Text: Devor, Kilbourne, Morgan and Advertisement Final draft - Essay4 EFFECTS OF MEDIA VIOLENCE
There is a saying that even bad publicity is still good publicity. This concept of “publicity” may sound absurd but that is what advertisements are portraying these days. When we see the advertisements, the impact is quite shocking and offensive for a normal viewer. However, this method of advertisement is still the best way to capture the consumer’s attention and increase the sale of products. Some people believe the messages sent out through media are the true representation of the real world they live in. Unfortunately, these messages create gender stereotypes, which have characterized both males and females about how to look and act. Otherwise, they will not be accepted in the society. In the essay of Aaron H Devor, “Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender”, he explores the concept of masculinity and femininity that creates our sense of identity, and how these gender codes show a relationship to power, dominance and submission. Jean Kilbourne in “Two Ways a Woman can Hurt: Advertising and Violence” and Joan Morgan in “From Fly-Girls to Bitches and Hos” argue that how a woman’s image of submission is abused and exploited through the media, leaving women disempowered and marginalized. The attached advertisement “Ultimate Attraction” provides evidence about what Kilbourne and Morgan mean by exploitation of women in our society. There is an influence that media holds that is inconspicuous by many people. However, media should not have the power to set the standards for the society since they misuse their authority to create a false image of social power that influence people, culture and how we view man’s and woman’s role in our society. Media plays an important role promoting the gender roles in our society. Advertisements, in particular, sell visual representations of an ideal man and woman. In other words, media contributes in constructing the image of a man as dominant whereas the woman is a subordinate member of our society. Devor comments, “conception of gender roles captures the hierarchal and competitive masculine thrust for power, which can but need not, lead to aggression and feminine quest for harmony and communal well being which can but need not ,result in passivity and dependence.[pg 531]” Our society considers that men are superior to women. They attain the true social power, which provides them a freedom to exercise their dominance over woman. For instance, on first look at the attached ad, it clearly portrays that the man possesses all the power over the woman. The ad displays a strong muscular man taking charge of the woman body and exploiting women emotion for his pleasure. Hence, this advertisement shows the dominance of the man over the women and objectifies the woman and her sexual relationship with the man. However, we see a lack of true social power, which is usually associated with authority, influence, and control over the other. According to the BMW ad, “the ultimate attraction” is a fancy car, and women are an attraction but just not the ultimate attraction. In this case, the true social power is possessed by BMW or a corporate entity that influences and controls the emotion of their consumers and further degrades and demeans the role of a woman in our society. These powerful corporations like BMW and others inject the ideas of negative power to men, which provide them with the ultimate freedom to exploit woman and treat them like animals. Kilbourne points out, “male violence is subtly encouraged by ads that encourages men to be forceful and dominant and to value sexual intimacy more than emotional intimacy.” [pg577] sexuality is then a physical expression of the emotional bond between two individuals. When we relate this emotion to an “ultimate attraction”, we find that there is a...
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