It is popularly believed that a good advertisement should have a great impact on the public and to be controversial in order to gain people’s attention. It is a fact that the advertisements which have the greatest impact on society are the most controversial, in fact, some of them are usually against human rights, especially women’s rights. As a rule, publicity is more controversial when the women are concerned, due to the high level of sexism that it is shown.
According to advertisements that appear in Fashion magazines like Elle, Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, InStyle…We can see that there are different kinds of advertising: on the one hand, we can observe respectful images and slogans; and on the other hand, there are some which are disrespectful towards women. The publicity arge about big sizes, for instance, they all are really debatable because instead of showing a big size woman, it is shown a woman with a lot of curves, but not in all her body, only in their bust and hips, seemingly the erotic and sexual parts.
Furthermore, there are others sexist advertisements, like for example publicity about anti aging skin, since it defends the idea that it’s not right that women should have wrinkles, it suggests that women are not allowed to show signs of aging, whereas men are and they are free of aging also. This publicity shows that women have to look younger than men, therefore a woman has to be a slave to youth if she wants to be accepted. Obviously, women have the choice of not having wrinkles using those anti ageing creams, but it should be this, a choice, not an obligation. It happens the same with botox’ advertisements, they all refer to women, for them it seems a crime to be old, and what is more, these adverts don’t even show old women, but beautiful young ladies…instead.
Nevertheless, apparently since Dolce & Gabanna’s incident regarding one of their advertisements, one in which a rape was represented, these designers and other labels and brands have opted to use feminist images in which the female figure is the dominant one, as we can observe in the pictures above, and there are also other examples, like Gucci Guilty new advertisement in which a woman is the dominant in a sexual image.
Advertising of women’s clothes, perfumes, accessories, seem to show the image of confident women, for example: Chanel, Diesel, Blumarine, Miss Sixtu, Gucci…, But at the same time what they are trying to do is to sell you clothes, and maybe that is why they want to make women powerful through the idea of using their products.
Nevertheless, there’s one advertisement really interesting, which belongs to the brand Jones New York, its slogan says: “Women as half of all workers changes everything”, it consists of an image of nine women who are preparing to go to work and they transmit confidence, strength and power.
However, there are clinical advertisings whose slogans are: “inspiring confidence in women everywhere (The Harley medical group, specialists in cosmetic surgery women). They talk like the confidence of women consists on looking pretty, only their bodies are important. The image of women holding their children, that we can see in some advertises, is really common in our society, and I would even say that in all societies. It shows that the first responsibility of a woman should be being a mother and to look after her children, no matter whether she had a job or a career before her motherhood.
That kind of stereotype confirms that women have to make more sacrifices in order to keep their dreams and objectives alive. In fact, women have a confidence problem when it comes to the workplace. A recent survey has showed that women who don’t fulfil 50% of the criteria for the job tend not to apply, whereas more men would.
As it has been said, some kinds of advertising contribute to sexist views in society. Moreover, most of the images show that women have limitations in terms of working life and in a society where media is a predominant source, a gendered language and the promotion idealized feminine bodies and sexual stereotypes have a huge impact. Sexism is truly ingrained into advertisements and it has an impact in the audience.
Taking everything into account, I would like to say that we certainly have a serious problem where gender stereotypes are concerned. Sexism is truly integrated in society and, unfortunately, women are often used as objects.
As was previously stated, advertising stereotypes are all around and most people don’t even notice them, due to the fact that people are really used to seeing this kind of images in their daily life, therefore they see it as acceptable when it is not and, as a result, they give up fighting against discrimination.
Photographs rights: Dolce&Gabbana
© Alba Sancho
© Alba Sanchbel productions & edition property rights. 25-7-11