Sexism in Advertising – Essay Sample

In: Business and Management

Submitted By larryheart
Words 1007
Pages 5
The video “Killing Us Softly 31″ contains many important statements regarding advertising and women’s body image. One of them that stood out to me in particular was the message that advertisements both trivialize and romanticize violence against women. Kilbourne also suggests that advertising is America’s pornography; sex is used to sell everything. She also believes that our culture’s qualities are consistently divided into masculine and feminine, with feminine qualities being devalued or de-humanized. Advertising tells us who we are and who we should be, and what is most important about women is how we look. Given this state of affairs, failure is inevitable because we all have flaws. Beauty is equated with being powerful, but that power is short-lived because we all change as we age.

The connection between advertising and women’s body image is that advertising presents powerful messages to women, beginning when young girls reach puberty and are taught through commercials that, as one ad said, “the more you subtract, the more you add.” The covert message in that statement is that the more weight one loses, the more one gains in prestige. In other words, also, the less noise one makes, the better it is, ultimately. Advertising communicates to women that they should be passive, as indicated by the many advertisements that were shown in the video where women’s hands were literally covering their mouths, with captions suggesting that the less the women say, the more desirable they are to men. Regarding that last statement, advertisements also suggests that the most desirable outcome for any woman is being associated with a man. Women are objectified, often appearing in the ads either faceless, shown only using certain body parts with no face, or showing women from the neck down, only a body with no identity.

Kilbourne suggests that men and women inhabit very…...

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