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 inAdvertising leads to a system in
which women are viewed aswhich women are viewed as
objects that can be bought andobjects that can be bought and
sold, taken and used.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
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
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
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
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
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 allRoughly 85 percent of all
cosmetic surgery clients arecosmetic surgery clients are
The Skyy's the limit for bad taste!
Questions to consider:
⇨ What is the first thing you see in this
⇨ What is the woman wearing? What is the man
⇨ How do you feel when you see the
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
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
Look at the size of
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
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
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.
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 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
Questions to consider:
⇨ Where is the boy's head
⇨ What is covering up the
⇨ How old does she look?
⇨ Is this advertisement
appropriate for teenagers?
⇨ What do you think of the
way in which she is
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