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Are They Selling Sex or Shoes? Advertising Today

Updated on July 7, 2014

The way that women are being portrayed in advertisements today is beginning to have an effect on the way women think and feel about themselves. Today women are beginning to belie that they have insufficient bodies that are below the standards that the public has become used to. Women are starting to believe that the way they look, dress, and act are unacceptable to the opinions of today’s society. This new opinion that women have about themselves has and still is being highly influenced by the advertisements that are in the public eye.


Every single minute of a woman’s day is filled with advertisements of images of the “perfect female”. These images of this so called “perfect female” are being advertised every single day on everyday products. When a woman or young girl views these images over and over again throughout their lives, they are eventually going to start to believe that this is what society is expecting from them. Young girls start to believe that if they do not look like and act like this female being portrayed in the advertisements, than they are below standard and unacceptable in society’s eyes. Women even begin to believe that men may not find them attractive if they do not look like the female that is being advertised every second of every day that goes by.

Unconsciously Effect US

The ads of today get inside of the woman’s head unknowingly to her. Women think that they are not affected by these ads, but if they really were not affected by the ads then why do women always feel as if they never look thin enough and pretty enough? Why wouldn’t women be happy with their bodies just the way that they are? It is because we have this false image inside of our heads of this supposed “perfect female”. The “perfect female” is the ideal female that every woman should be like, and look like. This ideal female image that is in our heads has come from movies and advertising. Not every woman may be affected by the advertising and portrayal of the “perfect female” the same. Some may feel the effects more than others and try to buy things that the “perfect female” is advertising or even try to lose weight and change the way they look, just so they can fit into this mold of the “perfect female”. Other women see the images of the “perfect female” and would like to be like her but they are not willing to lose their identities just so that they can change into her.

The image of the “perfect female” that I have been talking about can be seen in almost any ad today. All one has to do is open a magazine and there she is. Skinny, tall, leggy, large chested, tan, flawless, hair flowing, and perfect makeup. Women in almost any ad are usually portrayed as more of a sex object than a person being used to demonstrate what the product would look like on a person or how the product is used by a person. In fact, in many ads today one cannot even tell what is being advertised! Is it the dress that is being advertised, or is it the high heels she is wearing that are being advertised, or are the bed sheets being advertised, or maybe it’s a hair product being advertised… WHO KNOWS? The only obvious thing being advertised is sexuality. Over half of the featured females in advertisements are noticeably thin.

A Shoe Ad

Let’s take a random shoe advertisement but name no product names. In the ad the young lady is barely dressed and sitting on a white satin bed with her legs spread wide open, while wearing white high heel shoes. What is the meaning of this ad? If the advertisers were really just trying to sell a shoe and not a look, then why wouldn’t they show her going about her everyday life while wearing this high heel shoe? Why would the advertisers show a mostly nude woman on satin sheets with her legs spread eagle? The advertisers do this on purpose because they are trying to sell sexuality and a shoe at the same time. They are trying to get women, the consumers, to buy the shoe n order to gain the sexuality and attractiveness of the model. They want women to believe that if they wear the same shoe they will emit sexuality and the opposite sex will be attracted to them like a moth to a flame.

Let’s talk about the model’s body in the unnamed shoe ad. The woman’s body is extremely thin with her rib cage, collar bone, and other bones protruding from under her skin. Not a bit of fat is visible or seen on the young model’s body. This is the image of “the perfect female” that women believe is the ultimate body type. Just as ads glorify this rail, thin, sickly look; popular actresses and musicians of today have become more famous because of their body image then their actual talent. The skinnier they are the better. Talent is no longer as important as beauty. The images actresses and singers produce has become just as important or even more important than the work they produce.


Younger Generations

Younger generations of girls are more susceptible to the way women are being portrayed in ads and on television today. Young girls are very impressionable at these early fragile times in their lives. When they see the boys that they have crushes on talking about how hot Kiera Knightly is or Kate Upton is, girls begin to think if they looked and acted like those women then maybe the boys would like them too. So young girls go on crash diets and buy clothes that are similar to the ones that the “perfect female” is wearing in ads, and on television, and they try to mold themselves into the “perfect female”.

Change Needs to Happen

This is why the way women are being portrayed in ads, television, and movies needs to change. It needs to change because young girls will never be able to live up to the expectations that society is setting for them. Ads, television, and movies should include more regular looking individuals, at a variety of ages and body types. Girls do not need the added pressure of worrying about how they meet society’s expectations. Women need to be portrayed as strong, regular looking, healthy individuals with jobs and an education. Women need to be bombarded with normal looking people, both young and old, overweight and thin, pale and tan, etc…. Women need to be shown with meat on their bodies not just stick think and unhealthy looking. Women have a good reason to celebrate their strength and independence. Women have come far in this world and it should be celebrated. Women are highly educated, smart, independent, opinionated, strong women. So why shouldn’t women be portrayed that way?



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