Women as Commercial Objects

I just hate all those stupid commercials and advertisements, Mauritian or International ones, where women are ‘used’ to sell products that has nothing that directly revolve around the woman. Or the subject of ‘femininity’.

I am far from being a feminist and I am not speaking based on my religious convictions. However, as a woman,  I feel deeply concerned that the woman body keeps being used like that. I know this has been going on since a long time and many voices have been raised against it. Why are those voices falling on deaf ears? Why letting the female body be ‘exposed’ in such a way?

Woman represents beauty and sensuality. This has been true since the dawn of time. And I agree that it must be ‘appreciated’. But are those commercials and advertisements really ‘appreciating’ feminine beauty? They certainly ain’t. Instead, they are trivialising it. In addition to that, they are projecting the false image of what truly constitutes the real beauty of a woman. How many teenagers and adults are being influenced in ‘shaping’ their bodies into those most-of-the-time photoshopped models? And that, at the expense of their health?

Somehow, women have driven themselves to this point since this world is becoming more and more materialistic. Money. Sex. Greed. Selling her body to ads companies is an easier way to make money. And it pays a lot! Moreover, they have to make the most while they still can. Some don’t hesitate to go the extra mile as physical beauty does not last forever.

I am really at a lost as to what can be done to stop using scantily dressed girls and women in everything called publicity. Still, maybe The Little Red Book launched in February 2011 by the Association of Advertising Agencies (AAA) on its Code of Advertising Practice for Mauritius, is a step in the right direction. It can be read from that code of practice that “women must not be treated as objects in advertising especially when her image has no direct relation with the promoted product or service” and Advertising must take in consideration the evolution of the respective roles of women and men in society . . . It must represent women as equally capable, responsible and independent in the conduct of their activities. In addition, neither the picture of a caricature denigrating the role of any person in a couple, nor the representation of an excessive dependence of the character with respect to the products promoted must be displayed. Advertising must respect the dignity of women and men.” Now, how many will abide by these is left to be wondered!

I cannot see how this ‘situation’ can get any better. I cannot see the time when women will say enough is enough and we would actually see an alcohol ad being about alcohol, chocolate being about chocolate, cars being about cars, tools being about tools…calendars being about months.

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6 thoughts on “Women as Commercial Objects

  1. Ok, your post deserves a more thoughtful comment:

    You are right in your observation: women are used as commercial objects in adverts. This is not surprising though. Sexuality always sells, and this is booth babes present mobile phones, new tech, cars … at conferences.

    This is also a direct consequence of evolution. Evolution favors the fittest and the most sexually attractive. Good looking women have noticed that they get more attention and more advantages just for being beautiful, and they would be stupid not to reap out on that. So, using the principle of laziness, what do you think would be the best option of an attractive women: lounging around in a bikini while being photographed at getting paid at $200 per hour, or cooking in a McDonald’s kitchen and spoiling her looks for $8 per hour?

    You cannot go against nature, unless you somehow establish that having honor is more advantageous from a survival point of view. Tell that to Ned Stark!

    • Sexuality sells. Yes. But if there were no models to ‘portrait’ the product, if somehow women just said no to this, it would not have taken such ‘ampleur’!

      “and they would be stupid not to reap out on that”<– Seriously?!
      You really think that? For me, it is stupid to put a price on your body and to expose it in a freaking commercial that will provide some minutes of pleasure to some people. After a while, she'll be forgotten, no matter how beautiful she is. It only lasts for a while! Doesn't she prefer to invest herself in something more worthwhile, maybe one which pays less, but which is actually more gratifying? Why accept being 'used' like this? Only one motivation: MONEY!
      What about self-esteem? 'self-preservation'? Why turn femininity into something that is vulgar and cheap?
      I am not saying a woman has to cover herself from head to toe. And I am not going against nature since this is not nature. It is pure greed and wanting more with minimum effort!

      Evolution favors the fittest for a reason: survival of the species / for reproduction. We humans are above other 'animals'. We have intelligence. We change and adapt to the environment being created around us. That environment helps defining our personality and how we behave with other fellow humans in that same environment. So if we are pushed further into a materialistic world, of course, people will favor ways in which money is easily obtained, without doing much.

      Honor and dignity are qualities which are getting rarer and rarer. Funny thing is, the rarer it gets, the more it is prized. And not necessarily in terms of money.

  2. Nothing spoke to me more than Jean Kilbourne’s work regarding gender advertising:

    The other parts of “Killing us Softly” are also uploaded on the same youtube channel if I’m not mistaken.

    I find it truly fascinating that this objectifying of women in media is so deeply ingrained that most people don’t actually see it anymore!

    • Thank you for that video! I’m going to watch it right now!
      And yeah, hence we can say that those people in the media/adveritising did a pretty good job. They have gone through the ‘trivialisation’ of the affair in a such subtle ways that it is accepted and not seen as something ‘vulgar’ and ‘degrading’. Instead, you are ‘praised’ if you act in the same way. Again, they did it with money on their mind.

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