Stereotype is generally a generalization about a group of people that other people
make based on their personal experiences or limited knowledge. In advertising
industry, stereotypes conform to a visual pattern of appearance and behavior that is
easily recognized and understood to communicate to the audiences. Sometimes
stereotype is deliberately set up to stimulate demand particularly in women and
beauty business. Producers create needs by using images of ideal women which are
unattainable for all but a very small number of women then the stereotype is
reinforced to customers by the presence of advertisement. On the one hand, this
strategy seems to have a powerful effect as beauty industries are continually growing.
On the other hand, research indicates that exposure to images of unrealistic ideal
female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of
unhealthy eating habits in women and girls.
Dittrich (1998) reports that the average person sees between 400-600 advertisements
per day, and one out of eleven of these advertisements contain a direct message of
beauty. Guillen and Barr (1994) track a magazine for adolescent girls over 20 years
and found an increasing majority of advertisements and articles promoting weight
loss, while Hertzler and Grun (1990) examined 117 magazines and found and
implication that women need to be slim, as well as fit and young, and to use cosmetic
products in order to be beautiful (Smith, 1997, p. 16). In cosmetic and diet product
industries, stereotypes are used in advertising to reinforce the importance of a thin
body as a measure of a woman’s worth. “Advertising delivers a commentary to
women that, to secure their fascination and preference of men, they will relinquish the
approval and sisterhood of women and that the sacrifice is worthwhile” (Cortese,
2004, p. 25). By presenting an ideal image of ‘perfect women’ which is difficult to
achieve and maintain or even unattainable, they are assured of growth and profits. The
past five years have witnessed the increasing sales of cosmeceutical products,
products that are claimed to have drug-like benefits including acne treatment, anti-
aging, skin care, hair care, and other professional skin protection, among women.
Industry data indicates that these products “have more than doubled in sales over five
years” (Chao, 2005, p. D6).
"Gender images hit at the heart of individual identity" (Cortese, 2004, p. 52). Many
women are used in advertisements to sell items for body. Many of these products are
specifically to enhance one's beauty and by doing this, she is more in control of
herself. In one an advertising campaign about woman body lotion, a woman is shown
at different points in her life. First as a young girl happily roller skating with friends,
then on her wedding day in her gorgeous white wedding dress with her husband, and
then at swimming pool in a two-piece swimsuit with their daughter. The secret to her
‘happiness’ is revealed as the Nivea My Silhouette lotion she applies to help her skin
look ‘fit and firm’. It suggests that using the product regularly will lead to a reduction
of fat on targeted body parts such as thighs, hips, waist and stomach. Then end with
the slogan “Beauty is feeling good, Beauty is Nivea.” At first glance it seemed cliché
and similar to other ads that reinforce the stereotype of women as a beauty object and
consider image to be of major importance. However, upon closer look it also implied
that if women can maintain their beauty, they will have it all—a happy life, the
perfect marriage, loving children, and a rewarding career. Kilbourne (1990) concludes
that it is the real tragedy that many women internalize these stereotypes, and judge
themselves by the beauty industry's standards.
While women who are...
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