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Sex Sells: The Art Of Advertising

977 words - 4 pages

It is an expression that everyone knows and has heard countless times—sex sells—and the fact of the matter is, in our society it does. Unfortunately for women in this country, as well as around the world, many of the sexy images we see in magazines and on television are negative portrayals of women—women as vulnerable, women as submissive, and women as simply sex objects for men to play with. A nation that defines women in this way does not truly view females as equals to males, and as women’s self-esteem lowers from the images we see in advertisements, it makes it harder and harder to gain the confidence to fight back and insist for equality.Women’s bodies have been used for years in advertising to market items. As the years have progressed, the use has been more and more demeaning and in recent years, bordered almost on the pornographic. Amazingly, this sells not only to men, but also quite well to women. How it works for men is quite simple to puzzle out; Men associate the item with the sexy female that they see and they purchase the item because they like the woman, not because they care about the item. Women are also convinced to purchase items they don’t really need or want because of this type of advertising. The reason for this is somewhat more complex than simply liking the look of the women being displayed. These ads give women unrealistic ideas about the way their bodies should look. Then advertisers imply that by purchasing their products can “correct practically any defect, real or imagined” (Jacobsen). To further aggravate the situation, the feminine magazines that young girls flock to in hordes don’t help the situation. Instead of informing young women that this kind of advertising is wrong, they are full of it from beginning to end.Of course, advertising has not been the first to display women as ornaments, but “advertising has joined forces with sexism to make images of the beauty ideal more pervasive, and more unattainable, than ever before” (Jacobsen). It is distressing when I hear my fifteen-year-old, one-hundred pound sister complain that she is fat because she is wearing a size three, instead of a double zero like all the models in her magazine. It also quite upsetting that when I casually asked my close female friends if they would rather be known as pretty, smart, nice, or funny and all but one of them told me that they would want to be called pretty above everything else. Why do most females consider beauty to be the most important aspect of their lives?Women who are exposed to sexist advertising tend to feel that their bodies are larger and to believe that their ideal body size is smaller than it actually should be, whereas women exposed to non-sexist advertising are not nearly as likely to feel this way about their bodies...

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