understand the role of advertisers in defining our notions of beauty and sexuality, it will be necessary to analyze and deconstruct ads that portray products in a sexual manner. An excellent example that everyone should recognize is the "Herbal Essences" shampoo commercial. A gorgeous lady in professional attire is apparently having a long day at work. She sits behind a mahogany desk with a computer in front of her, her hair tied back into a tight bun, hard at work. Suddenly, she drifts into a day dream. She's in the shower, relaxing in the steam, and taking deep breaths of the scent of her shampoo. Lathering her head, she moans with pleasure. "YES!" she cries. Flash back to the office. Her hair is now down well past her shoulders, shining with luxuriant radiance. Three good looking men stand around her desk, and one of them hands her a bottle of Herbal Essences. Then we are informed that this shampoo is scented from all natural botanicals, has been allergy tested, and is safe to use on children.Does this woman truly orgasm from soaping her scalp? Well, probably not. However, to women it may look like a great, sensual way to relax, and I don't need to point out why men might be interested in the ad. Why use such a blatant, ridiculously overt attempt to meld good hair with good sex? Maybeif it's so over the top that it's beyond the scope of reality, suddenly it becomes humorous instead of offensive. When was the last time someone's split ends got in the way of their sexual attractiveness? However, this woman REALLY enjoyed that soap, leading us to believe that while it may not be an aphrodisiac, it probably smells pretty damn good. Make us laugh, make it sexy, and it will probably sell off the shelves.The worst case that I encountered was a radio advertisement that began with women discussing shoe shopping as therapy. Woman number one says that she feels like she can't fit into high heels with straps because she's too big after having children. Woman number two says she feels the same way, but that she's going to do something about it! She's going to the plastic surgeon on Monday for a free consultation. Vazer liposuction, at The Centre, P.C. dissolves fat almost painlessly with...

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