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Women & Advertising The Effects on Body Image: Young Females
WARNING: Advertising frequently uses the image of sex or sexual pleasure to sell a product that has nothing to do with sex. With this portrayal of sex in advertisements, women are almost always the ones to provide the sexual pleasure. They are shown to be willing and ready, in almost any circumstance life has to offer. Advertising leads to a system in which women are viewed as objects that can be bought and sold, taken and used.
Advertising sells normalcy, so not only does it tell society what a woman is, it creates an image of the perfect woman. The women in advertising are representative of less than 5% of the whole population. They are incredibly thin, with big breasts, and flawless skin. … Most of the images we see with this body type have had plastic surgery. Not only this, but people in advertisements are air brushed and doctored to appear “perfect”. With this in mind, women are given an unobtainable ideal. The average woman does not look like this, so how is she able to? By buying the products. Advertising needs women to feel insecure about themselves or they will not generate more capital. Having a bad day? This could be why… 400-600 advertisements bombard us everyday in magazines, on billboards, on TV, and in newspapers. One in eleven has a direct message about beauty, not even counting the indirect messages.
What are the Effects?
In the past few decades, the media’s standard of perfection has grown increasingly unhealthy and unrealistic. While models twenty years ago weighed 8% less than the average woman, today they weigh 23% less.
Eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating, are becoming increasingly prevalent throughout western countries. According to US estimates from The National Institute of Mental Health, between 5 percent and 10 percent of girls and women (i.e. 5-10 million people) suffer from eating disorders...Estimates suggest that as many as 15 percent of young women adopt unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about food.
An estimated 10 percent of female college students suffer from a clinical or sub-clinical eating disorder, of which over half suffer from bulimia nervosa.
15 percent of young women have significantly disordered eating attitudes and behavior.
In a study of children aged 8-10, approximately 50 percent of girls said they were unhappy with their size.
In a study of girls aged 9-15, more than 50 percent claimed they exercised to lose weight, nearly 50 percent claimed they reduced food intake in order to lose weight, and approximately 5 percent claimed to use their parents' diet pills or laxatives in order to lose weight.
Increased social pressure to be thin According to studies into diet, weight loss and body shape, many individuals feel dissatisfied with their body shape, and develop sub-clinical / borderline eating disorder attitudes and behaviors. For example, 80 percent of American women claim to be dissatisfied with their appearance and shape, and 1 in 2 American women are on a weight loss diet. The prevailing standards of body weight and shape, as revealed in the use of abnormally thin models in the media, continue to emphasize the idea that "thin is beautiful" and only make things worse for adolescents and adults with borderline anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorders.
Attitudes to weight, shape and diet in pre-teens and teens For example, 40 percent of 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade girls want to be thinner. And 80 percent of 10 year olds are worried in case they become fat. In another survey, 70 percent of 6th grade girls surveyed said that their concern about their weight, shape and diet started when they were aged 9-11.
Plastic surgery is not merely for a select and wealthy few. In the United States alone, over 11.5 million cosmetic procedures – both surgical and non-surgical – were performed in the year 2006.
Most popular surgical procedures:
1. Liposuction – 403,684 (2006)
2. Breast Augmentation – 383,886 (2006)
Since 1997 there has been an increase of 446 percent in the total number of cosmetic procedures. Surgical procedures have increased by 119 percent, nonsurgical procedures by 726 percent.
Last year, 3,841 women 18 or younger underwent breast augmentation, a 24-percent jump from 3,095 in 2002, which represents a 19-percent increase from 2,596 in 2001, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Only 978 girls had the procedure in 1992.
Roughly 85 percent of all cosmetic surgery clients are female.
When Will It Stop?
Advertisements Examples & Analysis
The Skyy's the limit for bad taste! Questions to consider: ⇨ What is the first thing you see in this advertisement? ⇨ What is the woman wearing? What is the man wearing? ⇨ How do you feel when you see the advertisement? Skyy Vodka Advertising Formula: • Two shots half-naked, oversexualized woman appearing in an orgasmic state. • One shot fully clothed man enjoying the "view" • One cup alcohol held or drunk in a sexualized manner Sex supposedly sells, but whose sexuality exactly? The woman in this ad is wearing a transparent, wet dress, while her male counterpart is fully clothed in a power suit. While holding a drink in one hand, he pours vodka into her glass with the other. The bottle is pointing between her breasts, drawing the reader's eye to them. The expression on her face tells us she is enjoying it. Aside from the sex and gender stereotypes this advertisement perpetuates, it contributes to the already huge problem of showing an unattainable body ideal. The model portrays what we think of as "ideal beauty": she is thin, big-breasted, and tall.
Look at the size of those...diamonds? Questions to consider: ⇨ What is the first thing you see when you look at this advertisement? ⇨ What is the advertisement selling? ⇨ What is the text "Who cares if they're not real?" referring to? This ad is a classic example of blatantly using a woman's body to sell a product. The first thing the viewer sees in this advertisement is this woman's breasts. However, the company is selling jewelry, and comparing the woman's breasts to the jewelry, which is also fake, but who cares? Cosmetic surgery is nothing to take lightly, and it sure isn't as easy to get as a $30 imitation diamond ring.
She has it. Do you? Questions to consider: ⇨ What does the text say? ⇨ What is "it"? ⇨ How does this image or product contribute to a potentially unhealthy body ideal? Many advertisements we see in the media set an unhealthy body ideal. Though thin is beautiful if it's natural and healthy, there is something wrong with only seeing one body type represented in media. This normalizes a standard that as a diverse population, most people can't live up to. Unrealistic standards are set by the industry to create feelings of dissatisfaction that drive the consumption of products. The Facts: Studies have shown that exposure to idealized images of women result in lowered levels of self-esteem and body satisfaction in women.
This advertisement tells us that a girl needs nothing but accessories and boys. Advertisers use women's sexuality to grab the attention of consumers to stimulate desire, hoping that desire will be transferred to their product. When women's bodies are used to sell products, they become commodities themselves, presented as awards for consumption. And while we're on the topic of consumption, this picture is sexually explicit. This advertisement was shown in the popular Teen Vogue magazine. How does this affect teenagers' perception of what sexy is? The Facts: "[The U.S. has] the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world. Generally, teenagers are hypersexualized in our culture today." – Jean Kilbourne, from her video Killing Us Softly 3 NC-17 ad, PG-13 viewers. Questions to consider: ⇨ Where is the boy's head placed? ⇨ What is covering up the girl's breasts? ⇨ How old does she look? ⇨ Is this advertisement appropriate for teenagers? ⇨ What do you think of the way in which she is shown?