Sexist Advertisements How to see through the soft sellEveryone has seen blatantly offensive advertisements that portraywomen as sexual toys or victims of violence. Such irresponsibleadvertising has rightly touched off cries of protest and organizedaction. The following are some of the more subtle ways advertisingreinforces cultural values of subservience, domination and inequalitybetween the sexes. 1. Superiority. Three common tactics used to establish superiority are size, attention and positioning. 2. Dismemberment. Womens bodies are often dismembered and treated as separate parts, perpetuating the concept that a womans body is not connected to her mind and emotions. The hidden message: If a woman has great legs, who cares who she is? 3. Clowning. Shown alone in ads, men are often portrayed as secure, powerful and serious. By contrast, women are pictured as playful clowns, perpetuating the attitude that women are childish and cannot be taken seriously. 4. Canting. People in control of their lives stand upright, alert and ready to meet the world. In contrast, the bending of body parts conveys unpreparedness, submissiveness and appeasement. 5. Dominance/Violence. The tragic abuse-affection cycle that many women are trapped in is too often glorified in advertising.