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Are Women Really Over Sexualized in Advertisements?

Updated on February 25, 2014

Victoria Secret Model, Candice Swanepoel


Popular Opinion: Women Are Overly Sexualized in the Media.

There is a growing debate amongst people, especially women, about the over sexualization of women in today's media. Many women believe that other women are being over sexualized in the media, in order to meet the demands of men. Over sexualization of women in turn creates more revenue from men. For example, advertisements for Burger King and Budweiser have been the center of the debate of racy advertisements, for over sexualizing women.

Racy Burger King Ad

Women in Budweiser Ad

Over Sexualization is Not Always Geared Towards Men

Though some may argue that sexualized advertisements are solely for the purpose of gaining mens attention and consumption, it may also be used to persuade women into buying a product. Victoria's Secret, for example, uses gorgeous women to promote their products. By doing so, many women may aspire to look beautiful like a VS model, and in turn go and buy their products to gain that feeling. However, Victoria's Secret isn't the only company doing sexualized advertisements targeted towards women. Nair, Herbal Essences, and just about every perfume ad have women being "sexy" trying to get women consumers to buy their products. In doing so, many women feel confident about themselves when using the products, resultng in further consumption. But, there is a down side to sexualizing women in ads targeted towards females. Women may feel objectified and bad about themselves when they see sexualized women being advertised. Put it this way; a size 0 model that's advertising underwear from Victoria's Secret may make a size 10 girl feel like she's too big to wear their clothes. It may make some women feel insecure and less confident about themselves. Either way, sexualization in the media and advertisements is very apparent today, and whether or not it works depends solely on the individual.

Nair Commercial.. My How Times Have Changed

Herbal Essences. It's not so much the picture, it's the commercial (moaning, sexual remarks, etc)

Dior Ad. Racy? Over Sexualized? Hmm

The Unpopular Opinion: It Sells. Men Are Over Sexualized Too.

Now let's talk about the other side of this debate, you know, the side that most people do not agree with. You see, what many people (mostly women) don't understand is that men are just as sexualized in the media as women are. There are shirtless, fit, sometimes almost naked men used in advertisements as well. So why don't men receive the same attention for "over sexuality" in advertisements? Why don't men speak up about it the way women do? Is it because they don't care as much? I'm curious to find out the reasoning behind that.

Anyway, let's take a look at some advertisements geared towards women in which men are "overly sexualized" in.

Salad dressing is by no means meant just for women.. However this ad/commercial certainly makes it seem like it is.

Sexualizing the man making him the focus instead of the product. Wise choice.


Do you think both men and women are over sexualized in advertisements?

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So Who's Right?

No one is right. Both sides of this issue are correct. Women are definitely over sexualized in the media and in advertisements. But at the same time, men are sexualized as well, and that problem needs to be addressed as well. So, in the end, I can conclude that both men and women are over sexualized in advertisements and that whether or not people like it, it will most likely stick around. It seems to be working for many companies.


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      22 months ago

      We seem to go through phases but sex has always been sold. The more open we have become about it the less we find it appealing. I noticed a huge difference in Europe by comparison to America. Honestly, if we all ran around naked the less we would care to see it. The fact that everyone is a tap on the key board from whatever fetish has made it less fashionable. When a person wants their hair done a sexy advertisment on the window appeals but its not a good advertisment on television. On a scale of 1 to 10 women are probably 2 points ahead of over doing sexualality. Current society is probably a 5 or 6 where as a decade ago when being revealing was new we were probably a 7 or 8. Its less fashionable to be to sexy or to revealing. We always know the higher hormone levels of younger people makes sex a bigger seller. Still being more sexy is more important then being practical for a lot of women. A lot of women still believe their looks determine their success as a person. Walk through any mall and you will find that advertising is all geared towards women who provide around 75 percent of all purchases daily. All those half naked women worried about their thigh gaps on advertisments is intended for women to see and not really men. They have to make you believe that you need this to be successful with your looks. Like anything its a belief system and until new beliefs come along it will keep selling and we will keep selling it. Sometimes an underware commercial is still only a commercial. How do you not sell underware and not be sexy? Maybe a 400 pound modal in underware will convince us they are not trying to be to sexy. Maybe have the person eating a hamburger and scratching their butt at the same time. If there unders can hold up to this you should buy a pair.

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      4 years ago

      "The Ace" actually sex does not sell well. (There is a bunch of research on it) Women are often objectified in the media. And it causes many women to believe that the only way they can be valued is if they appear sexy. Have you ever wondered why women's clothes are generally tighter, more revealing than mens? And their shoes are more uncomfortable. At the end of the day, they are trying to look sexy. And these commericals reinforce the beliefs. I mean why do I need a naked girl to sell jeans? Or axe? Or soap? Or lamps? Women's bodies are used as objects to sell things these days.

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      The Ace 

      4 years ago

      "areyouserious" you fail to realize how many sexualized images of men are in advertising. Not all of them are topless men, many of them are things that are less direct, study groups are often used to find what women are attracted to sexually and often the research finds that women are more sexually attracted to a guy with this kind of hair or that kind of clothes ect... Sex appeal is buy appeal in the retail world and it goes both ways..... And yes SEX does sell very well.

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      4 years ago

      you have no credible sources. Men are not nearly as sexualized as women so the comparison you made is bogus. (Dr. Erin Hatton of Buffalo University quoted in Pat Donovan, senior director of public relations at Buffalo University article stated that in the 2000s, there were 10 times more hyper-sexualized images of women than men, and 11 times more non-sexualized images of men than of women) If you're writing an opinionated piece please clarify, don't pass off your ideas as fact. FYI: sex actually DOESN'T sell as well as you think, research done by the APA has actually shown a DECREASE in sales of products that are advertised sexually.


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