For decades women have been portrayed as housewives, dependent on men and sex objects in advertisements. The topic of the portrayal of women in advertising is significant in the social realm. The dominance of advertising in our lives and its ability to persuade and shape our beliefs give it power over our society and the influence of our basic thoughts. Everywhere we turn, advertising is telling people, women especially, what it means to be desirable. Many of these messages share a common theme: women must be “beautiful”. Women have always been measured against cultural ideals of beauty, but advertising often uses sexism to make images of “ideal beauty” more prevalent and increasingly unattainable. “The derogatory representation of women in the advertising media is more a social, cultural and economic problem than purely a physical one. The subjection of woman to indecent representation is a global one.” http://www.gather.com/viewArticle .action?articleId=281474976719311 Women in ads represent what the society holds as an ideal image of her. The depiction of women in the advertisement signifies the greater patriarchal power and dominant male discourse which is vividly present in the society. The women are almost the puppet of the male dominant society where their lives are mold well for the need of the society. “Twenty years ago, the average model only weighed 8% less than the average woman, whereas the average model today weighs 23% less. Most models today are thinner than 95% of the population. In a recent study by Dove, the researchers found that out of the survey respondents, only 2% considered themselves to be beautiful.”http://theworldofads.wordpress.com/2007/02/07/portrayal-of-women-in-the-media/Advertising is an applied form of persuasion that attempts to inform position, convince, reinforce, differentiate, and ultimately sell products and services. But what do people, especially teenagers, learn from the advertising messages? On the most obvious level they learn the stereotypes. Women are continued to be predominantly portrayed as sexual beings, unthinking, dependent, caretakers, preoccupied with beauty. This attractive image always is a woman, who provides the “desirable” image for the ads, irrespective of her relevance to the ads. Although women are beginning to be economically independent, the ads continue to delineate domestic arena as the rightful place for a woman. Review of 20 advertisements
1. To look beautiful has become essential to all the women. They have to work at home and work in the offices and yet have to look good to impress everyone round the clock. “Pond’s white beauty” ad is perhaps one of the most familiar brands with Indian women. It denotes change within seven days, the woman becomes fairer and on the seventh day a man loves her. Almost all of its products come with an assurance of quality and satisfaction. Beauty companies are happy to play on the insecurities of women in India and Asia, offering various creams to lighten their skin. “Pond’s pissed everyone off in India a few years ago with a series of commercials showing a lonely woman who finally gets the man of her dreams after getting lighter skin.” http://fashionista.com/2011/05/how-racist-is-the-beauty-industry-take-a-peek-at-some-controversial-ads-through-the-years/ Dove, whose “Real Beauty” ads earned a lot of kudos for portraying women of all ages, sizes, and colors, came up with new inspiration for women but ironically didn’t do good to any woman. These ads show that qualification of an individual is not important for the job but the fairness of the skin is must. Dreams of an individual woman will be fulfilled only if she has fair complexion. Though the commercials often create false consciousness, most of the women spent their money and energy to achieve what is shown in threads that are “perfect beauty” but lands up emotionally and mentally challenged, they do...
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