What does advertising stand to do? Sell an idea? Product? Brand? This can’t be so bad. But it’s what is used and how it’s used that makes advertising such a detriment to our society. Women have long been the focus for selling things. Tall and skinny, perfect hair and smooth skin — these are all what we’ve been told time and time again are what makes something desirable, from a bottle of perfume to a run on the beach. There’s no doubt this facade is see-through. We flip through the pages of magazines, turn the TV channel, scroll past an ad on Facebook, and know that what we see is “touched-up.” But we continue to remain brainwashed by this nonetheless. We make our future feel grim when we allow ourselves to believe we cannot meet these expectations set by our society.
Women have become objects. Big lips, thigh gaps, revealing clothing, and so much more are making young women the focus of sexual desires. These ideals are continuously making it difficult for women to walk down the streets by themselves safely. They are making it impossible to feel beautiful without a threat coming their way; without feeling like they’ll ever be enough.
Last year, a quarter of a million teens alone underwent cosmetic surgeries. What is this saying about the culture we have created for women?
Be aware that the video linked in the article has 1 use of strong language and some disturbing images, as it frankly tackles the social impact of the normative sexualisation of females across our media, not least advertising.
Can such campaigns work? Media content won't be transformed by this, but it will increase awareness of the issue and maybe lead to more single issue campaigns such as the anti-page 3 campaign that has seen topless, often teen, models removed from The S*n, with Murdoch himself tweeting that this was maybe an idea beyond its time.
The difficulty of addressing such issues without being censored by the very same media that are being protested against is notable, with social media offering a distribution outlet independent of the old media giants (all of which are gradually being dwarfed by the new media giants though!)
(The S*n hasn't exactly gone PC; it recently invited readers to submit cleavage selfies for a boobs of Britain competition. Unilad reported on some of the satirical responses this generated, often men photographing their chests; as with the video, be aware that there are sexualised images, and that comments, as with so much of social media, are often crude. See this UniLad article)