Sex Sells

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Should Sex Be Sold?

Advertising today is among the most important media of the advanced world. Teens who watch television, listen to the radio, and read magazines and newspapers see, hear, or glance at advertisements. William F. Buckley Jr. speaks about Abercrombie & Fitch's advertisements in its "magalog," in his essay "Show Your I.D. Before Reading…." Increasingly, sexual content in the form of innuendo, nudity, and sexual situations and behavior is being used to sell products to teenagers and young adults. Buckley Jr. while talking about Abercrombie's "magalog" states in his essay, "The following page gives us a jaunty blonde clutching her hair, wet from the ocean she just emerged from. If she is wearing anything, it would be below her pelvic joint. Above it, which is all the viewer can see, there are no clothes" (58). Sexy ad campaigns targeted towards younger society, such as the one run by Abercrombie & Fitch, are detrimental to the lives of our teenage society.

The teenage population has grown twice as fast as the overall population in the last decade, therefore increasing the marketing and advertising to teens. The average teenager probably watches at least five hours of commercial television messages a week. This estimate of media exposure doesn't even include the countless printed ads or promotional messages seen in other places. David Leonhardt and Kathleen Kerwin state in their essay, "Hey Kids, Buy This!" that, "Combining allowance, earnings, and gifts, kids 14 and under will directly spend an estimated $20 billion this year, and they will influence another $200 billion" (83). Ad designers perceive a need to shock, stand out, and grab consumers in new ways. The use of sex has been a popular choice by many designers, especially in targeting teens. Although some of the sexual ads are not targeted toward young people, all of them appear in mainstream consumer media. As such, they are seen and absorbed by young adults, teenagers, and...
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