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How Useful Is the Notion of Either ‘Objectification’ or ‘Stereotyping’ for Issues of Gender Representation in Contemporary Advertising?

  • Date Submitted: 06/13/2013 07:38 AM
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How useful is the notion of either ‘objectification’ or ‘stereotyping’ for issues of gender representation in contemporary advertising?

This essay evaluates whether the notion of objectification is relevant to study the issues of gender representation in contemporary advertising. The objectification theory was developed to explain the concerns of women on their portrayal in the media. Since the 1960s the feminist movements has criticises the portrayal of women in advertisements. The women have been portrayed as sex objects and in suggestive poses to entice male attention and sell products.   There has been a change in the portrayal of women in advertisements as the status of women changed in society. The plethora of sexual imagery in advertisements raises the question whether women are stereotypes or objectified in advertisements.
Sexual objectification is described as where women are only viewed as objects of desire and sexual pleasure. In contemporary advertisements women are sexually objectified to sell various products and gain attention. Objectification in advertisements shows women as decorative objects and the emphasis is on physical attractiveness including prominent displays of the body and sexuality. When a woman is objectified in advertisements her being human is undermined. Objectification limits a woman to her appearance and she becomes a tool for some other purpose. Many advertisements show women as passive and as an object of desire.   The objectification of women suggests that women can be touched or used since they have been commoditised. This objectification of women is obvious in contemporary advertisements; erotic imagery has become a part of advertisements.
Tuchman a prominent feminist sociologists, introduced the notion of “Symbolic annihilation” to study sexism in media and the phenomenon of media trivialisation of women. The nascent women’s movements also addressed the issue of images of women in the media and social roles. Betty...

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