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Men Act; Women Appear

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  • April 2011
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Maleigha King
Final English Paper
Wilson
11-28-09
"Men act; Women appear"
John Berger once stated, "men act; women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at." Berger describes this sort of duality of existence in a women wherein she is constantly conscious and concerned with mannerisms; basically, there is always a part of her that it outside of herself and watching with self-discriminating attitude. (1) A women is "the surveyor and the surveyed." (1)

This quote can be taken in several different ways, one being advertisements. While being viewed in advertisement terms we are convinced that it represents stereotypical gender roles. It states that men are shown in advertisements as the more important role, while women attract the consumers. Back in the 50's we had "The Marlboro Man" which clearly represents stereotypical gender roles in the past. In order to escape the idea that Marlboro cigarettes were feminine they used the "Marlboro Man" to expose the perception that they were edgy, strong, powerful, and masculine. Another example would be Virginia Slim cigarettes. With Virginia Slim ads we see the statement, women watch themselves being looked at, being portrayed. Sure, it makes you think that if you are a female and you smoke a Virginia Slim you will not be frowned upon. Although, looking deeper we find that men are portrayed to be dominate even in these ads. The slogan for Virginia Slim is, "You've come a long way, baby." Using the word 'baby' screams out a sense of satisfaction, a type that makes the women believe that if a guy were to be hovered over them watching them smoke, they would be amused. Also, the product is advertised and named as 'slim.' Could this be a way of reassuring the female of their insecurities? Throughout advertisements I do agree with Berger's statement.

Not only is Berger's statement shown through advertising, it is shown through the way women are viewed in films as well. Many people back Berger's...

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