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Ads on Women

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Subjugated Introduction For decades women have been portrayed as housewives, dependent on men and sex objects in advertisements. The topic of the portrayal of women in advertising is significant in the social realm. The dominance of advertising in our lives and its ability to persuade and shape our beliefs give it power over our society and the influence of our basic thoughts. Everywhere we turn, advertising is telling people, women especially, what it means to be desirable. Many of these messages share a common theme: women must be “beautiful”. Women have always been measured against cultural ideals of beauty, but advertising often uses sexism to make images of “ideal beauty” more prevalent and increasingly unattainable.
“The derogatory representation of women in the advertising media is more a social, cultural and economic problem than purely a physical one. The subjection of woman to indecent representation is a global one.” http://www.gather.com/viewArticle .action?articleId=281474976719311 Women in ads represent what the society holds as an ideal image of her. The depiction of women in the advertisement signifies the greater patriarchal power and dominant male discourse which is vividly present in the society. The women are almost the puppet of the male dominant society where their lives are mold well for the need of the society.
“Twenty years ago, the average model only weighed 8% less than the average woman, whereas the average model today weighs 23% less. Most models today are thinner than 95% of the population. In a recent study by Dove, the researchers found that out of the survey respondents, only 2% considered themselves to be beautiful.”http://theworldofads.wordpress.com/2007/02/07/portrayal-of-women-in-the-media/Advertising is an applied form of persuasion that attempts to inform position, convince, reinforce, differentiate, and ultimately sell products and services. But what do people, especially teenagers, learn from the advertising messages? On the most obvious level they learn the stereotypes. Women are continued to be predominantly portrayed as sexual beings, unthinking, dependent, caretakers, preoccupied with beauty. This attractive image always is a woman, who provides the “desirable” image for the ads, irrespective of her relevance to the ads. Although women are beginning to be economically independent, the ads continue to delineate domestic arena as the rightful place for a woman.
Review of 20 advertisements 1. To look beautiful has become essential to all the women. They have to work at home and work in the offices and yet have to look good to impress everyone round the clock. “Pond’s white beauty” ad is perhaps one of the most familiar brands with Indian women. It denotes change within seven days, the woman becomes fairer and on the seventh day a man loves her. Almost all of its products come with an assurance of quality and satisfaction. Beauty companies are happy to play on the insecurities of women in India and Asia, offering various creams to lighten their skin. “Pond’s pissed everyone off in India a few years ago with a series of commercials showing a lonely woman who finally gets the man of her dreams after getting lighter skin.” http://fashionista.com/2011/05/how-racist-is-the-beauty-industry-take-a-peek-at-some-controversial-ads-through-the-years/ Dove, whose “Real Beauty” ads earned a lot of kudos for portraying women of all ages, sizes, and colors, came up with new inspiration for women but ironically didn’t do good to any woman. These ads show that qualification of an individual is not important for the job but the fairness of the skin is must. Dreams of an individual woman will be fulfilled only if she has fair complexion. Though the commercials often create false consciousness, most of the women spent their money and energy to achieve what is shown in threads that are “perfect beauty” but lands up emotionally and mentally challenged, they do not love for what they are, and their self esteems are often ruined by such ads.
2. The ad on “condoms-man force commercial” which has portrayed a woman who is so excited to make love. The wife in pink night dress with her cleavage revealed is shown lying on the floor, tossing and twisting herself sexually intimidating her husband. And in few second her husband appears who has no enthusiasm to give in himself to the need of his wife. But the woman sexually seduces her husband and from the background we hear a man remarking “the excitement she cannot hide.” The room is all decorated with passionate colors in dark pink and red. She waits for her man, she is sexually driven high and she asks him to come forward. http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=E0BSokTM9Ys But the audiences enjoy the sexual acts, commercial ads always target their customers; they know the weakness of the customers; hence they use women in ads almost more than men. ‘Man force condom’ manifests the power of men in the society where women are often kept silent in the sexual role. Commercials have created a great deal of havoc in the lives of woman. 3. “Kellogg’s Special K” is a lightly toasted breakfast cereal it says “life can change within 2 weeks”. This ad connotes that to be thin is prefect image for women, everyone will envy you, your husband will love you more not only that you will have positive energy towards work. And not to be thin that is “fat” is curse for an individual especially women. Lara Dutta, the brand ambassador for the products says that a product is part of a healthy eating plan, Special K can help women manage their weight by encouraging them into healthy living through well balanced eating practices and moderate exercise. It is simple because it does not involve commitment on extra time or money. Many ads have created an image that being thin ensures women to feel confident in the way they look and feel. Women are always made conscious how they look. After eating Kellogg’s for more than 2 weeks or even more than a year they cannot look like the models used in the ads therefore their self esteems are ruined and feels that they are not fit to be in the society where being slim is being attractive.
4. The “Zatak” deodorant advertisements which overtly display “sexual desire” and are also demeaning to women , we often see how women are portrayed by media in men’s ads. The women are usually dress in shorts, on addition women usually look “wet” which denotes “sexy”. In the Zatak ad, shown below shows a dentist getting bowled over by the fragrance of her patient. She can’t resists as she is intoxicated by the deodorant fragrance that, she simply gets drawn to him as he is so irresistible. Such kind of ads exploits women and its image in the society. Women are portrayed as a pleasure giver of a man and objectified as a weaker sex who always calls for sex. In some ads there is no correlation between the act of the lady and the deodorant. But in the ad it is shown that women are weak to resist the temptations. The portrayal of women as lustily following men under the influence of such deodorants is devaluing their images in society.

5. “Johnson Johnson” baby product ads always use women to sell products. In this changing world where women now are becoming independent and self reliant but the ads continue showing stereotype belief of the society. Women tend to be better at nurturing a family, it comes with the ability to bear children, women do a better job with these tasks than men do are mythical beliefs. In the child related ads women play centre role to promote products. Women are considered to do domestic works, especially women’s work is solely to look after the kids; bathing the child, feeding the child, taking him or her to the schools and changing diaper are always associated with women’s work. Very rarely men are shown in such kinds of ads but their roles are completely different from the role played by women. Men’s role is to either “hug” the mother and the child or console them. It connotes that women are still dependent on men.

Before Now
6. The ads on “Rupa MacroMan” have been continuing for more than decades but the portrayal of men and women have never changed. In these ads two sides of men are shown, firstly a man wearing this product is shown as masculine; a protector of women and secondly men without “Rupa MacroMan” shirt is shown as exploiter of a woman. Whereas role of the woman is shown just as sexy, passive, attractive and weak; who can’t protect herself. Whoever the man be she is objectified as a pleasure giver let it be man with dignity or man without. She is looked as the same woman, who is property of a man. Even though in this ad we will see men exposing their body, but their body denotes that they are “strong”, “muscular” and brave, on contrary women’s body language will be shown in such way to gain attention for her attractiveness. She will be usually wearing short, nude or half nude and colorful dress. In such men’s products ads women are just shown as weaker sex, who is dependent on man and after all she is a pleasure giver.
7. In all the detergent ads it is always women who do the manual job of cleaning. In the ‘wheel’ washing power ad by Salman Khan and Prachi Dasi (Actors of Bollywood), Salman is shown as an intelligent man who does know best washing power which his wife isn’t aware of. Even though his wife knows products available in market, she has to agree with her husband that his chosen detergent is the best. The wife is seen doing most of the works where as the husband get playful and does less work but after all credit goes to husband for choosing the right product for washing clothes. Women are to trust the man, who comes with a force and persuades women to believe that his product works well than what she had been using. The power structure between men and women is vividly shown in such ad Salman seems to have broken the patriarchal norms where he knows the washing power and helps his wife in washing; but still she has to depend on her husband to get the things needed in the household maintenance; her husband knows what is good and bad; so Salman acts while Prachi appears in the ad. The gender performance is always permeated through such ads; men and women audience consciously or subconsciously get affected by the ads shown in the television. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3__Jos8oTYg

8. In many ads of “Tanishq” jewellery we see very passive and submissive women portrayed. Either their half face will be covered by their dress or by their hand to show women of stereotype; women who are gentle, calm, caring and over all “angel of the house”. In general Indian women wear jewellery when she attends adolescent, wearing jewellery connotes attainment of motherhood where she has to perform her duty to a man. Some women like jewellery because it makes them feel good when they wear it as it adds glamour to the outfits. Today, women around the world wear all different types of ornaments. There are earrings, nose rings, nose chains and leg chains. They also wear necklaces and beautify their wrists and hands with rings and bracelets. Some women also wear ankle bracelets and toe rings so that even their feet look pretty. Other items of jewellery include brooches, pendants; belly button rings, belly chains and armlets. What kind of jewellery it may be, its main objective is to enhance the physical appearance, feel more attractive and self confident. Jewellery ads primarily show women for men’s pleasure that she will be perfect for him. Media may sometime misinterpret instead of selling product they may sale women.

9. “Pril” Liquid’s is used to wash pile of dishes using a drop of it. In this ad we see women in kitchen doing house hold works. This denotes that women are meant to be in the kitchen and do all the domestic works. Women in these recent ads are portrayed as women who are still in the cult of domesticity even though now women are educated and they go to work like every other man. Such kinds of ad continue to follow patriarchy society and unconsciously make the audience decode that women’s job is in the four walls of the house; looking after the children and maintaining the house. Such kind of oppression and subjugation towards women are indirectly shown in all related home making ads. Some examples are “saffola oil”; where woman is concern with right cooking oil for her dear husband so that he can do his office works properly. From the very base to the top, the minimal job of cleaning is always associated with women. In no “harpic” ad would one see a man except the man who walks to the house to promote the product. Women are to trust the man, who comes with a force and persuades women to believe that his product works well than what she had been using.
10. Ads on cosmetics in the magazines always show half nude or almost nude girls. The camera focus will be less on the cosmetics but their body will sell the products. The ad attached above is an ad given in magazine, it is an ad on nail paint but focus is made on what she is wearing and her body posture; how she applies it , ironically even the color of nail paint is not shown clearly. Women are seen as an agent to market their product with the physically attraction. We have seen some of the more outrageous ways advertisers have played on our insecurities and obsession with youth over the years. Advertisements targeted toward females have an enormous effect on women's thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, and actions. Most of the time, women don't even realize these advertisements are formulating self-image issues. These ideals surround them daily and they become naturalized to the ads. Advertising creates an entire worldview persuading women to emulate the images they see all around them. In order to create a market for their products, companies constantly prey upon women's self esteem, to feel like they aren't good enough just the way they are Advertising has a negative effect on women's body image, health, and self-esteem.
11. Ads on “Lux” uses many “beautiful” women who charm man after using lux. “Lux” user can seduce man easily, is what ads are trying to convey messages. In the ads we usually see woman in the washing tub using soap to make them more seductive and sensual. The ads connote that after using this soap they will have fair, soft and glowing face and body. Teenagers are the ones who are having tough time in this commercial world. Teenage girls live on the world fed by the commercial ads. Different portrayal of men and women in the “lux” ad.
These advertisements hold a great impact and effect on the viewers especially the young ones. Very recently Lux” company have used a man (super star: Shahrukh Khan) for advertising the soap but the way he is portrayed is very much different from the way women are shown. After putting the product in use he gets many women for his pleasure; at the end it is the women who sells the products. Most of us know it’s unlikely that something in a jar or a bar or a tube can make us look younger or bring us love. But marketers have been promising women just that since the dawn of advertising: buy our product so you can be beautiful, attract a man or keep a husband. Ads in the early 20th century warned against growing “careless” about beauty regimes and insisted it was a woman’s “duty” to keep her “school girl complexion” for “his sake.”
12. Very lately ipill medicine for women which says “get back to life” came to existence in the male dominating society. Now women have right to get pregnant whenever she is ready and whenever she desires. There are countless ads which exploits women in general and a very few which are for women .I-pill ad is an offbeat brand that has just being launched in Indian market and it is an emergency contraceptive pill which prevents unplanned pregnancy. “Although emergency contraceptives pills ( EC Pills) were earlier available in the market, its only in 2005 that Government has allowed the sale of this product over the counter ( OTC).” http://marketingpractice.blogspot.com/2007/08/i-pill-get-back-to-life.html I-pill is special because it is the first brand which has been promoted heavily in media and women can prevent an unplanned pregnancy, it is neither a contraceptive nor an abortion pill. But this medicine doesn’t give full protection to the women as it is not a substitute for condoms and does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, though it has been approved by scientific and regulatory authorities as a safe way to prevent pregnancy after contraceptive failure or unprotected sex. It has no long-term or serious side effects but nevertheless vomiting, headache, lower abdominal pain, a feeling of breast tenderness, irregular bleeding and delayed menstrual bleeding are some common side effects after taking ipill. It came as a savior for women but it has its own restrictions.
13. An ad on “Sony Viao”, the top actor Kareena Kapoor is not herself any more, she is an object; the slim laptop. The ad to promote slim laptop has used a slim woman who has been replaced from Kareena Kapoor to Sony Viao. Her subjectivity is not at all used in the ads rather she has been used to show different color of laptop associated with, she wears different color of dress as to match with the laptops. Media in different ways know how to used women of all kinds, sometimes they use her face, sometimes her body and sometime even her hair. All the parts of women are given importance in promoting products but usually it is seen that camera focus more on odd parts of the body. The colored clothe has been used to show types of products. In this ad she is always found half nude with matching dress with the object and her body language is seductive and it usually associated with calls for men. The colorful “sony viao” products are focused for female buyers because women are associated with colors such as red and pink which connotes passion and love. Thus the advertisers are successful in objectifying a woman.

14. The printed ad on “baby toys” denotes different roles performed by girls and boys. Throughout the world, boys and girls prefer to play with different types of toys. Boys typically like to play with cars and trucks, while girls typically choose to play with dolls. “Why is this? A traditional sociological explanation is that boys and girls are socialized and encouraged to play with different types of toys by their parents, peers, and the society.” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist /200804/why-do-boys-and-girls-prefer-different-toys The ads are also not behind in framing roles for the children ,they have different toys to offer for boys as well girls; stereotypically feminine toys a soft doll and a cooking pot for girls and a picture book, a stuffed dog, and cars for boys. In ads Barbie ads we usually get to see beautiful Barbie girl waiting for her charming princes for her rescue. Such kind of gender bias is shown and circulated by the advertisers and the consumer accepts the products and continues following the stereotype beliefs.
15. An ad on “Hero Honda-pleasure” says “why should boys have all the fun”. These kinds of ads categories men and women. The color of the bike used is feminine color like red, pink and light blue which depicts passion, love and pleasure. We can see media have portrayed a gentle woman with sexily dressed and this simply as it is “just for her” which means this bike cannot be ride by men as it is small and soft like women. On contrary the men’s bike will be huge and the color used will be dark. Whether it be ads for women or men the media will always portray women as a weaker sex. In one of the ads of bike the woman was shown as a bike and the bikers ride on her (bike as a woman). She has been completely used as an object and shown how it is pleasure to ride on her. Such kind of ads demoralizes women in general and connotes her sexually. Through ads we can see how women are oppressed by the men and how women are looked in the society.
16. Bell Bajao- (Ring the bell) is one of the few ads which is shown as supporting women and respecting their emotions. It is a campaign against domestic violence in India .This ad has also reproduced as a motion ad in the TV. http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=zmNz0cTcxFU It is a campaign which revolves around the slogan Ring the Bell which is depicted in several situations from asking for a cup of milk, to use the phone or to retrieve a lost cricket ball. The campaign encourages community residents to pay attention to and take action when they become aware of domestic violence in their neighborhood. A mythical belief that a wife is considered as her husband’s property and outsiders cannot interfere, no matter what torture are inflicted by the husband should be halt. So such ads should be distributed to educate both men and women.

17. Ads on “Jockey” are mostly for men but uses women more than men. In this ad the girl lands on the top of a man reading a booking and entertains him while he exercises. Look at the depiction of both the roles: woman the entertainer and the man body builder, it is just how women are generally looked by the whole society. And in the ad it says ‘Just Jockeying’. It puts the brand name at the centre of communication and it stands for a philosophy reflects the just joking, just teasing, just fooling around spirit in all of us that makes for wonderful moments with girls. The first thing the advertisers do is surround us with the image of ideal female beauty so we all learn how important it is for a women to be beautiful and exactly what it takes. In men’s ad women are compulsory to play a role but major role is always played by a man both in men’s ad and women’s ads.
18. Ad on “LIC” (life insurance company), in this we can see a small family. Father, mother and the child, a perfect family is depicted; mother holding a child and father supporting them. The theme of the ad is “protect your family with affordable life insurance from LIC of India” which denotes that father is the protector. The long followed tradition that is patriarchy society where father as a head of the family and his wife as a child bearer who takes care of households. These ads are very helpful ads to the public generally but unconsciously disseminates information that male if supreme than female. Sometimes through media mythical beliefs are still kept alive even in this changing world; where all are fighting for the equal rights.

19.The advertisements hold a great impact and effect on the viewers especially the young ones .Small girls might not know the real world but they would know what is ‘good looking’ and they want to be one of the good lookers. The very latest ad ‘color bomb’ gives a lot of information on makes up and dress up for the young girls. The color bomb ad cries out loud ‘I am the bomb’ which could be decoded as something that can explode anything. The girl in the ad is addresses as bomb for she can do what she wants, a powerful girl but incomplete without make up and fancy dresses. The ad tells that girls can gain confidence and live cool life if girls have those dresses in the wardrobe and make up kits on their dress table as advertised in the ‘color bomb.’ This exciting and funky range of color cosmetics has been designed for young trendy girl. This ad tells girls how to look funky and cool. The makeup is a must to look cool which is a trend among the youngsters. It is a must to be part of the ‘happening’ fashion world. The ad tells that every young girls should own the ‘color bombs’. Teenagers are the victim of commercial ads. The television teaches a great deal of lesson to young girls, most often than not it is a negative lesson. The teenagers have world’s pressure on their tiny shoulders. They want to perpetuate and imitate the characters shown in the ads; they want to live a life lead by the models and actress as shown in television ads. Least do they care to know that often what is depicted in ads are false. But they do take it for granted which ruins their self esteems.

20. “Pepsodent” the recent ad, Hindustan Unilever’s leading oral care brand, has launched the “Papa & Pappu (P&P)” campaign to encourage fathers to spend quality time with their children and make brushing more fun. Bollywood superstar and a devoted father in real life, Shahrukh Khan has been signed on as a brand ambassador to lead by example and drive the campaign message. Here we can see, he has broken the norms of patriarchy society as he helps his child to brush his teeth, we don’t see any woman character in the printed. Now media have started to show man doing so called motherly works, but it still shows women who are suppressed. Brushing teeth, washing face, dressing the child is all considered to be the work of the mother and it is followed for ages but now women have started to do outside work equally as compared to men. So such kinds of ads are necessary to sensitize people that not to differentiate genders.

Conclusion
The depiction of women in the advertisement signifies the greater patriarchal power and dominant male discourse which is vividly present in the society. The women are almost the puppet of the male dominant society where their lives are mold well for the need of the society. The consumerism need of the people is very much kept in minds of the co-operations and companies when they franchise their products. Women are used to sell the products; they become the middle men between the buyer and the sellers. They become the object, a toy of the producer and a gaze of the buyer; who look at them with a queer look; especially the men when women are portrayed as sexual object; who are either portrayed nude, semi nude, or one who talks with husky sexy voice with low intonation perpetuating that they are sexually arouse. The women in the advertisement becomes the ‘ideal woman’; a woman every man would want to date or marry and a woman every woman want to be alike. We always see ‘pretty looking’ girls in the ads, rare are the chances to see any stout, fat, black women in ads; of course there are some ads who portray black and fat women but the message conveyed through them is ‘it’s wrong to be fat and black.’ One need to use fairness whitening cream and eat less then only one would accomplish what one desires; otherwise one is doomed.

Every second of the walking life we are told that unless we are good looking; we would ever have happiness in our lives. The slim sexy good looking models are used in the advertisements. The companies uses slogan that rely on sexual connotation to sell their products. Or semi clad models to sell their products. Sexual imageries are highly used in selling the products and women are the ones who appear as a seller to promote the goods and to intimidate the consumers to purchase the product advertised in the television. “People are more interested in sex than just about anything else. Companies like to capture people's attention. No surprise then that they regularly used sex to help sell things” (Lynn). Advertising exploits young girls' sense of self-esteem, and its ties to sexual imagery are quite direct that they prey on their sense of inadequacy about their bodies and their sexuality to sell the products of their advertisers. Among girls, it contends the slim, leggy, clear-complexioned women portrayed favorably by marketers are leading to lower self-esteem. Girls in particular experience feelings of inadequacy and discomfort as a result of ‘images of perfection’ promoted by advertising.
Advertising has always been the subject of much controversy and discussion. Advertisers will go to nearly any extent to grab an audience. The goal of advertisers is not to change society, but to sell their product based on assumptions made about an audience in society. These assumptions come from both the subconscious and the conscious minds of men and women. Therefore media plays a very important role in disseminating message to public. It should be just and fair to men as well as women.

Reference 1. http://nautilussoft.biz.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/stagi 2. http://www.afaqs.com/news/story.html?sid=20103 3. http://marketingpractice.blogspot.com/2007/08/i-pill-get-back-to-life.html 4. http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/magazines/25-woman/310-why-do-women-wear-jewellery-by-edward-qorro-and-agencies.html 5. http:// http://www.labnol.org/india/knowledge/analysis-of-lic-jeevan-varsha-insurance-policy/7381/www.marketing91.com/tag/sony-vaio-ad/ 6. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200804/why-do-boys-and-girls-prefer-different-toys 7. http://mensantiviolencecouncil.com/2010/05/11/bell-bajao-ring-the-bell-domestic-violence-campaign-in-india/ 8. http://www.adbrands.net/us/johnsonandjohnson_us.htm 9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Violence_against_women_in_India 10. http://www.indiacurrents.com/articles/2004/03/26/why-patriarchy 11. Mukri, Sujatha. Class lecture. Feminist Media Theory. The English and Foreign Language Unversity.

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