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The portrayal of women and the impact it has on society

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How advertising industries portray women, and the repercussion this has to our population. …

How advertising industries portray women, and the repercussion this has to our population.
Analysis on the effect of this sort of social annihilation and established aesthetic canons.

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  • 1. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch The  Portrayal  Of  Women  And  The  Impact  It  Has  On  Society   Elena  Duch  Balust   IE  University,  Bachelor  in  Communication       1
  • 2. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch   INDEX     THE  PORTRAYAL  OF  WOMEN  AND  THE  IMPACT  IT  HAS  ON  SOCIETY  ..............................  3   INTRODUCTION  ................................................................................................................  3   IMPORTANCE  ON  IMAGE  REPRESENTATION  ....................................................................  5   CULTURAL  STUDIES  THEORY  ............................................................................................  6   POLITICAL  ECONOMY  THEORY  .........................................................................................  6   THE  PORTRAYAL  OF  WOMEN  ON  ADVERTS  .....................................................................  7   ARE  WE  AWARE  OF  THIS?  ..............................................................................................  11   WHAT   INDUCES   ADVERTISING   COMPANIES   INTO   PORTRAYING   WOMEN   IN   SUCH   A   WAY?  ..............................................................................................................................  12   THE  PERCEPTION  OF  WOMEN  DUE  TO  THEIR  PORTRAYAL  ON  ADVERTS    &  THE  IMPACT   ON  SOCIETY  ....................................................................................................................  13   CONSEQUENCES  .............................................................................................................  15   DEFYING  THESE  CONVENTIONS  .....................................................................................  16   CONCLUSION  ..................................................................................................................  17       2
  • 3. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch THE  PORTRAYAL  OF  WOMEN  AND  THE  IMPACT  IT  HAS  ON  SOCIETY   INTRODUCTION   The   roles   that   women   portray   in   advertising   have   caused   many   public   criticisms   and   consequently  the  beginning  of  some  empirical  research.   In  this  research  project,  I  am  going  to  investigate  the  idealistic  image  that  woman  should  depict  or   exemplify   in   order   to   be   “perfect”,   according   to   advertising   industries,   and   the   effects   of   this   media   content  on  the  public.   By  this  I  mean,  that  I  am  going  to  study  if  this  idealistic  representation  of  women  has  any  sort  of   repercussion,  influence  or  effect  on  our  society.     I   am   going   to   concentrate   in   looking   at   the   portrayal   and   the   representation   of   woman   in   our   society  and  what  image  the  media  gives  of  them,  and  then  also  examine  the  impact  of  this  on  the   public.  I  am  also  going  to  argue  whether  this  is  a  positive  thing  or  a  negative  effect  on  society  in  the   given  case  that  there  is  and  impact.     To   begin   this   research,   I   believe   it   is   essential   to   start   off   understanding   what   image   advertising   companies,  Magazines,  and  the  Media  as  a  whole,  portray  of  women.  To  do  this,  I  will  use  cultural   studies  and  political  economy  theories  in  order  to  analyse  this.     Firstly  I  will  briefly  explain  what  cultural  studies  are  and  how  I  can  look  at  specific  media  products  as   texts,  to  be  analysed  like  one  might  analyse  a  work  of  literature.  And  do  so  with  my  chosen  media   products.   Secondly   I   will   explain   what   political   economy   theory   is,   and   analyse   why   the   beauty   industry   is   actively  trying  to  build  an  idea  of  feminine  beauty  and  splendour.   3
  • 4. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch I  will  also  dedicate  some  time  studying  the  importance  of  this  image  they  render  and  the  reasons   that  lead  them  into  representing  women  in  such  a  way.     Later   on,   once   I   have   managed   to   set   a   conclusion   on   what   type   of   image   women   convey   in   the   media  now  a  days,  I  will  analyse  its  effect  on  the  audience.   This   task   will   be   the   most   difficult   and   challenging   one   since   effects   are   never   the   same   on   individuals   and   effects   vary   in   each   given   situation.   Even   thus,   I   will   use   various   techniques   to   analyse  its  influence,  I  will  look  into  documentaries  or    into  previous  investigations  or  case  studies  to   see  if  there  has  been  any  attempt  to  explore  this  beforehand.     I   will   also   investigate   cases   were   the   media   do   not   follow   these   conventions   or   do   not   portray   women   in   the   same   way,   and   try   to   understand   why   they   do   this   and   what   reaction   they   have   from   the  audience.     I  think  that  with  this  research,  I  can  manage  to  understand  if  the  media  has  some  sort  of  effect  on   the  female  population  as  well  as  the  male  population  and  how  we  react  to  it.  I  am  also  curious  to   know  whether  the  audience/public  is  conscious  and  aware  of  this  image  the  media  wants  us  to  have   about  women.       I  believe  that  the  portrayal  of  women  in  society  at  this  given  time  plays  a  huge  impact  in  society,   especially   in   women.   In   my   opinion   this   ‘idealistic’   and   ‘perfect’   representation   of   women   in   the   media   only   reveals   them   as   objects   to   be   observed   but   not   valued.   I   consider   that   women   are   portrayed  as  ‘sexy’  and  ‘seductive’  in  order  to  appeal  to  the  audience.  The  motive  of  this  is  mainly   4
  • 5. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch profit   driven,   by   this   I   mean   that   advertising   companies   have   a   greater   benefit   and   attract   the   female  and  male  population  further  more  with  this  kind  of  representation.       I  do  not,  however,  consider  this  to  be  the  whole  fault  of  the  media  organizations,  as  it  is  the  public   who   allows   this.   In   my   opinion   we   are   attracted   to   good   looking,   glamorous,   revealing,   and   seductive  people  by  nature  and  therefor  we  buy  those  things  we  like  to  see.  We  are  also  the  ones   who  allow  this  sort  of  representation,  which  is  downgrading  for  every  women.   In   this   research   project   I   will   however   examine   weather   my   point   of   view   is   true   and   valid   or   weather  it  is  completely  different.   IMPORTANCE  ON  IMAGE  REPRESENTATION   The   way   one   presents   himself   or   herself   to   the   society   has   a   great   impact   on   their   career,   so   would   you   consider   it   fair   if   the   mass   media   was   doing   that   job   for   you   and   including   you   into   a   stereotypical  group  that  doesn’t  necessarily  portray  you?     Image   is   of   great   importance   since   it   is   through   our   perception   that   we   build   up   our   first   impressions   on   people,   and   instantly   judge,   categorize   and   group   people.   Due   to   these   impressions   we   unconsciously   define   and   include   them   into   a   group   in   order   to   begin   understanding   who   they   are   and   how   they   are.   According   to   a   series   of   experiments   by   Princeton   psychologists   Janine   Willis   and   Alexander   Todorov   reveal   that   it   takes   less   than   a   second  to  form  an  impression  of  a  stranger  from  their  image  and  that  longer  exposure  doesn’t   significantly  alter  those  impressions     5
  • 6. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch Our  personal  brand  should  be  taken  care  of  especially  on  this  globalizing  world  were  more  people   have  easier  access  to  your  pictures  and  can  use  them  to  their  interests.     So  do  advertising  companies  have  a  role  in  representing  women  and  generate  the  wrong  impression   within  society?   CULTURAL  STUDIES  THEORY   Cultural  Studies  theory  was  originally  introduced  by  British  academics  in  1964,  and  spread  out   worldwide   after   that.   It   is   an   academic   field   of   critical   theory1  and   literary   criticism2.   Cultural   studies   focuses   mainly   in   the   political   dynamics   of   contemporary   culture   and   its   historical   foundations,  conflicts  and  defining  qualities.   Researchers   focus   on   how   a   particular   message   or   medium   relates   to   ideology,   social   class,   nationality  ethnicity,  sexuality  and/or  gender.   By   this   I   mean   that   cultural   studies   seeks   to   understand   how   meaning   is   generated,   distributed   and  produced  from  the  social,  political  and  economic  spheres  within  a  given  culture.   In   order   to   understand   the   impact   this   female   portrayal   has   on   society   I   will   firstly   analyse   how   advertising   industries   portray   women,   subsequently   I   will   explore   what   induces   them   into   portraying  females  in  such  a  way  and  what  sort  of  repercussion  this  has  on  our  society.   POLITICAL  ECONOMY  THEORY   This  study  developed  in  the  18th  century  as  the  study  of  economies  or  polities  within  a  state.   Political  Economy  Theory  is  used  for  studying  the  production,  buying,  and  selling  proposition  of   an  industry  and  their  relations  with  law.     1 A school of thought that stresses the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities. 2 The study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. 6
  • 7. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch Political   Economy   Theory   analyses   specifically   how   the   commercial   incentives   behind   content   creation  is  responsible  and  shapes  the  content  produced.     To  analyse  my  hypothesis,  I  will  use  this  political  economy  theory  and  choose  a  specific  beauty   industry  and  analyse  how  the  industries  policy  of  advertising  beauty  products  is  actively  trying   to  build  and  idea  of  feminine  beauty  that  is  impossible,  for  most  women,  to  live  up  to.     I  will  also  take  a  look  at  a  different  kind  of  advertising  that  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  beauty   industry  but  how  this  rules  of  representation  are  still  present.     THE  PORTRAYAL  OF  WOMEN  ON  ADVERTS   To  show  and  analyse  my  hypothesis  I  have  chosen  a  beauty  industry  to  look  at  their  adverts  and   how  they  portray  women  in  them.  For  this  I  have  chosen  the  company  of  L’oreal.   As   We   can   see   on   the   image   on   our   left,  This  women  had  the  perfect  skin,   smile   and   is   young.   It   appeals   to   us   and   receives   more   attention   than   the   actual   advertised   product.   On   the   following  advert  of  ‘REVITALIFT’  which   is   a   product   against   aging,   they   still   put   a   young   female   model   simply   because   it   is   more   appealing   to   look   at   and   we   associate   the   product   to   well-­‐being   and   youth,   encouraging   and   inducing  us  into  buying  it  or  believing  that  their  product  has  a  positive  outcome  on  them.   Women  aspire  to  look  like  the  models  something,  which  is  impossible  since  computer  programs   have  retouched  these  models  in  order  to  create  the  ‘ideal’  and  ‘perfect’  look.     7
  • 8. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch Here  you  will  be  able  to  see  a  video  advert  of  L’Oreal  and  appreciate  what  they  are  trying  to   sell,  and  the  importance  they  give  on  beauty.3               This  beauty  industry  actively  builds  an   ideal   beauty,   which   is   impossible   to   reach.   However  it  is  not  only  beauty  industries  who  actively  build  this  ‘ideal’  beauty,  as  it  is  also  found   on   many   other   advertising   companies   from   completely   different   fields.   An   example   of   this   is   found  in  one  of  Aston  Martin’s  adverts.       As  we  can  see,  for  the  past  few  years  and  on  the  present  day,  advertising  companies  have  had   the   tendency   to   represent   women   as   ‘sexy’.   This   sort   of   representation   is   usually   found   in   products   for   women   as   well   for   some   specific   male   products,   in   my   opinion,   this   is   done   in   order  to  create  the  idea  that  women  are  guaranteed  as  a  pack  if  you  buy  their  product.   The  following  picture  sets  a  clear  example  of  this:     3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoMM4wyzY-E 8
  • 9. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch This  Aston  Martin  advert  is  in  my  opinion;  is  a  huge  impact  and  a  very  surprising  advert  since   they   are   not   advertising   a   specific   car   model   because   they   expect   the   targeted   audience   to   know  about  their  cars.   It   is   also   using   a   rhetorical   argument   with   the   short   sentence   and   the   women   in   the   image,   claiming  that  you  wouldn’t  care  having  her  even   if  she  had  been  with  someone  else  before  hand,   so   why   would   you   care   if   others   also   had   the   same  car?   They   use   this   argument   by   setting   the   women   and   the   car   in   the   same   level   and   dehumanizing   her   while   comparing   her   to   an   object.   This   downgrading   portrayal   of   women   is   very   common   in   adverts   and   causes   us   to   observe   and   perceive  women  as  objects.   On  this  following  advert  of  Magnum,  we  can  also  observe   and  appreciate  an  obvious  and  highly  charged  image  with   sexual  connotations.   As  I  read  in  a  blog  in  word  press  on  advertising  and  society,   this   image   is   full   of   sexual   connotations,   which   are   perceived  and  interpreted  by  the  audience  inducing  them   into   buying   this   product.   When   observing   this   advert   our   first   impression   is   pleasure,   happiness,   and   wellbeing   and   9
  • 10. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch we  unconsciously  relate  that  to  the  product.   ‘This  image  is  obviously  highly  charged  with  sexual  connotations.  This  creates  a  sexual   desire   which   is   considered   a   base   pleasure   and   as   such   is   a   fleeting,   unsustainable,   short-­‐lived   pleasure   that   does   not   enhance   the   value   of   one’s   life.   In   this   view   Magnum  has  employed  the  simplistic  and  narrow  view  of  hedonism  (Fledman  2002).   Look   now   at   how   the   woman   is   positioned.   She   is   lying   on   her   back   on   a   shag-­‐pile   carpet,  eyes  closed,  with  the  voyeur  looking  at  her.  Levi-­‐Strauss  (1969)  wrote  that  ‘a   society’s   cuisine   acts   as   a   language   through   which   it   unconsciously   expresses   its   structure’.   In   this   view   we   can   take   the   modernist   approach   and   view   the   woman   in   a   submissive   position,   on   her   back,   with   the   male   voyeur   (rather   than   the   consumer)   looking   at   her.   Consequently,   the   societal   dominance   and   power   of   man   and   the   submission   of   woman   is   reinforced   (Oswald   2010).   The   gender   stereotype   is   maintained  though  the  male  gaze.’  Roberts,  M.  L.,  &  Koggan,  P.  B.,  (1979)  How  should   women  be  portrayed  in  Advertisements     In   my   opinion   the   media   are   responsible   for   the   degrading   of   women,   they   haven’t   however   managed  to  do  this  straight  away,  this  process  takes  time  since  advertisements  are  seen  by  the   target   audience   and   maybe   not   processed   right   away,   however   the   continuous   portrayal   of   women  in  such  a  way,  can  stick  to  people’s  sub  consciousness.     “It   may   not   seem   like   a   bad   thing   but   after   seeing   something   over   and   over   again,   people  tend  to  just  start  to  believe  it  without  thinking.  The  media  has  found  that  by   using  advertisements,  movies,  and  music  videos  they  can  influence  how  people  view   women.   The   media   uses   a   variety   of   advertisements,   movies,   and   music   videos,   to   10
  • 11. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch portray  how  women  are  viewed,  how  they  view  themselves,  and  turning  women  into   sex  objects”.   As   we   can   establish,   the   media   is   responsible   for   the   creation   of   this   ‘New   Women’s   Depiction’   that  ends  up  associated  as  a  sex  object  and  consequently  being  dehumanized.   ARE  WE  AWARE  OF  THIS?   Due  to  the  rise  of  new  mediums  and  technology,  it  is  more  frequent  for  people  to  encounter   adverts.  This  constant  bombardment  of  the  media  has  come  part  of  our  daily  life.  It  is  because   of   this   that   people   grow   to   believe   that   they   are   immune   to   adverts   as   they   do   not   pay   attention  to  them  they  are  hardly  aware  of  their  presence;  people  start  to  believe  it  does  not   have  a  sort  of  effect  on  them.   “Each   person   in   America   sees   an   average   of   1500   advertisements   per   day,   which   is   about  one  ad  a  minute.  Advertising  is  such  a  fact  of  American  life,  pervading  almost   every   aspect   of   daily   life,   that   most   people   today   are   hardly   aware   of   it   and   assumes   that   advertising   has   no   affect   on   them.   Contrary   to   popular   belief,   however,   advertising  exerts  an  enormous  influence  on  our  thoughts,  attitudes,  perceptions  and   actions.  (Disinformation,  4/6/01)”   So   is   this   a   success   or   a   problem   for   society?   As   Bernard   McGrane,   sociologist   and   a   former   professor  in  Boihem’s,  says;  “That’s  one  of  advertisements  most  brilliant  accomplishments,  to   get  us  to  believe  that  we’re  not  affected  by  it”   Moreover,  as  Sut  Jhally,  sociologist  and  founder  of  The  Media  Education  Foundation,  says;  “The   most   powerful   propaganda   system   is   that   which   doesn’t   allow   itself   to   be   recognized   as   propaganda.  It  appear  to  be  the  way  the  world  is-­‐it  appears  naturalized”     11
  • 12. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch On  the  other  hand  however,  the  awareness  of  this  portrayal  is  starting  to  get  more  noticeable   once   that   this   perception   of   women   have   already   been   cultivated   within   our   society   because   it   is   only   then   when   we   realise   people   have   changed   and   act   differently   towards   women   or   women  themselves  start  behaving  differently  and  are  more  concerned  about  their  appearance.   “10-­‐15%   of   Americans   suffer   from   a   serious   eating   disorder   (Eating   Disorders   Recovery   Online).   The   Harvard   Eating   Disorders   Center   reports   that   80%   of   women   wake  up  each  morning  feeling  depressed  about  their  appearance.  According  to  Time   magazine,   80%   of   all   children   have   been   on   a   diet   by   the   time   they   have   reached   fourth   grade.   "I   think   we're   seeing   eating   disorders   in   younger   and   younger   individuals...  as  young  as  5  or  6,"  states  Dr.  Ira  Sacker,  director  of  the  eating  disorders   clinic  at  Brookdale  University  Hospital  and  co-­‐author  of  Dying  to  Be  Thin.”   WHAT  INDUCES  ADVERTISING  COMPANIES  INTO  PORTRAYING  WOMEN  IN  SUCH  A  WAY?   “Under   capitalism,   corporations   will   do   anything   to   make   a   buck,   including   forcing   girls   and   women   to   suffer   health   problems,   low   self-­‐esteem,   depression,   and   the   adoption  of  subservient  roles  in  society.”  Jessica  Moore,  2002.   “The  target  audience  in  media  are  men  around  18-­‐30  because  they  watch  less  TV  than  women.   Women   on   the   other   hand   watch   TV   on   a   more   regular   basis.   The   exploitation   of   women’s   bodies   helps   selling   products,   and   magazines.”   As   it   stated   in   the   Missrepresentation   documentary;   In  order  to  gain  the  audience  attention  they  send  out  more  explicit  content,  which  tends  to  be   either  more  violent  or  more  sexual.  The  problem  is  that  there  is  no  sort  of  mediation  and  young   children  are  exposed  to  these  contents  and  grow  up  with  these  constant  perceptions,  which  is   12
  • 13. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch shaping  their  minds,  on  the  way  they  should  see  the  world  and  having  a  great  impact  on  their   lives.   These   images   represent   women   as   things,   as   objects.   And   is   consequently   dehumanizing   all   women.   Furthermore  as  Michael  Eisner,  (Former  CEO,  The  Walt  Disney  Co.),  mentioned;  “We  have  no   obligation   to   make   history,   we   have   no   obligation   to   make   art.   To   make   money   is   our   only   objective.”   This  reinforces  the  idea  that  advertising  companies  and  the  media  as  a  whole  are  simply  profit   driven  and  do  not  care  about  the  repercussion  of  their  work  and  the  impact  it  has  on  society.   THE  PERCEPTION  OF  WOMEN  DUE  TO  THEIR  PORTRAYAL  ON  ADVERTS    &  THE  IMPACT  ON   SOCIETY   As we have established, women have been portrayed, in the last few years, as sex objects and ideally beautiful and as role models for all women, in order to increase the appeal of their product. This has a straight effect on how women, especially young women, think about themselves. According to Jessica Moore, who talks about Women and Advertising - The social cost of commercial culture, says; “It  is  during  the  adolescent  stage  of  life  that  young  people  develop  their  sense  of  self   and   identity.   This   sends   the   underlying   message   to   women   and   girls   that   the   only   important   thing   about   themselves   is   the   way   they   look,   causing   many   women   to   believe  that  their  self-­‐worth  is  dependent  upon  attention  from  men.”   Is  does  not,  however,  only  affect  women  and  young  girls,  it  also  produces  an  effect  on  men  and   the  way  they  perceive  and  think  of  women,  due  to  their  portrayal  in  other  sorts  of  adverts  such   13
  • 14. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch as  beer  and  cars  as  Jessica  Moore  stated.   “The   constant   abuse   of   women's   sexuality   to   sell   products   in   the   beer,   sports,   film   and   music   industries,   for   example,   has   completely   distorted   our   understanding   of   sexuality  and  gender  roles.”   In  order  to  gain  a  clear  image  on  women’s  representation  and  the  impact  of  this  on  society  I   watched  a  very  interesting  documentary  named  ‘Miss  Representation’.   As  we  can  see  in  the  documentary  advertising  industries  are  distorting  women’s  self  image  and   produces   a   great   concern   on   girls   and   women,   making   them   feel   unattractive.   As   Kilbourne   stated  in  1997,     “The   anxiety   girls   and   women   experience   from   feeling   unattractive   is   arguably   one   of   the   most  pervasive  and  damaging  consequence  of  advertising.  Only  one  body  type  is  almost   always  presented  in  the  media  and  in  advertisements  -­‐-­‐  that  of  a  very  tall,  thin  woman  -­‐-­‐  a   woman   who   would   meet   the   criteria   for   anorexia   as   15%   below   normal   weight   (APA   1994).  In  reality,  this  unhealthy  body  shape  is  unattainable  for  99%  of  women”   Even   ‘beautiful’   women   are   now   not   good   enough   for   advertisements;   ‘perfection’   is   only   achieved  through  computer  editing.  As  Jessica  Moore  claims;   “If  the  ideal  of  beauty  is  physically  unattainable,  then  consumers  will  never  be  able  to   attain   the   image   they   want,   and   therefore   there   will   be   an   endless   demand   for   new   beauty   products.   This   is   the   reason   for   the   incredible   proliferation   of   the   weight-­‐loss,   fashion,   and   cosmetics   industries,   which   are   among   the   largest   and   most   profitable   14
  • 15. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch consumer  industries.”   As  a  result,  the  millions  of  women  and  girls  who  are  unable  to  reach  this  standard  of  beauty  feel  a   sense   of   failure,   shame,   and   guilt.   This   consequently   results   with   eating   disorders.   As   Wiseman,   Gray,  Mosimann,  &  Ahrens,  said  in  1992;   “This   dissatisfaction   with   one's   body   is   a   major   cause   of   eating   disorders,   which   have   increased   through   the   years   as   women's   ideal   body   weight   as   it   is   portrayed   in   the   media  has  decreased”     As  a  result  of  this  constant  media,  women  perceive  themselves  negatively;   “One   study   revealed   that   women   who   view   the   media's   image   of   beauty   as   ideal   are   more   likely   than   any   other   group   to   have   a   very   negative   body   image”   (Pinhas,   et.   al.   1999).   On  the  following  link  I  have  also  found  what  it  feels  like  to  be  portrayed  in  such  a  way,  basically  not   only  the  effect  on  society  but  the  effect  on  the  models.4   CONSEQUENCES     Since  women  are  now  looked  upon  as  sex  objects  and  are  dehumanized,  men  tend  to  act  in  a   more  aggressive  and  disrespectful  manner  expecting  women  to  be  empowered  by  them.   4 http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_m odel.html 15
  • 16. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch As   I   found   out   thanks   to   the   Missrepresentation   documentary;   “1   in   4   girls   experience   teen   dating   violence.   1   in   4   women   are   abused   by   a   partner   in   their   lifetime.   1   in   6   women   are   survivors  of  rape  or  attempted  rape.  15%of  rape  survivors  are  under  the  age  of  12.”   In  2007,  the  congress;  “hold  special  hearing  on  prevalence  of  women’s  sexualisation  in  music   videos”.  In  2009  “studies  prove  exposure  to  sexually  explicit  video  games  and  music  videos  is   linked  to  men’s  acceptance  of  rape  myths  and  sexual  harassments”.   As  we  can  observe  there  is  a  straight  impact  in  society  due  to  this  portrayal  of  women  and  a   huge  number  of  preoccupying  consequences  that  should  be  diminished  and  put  to  an  end.   DEFYING  THESE  CONVENTIONS   There  is  however  other  industries  that  attempt  to  portray  an  opposite  view  or  try  to  make  the   audience  aware  of  this  computer  editing,  and  how  this  ‘idealistic’  beauty  is  impossible  to  reach.   An   outstanding   advert   that   clearly   shows   how   the   conventions   for   beauty   are   depicted   and   set   for  us,  and  how  this  sort  of  perfection  should  not  be  followed  and  is  impossible  to  reach  due  to   all   the   work   that   is   done   behind   scenes.   To   show   this   I   have   chosen   the   and   industry   named   Dove;   On  the  following  video  clip,  it  shows  how  much  editing  is  behind  each  picture  and  therefor  how   impossible  it  is  for  us  to  really  be  that  ‘idealistic’  role  model.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYQ5Vyp52DA   However  on  the  second  video,  it  is  also  trying  to  raise  consciousness  on  the  subject  and  trying   to  fight  against  this  sort  of  perception.  Dove  have  created  self  esteem  programs  because  they   have  realised  the  huge  impact  the  media  has  had  on  our  society.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei6JvK0W60I   16
  • 17. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch I   do   believe   however   that   Dove   is   doing   this   also   for   it’s   own   interest,   since   it   is   the   only   industry  who  has  opened  up  and  revealed  this  truth,  the  public  then  feel  they  can  trust  and  rely   on  them  and  therefor  rely  on  their  truthfulness  and  also  believe  their  products  when  they  are   advertised.  They  manage  to  create  a  positive  image  of  their  industry,  which  is  then  appealing   for  women.   CONCLUSION   There  is  a  clear  Symbolic  Annihilation5  taking  place  in  advertising  in  our  current  society.  As  we   have   analysed   and   established,   women   are   dehumanized   as   beauty   industries   distort   their   images  and  their  portrayal.  They  present  women  as  objects  and  establish  a  perfect  body  type   and  the  perfect  appearances  establishing  in  this  way  an  ‘ideal’  and  ‘sublime’  beauty  model.   This   brings   about   a   repercussion   and   an   impact   in   our   society   that   should   be   controlled   as   it   its   effects  have  a  negative  repercussion  on  peoples  lives.  The  only  positive  aspect  that  this  media   representation  gains  is  profit  for  the  own  industry.   My   main   concern   is   how   we   as   an   audience   are   so   used   to   this   and   how   we   are   influenced   subconsciously.     Women  begin  to  depreciate  themselves  and  men  begin  to  treat  them  as  objects.     Furthermore   I   also   consider   this   following   statement   made   in   the   Missrepresentation   documentary   that   stated;   “The   more   power   a   women   gain,   the   stronger   the   backlash   against   them.”   This   is   because   they   are   undervalued   and   people   do   not   believe   they   are   capable   of   standing   out   like   men   do.   Women   have   certain   connotations   tied   to   them   due   to   this   image   5 Symbolic   annihilation;   is   the   absence   of   representation,   or   underrepresentation,   of   some   group   of   people   in   the   media   (often   based   on   their   race,   sex,   sexual   orientation,   socio-­‐economic   status,   etc.),   understood   in   the   social   sciences   to   be   a   means   of   maintaining  social  inequality. 17
  • 18. 'MASS AND NEW MEDIA HAVE HAD POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE OPINIONS AND BEHAVIORS OF THE PUBLIC' 14/11/13 Elena Duch portrayal  and  impression  the  audience  has  constantly  been  receiving.  (minute  42:20).  Another   astonishing   response   to   this   comment;   “You   get   a   woman   in   the   oval   office,   most   powerful   person   in   the   world,   what’s   the   downside?”     “You   mean   besides   the   PMSing   and   the   mood   swings?”   As  we  can  see  the  media  has  played  a  huge  role  in  the  perception  of  women.   This  is  not  however  the  first  time  that  takes  place  in  society  as  it  did  happen  in  ancient  times  for   example  with  the  Greeks  where  they  set  an  Aesthetic  Canon6  or  later  on  during  the  renaissance   with  Sandro  Botticelli’s  Canon  of  beauty,  portrayed  in  “The  Birth  of   Venus”.   To   finish   of   I   would  like  to   state   how   important   it   is   to   raise   awareness   within   society   about   this   phenomenon   that   has   come   to   be   neutralized.   Only   by   raising   awareness   we   will   manage   to   put   an   end  to  this  perception  and  women  will  be  capable  to  reach  their  goals  without  having  to  put  up   with  comments  on  their  appearance.       6 Aesthetic  Canon  is  a  rule  of  proportions  that  produce  a  harmoniously  formed  figure  also   recognised  as  ‘sublime’  and  ‘idealistic’  beauty  model.   18