Women in Media

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‘The Objectification and Dismemberment of Women in the Media-A study on women portrayal in media’


Jyoti jain, Lecturer, Amity Business School, Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur (Raj.)

"Women’s bodies continue to be dismembered in advertising. Over and over again just one part of the body is used to sell products, which is, of course, the most dehumanizing thing you can do to someone. Not only is she a thing, but just one part of that thing is focused on.”   Jean Kilbourne Modern Advertising is an annual multi-billion Dollar business now-a-days. Advertising is everywhere - in magazines, on television, in movie theaters, on countless web pages, on busses, in subways and on milk-cartons. In fact, advertisements are so common in our times that we don’t even realize we are looking at them anymore. They invade not only our mailboxes, but our minds and in doing so, they contribute to the image we shape of women in our culture. Women are often presented in a dehumanized way in mass media images, their humanity sacrificed to display the artificial ideal. Women are not only turned into a thing, but the thing is broken down into component parts, each of which also represents an ideal form.  She is dismembered. The debate, whether the portrayal of women in advertising is a serious or overrated issue, has been ongoing for quite some time and the final answer may never be found. Does the objectification of women in advertising have an adverse affect on society? Is there more violence against women as a result of these images? Are women being exploited? This paper tries to find out some of the cause and effect of these objectification and dismemberment on women in common. *********

Article type: Conceptual paper
Key words: Dismemberment, Objectification, media, advertisement Sun Theme -Objectification of women in media

Media that objectify women portray women as physical objects that can be looked at and acted upon-- and fail to portray women as subjective beings with thoughts, histories, and emotions. In reality, human beings are both objects as subjects, as they are physical collections of molecules as well as individuals. To objectify someone, then, is to reduce someone exclusively to the level of object.

Literature review

A Definition of Media Objectification

Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) coined the term, objectification theory, which suggests that our culture socializes girls and women to internalize an observer’s perspective on their own bodies. When young girls and women internalize an observer’s perspective of their own bodies, they live much of their life in the third-person. This is called self-objectification.

The Objectification and Dismemberment of Women in Media

In dismemberment ads the images highlight one part of women’s body neglect others. Magazine ads show a dismembered female body, with parts, instead of the whole, a practice that according to media activist, Jean Kilbourne, turns women into objects.

Indeed, the objectification of women is evident in our society where women are constantly sexualized, but the dismemberment of women has yet to receive the consideration and exploration it deserves. Kilbourne (2002) suggested that the dismemberment of women is a monstrous problem in advertising. Typically, dismemberment ads employ female body parts for the purpose of selling a product. Dismemberment ads promote the idea of separate entities. These ads overtly and covertly encourage a woman to view her body as many individual pieces rather than a whole. Dismemberment ads leave many women feeling that their entire body is spoiled on account of one less than perfect feature. If a woman has less than satisfactory legs, then her potential for beauty is spoiled. In other words, if every body part is not flawless, then the possibility for beauty is ruined. Many women compare their bodies and sexuality to the eroticized images that are plastered on billboards and television and...
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