Have A Heart, Be Feminists

by Jw_Lh on September 27, 2016 - 3:58pm

In the above Peta advertisement, Pamela Anderson is show in very revealing clothing with her body sliced into sections. Also, Pamela is being called an animal when the advertisement states, “all animals have the same parts” (“The Punishment Was Death By Stoning”). While the purpose of this advertisement was to encourage people to become vegetarian with the help of a shock factor, this simply raised the new issue revolving around of sexually objectifying women in advertising. Pamela Anderson is the epitome of “a form or hallow shell representing a female figure” (Cortese 10), she is a blond haired, blue eyed, white woman with abnormally large breasts and tone figure. She also shows no signs of aging regardless of the fact that she was middle aged when she took part in this photo-shoot (Cortese 11). This is setting unattainable beauty standards for women to strive towards (Cortese 12). Peta definitely used airbrush in this photograph of Pamela Anderson to make her seem more seductive and more like the image of the “ideal beautiful woman” (Cortese 10).

            In portraying Pamela Anderson in this way can be very damaging to the self-esteems of women both young and old. Pamela Anderson is middle aged in the photograph and the use of airbrush makes her look like a young adult. She is also very thin with large breasts. These traits are not natural and few women posses them. In stressing that this is the way women should look, Peta is pushing a harmful image that the ideal woman is only young, thin and has large breasts. This can lead women to lack confidence for not having these traits and, in extreme cases can lead to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. This image can also contribute to teaching men how women should look and to shame those who have a different body type. This body shaming can lead to women developing psychological problems and issues regarding self-acceptance (Cortese 11). Another issue with this advertisement is that it compares women to animals. This is a way of objectifying women, as people can own an animal. It is a way of showing that women are the property of men and should be obedient to men. The ideology being shown through this advertisement can be very harmful to the way a woman sees them and is not a healthy image to be pushing onto women.

            This advertisement, while it does express the point that it is bad to eat meat, sexualizes and objectifies women. Peta could have used many more effective techniques to get their message across.  For example, they could have included both male and female models, hand in hand, who are fully clothed. Using models without airbrush would also make it more relatable as without airbrush, would make them seem like real people and would push the point that eating meat is eating creature. This is a way to ensure that no one is objectified and to further make the point hit home, as it would show more types of people to make the advertisement more personal. Also, the slogan could be changed to “We Are All Animals.” This is much less sexist than “All Animals Have The Same Parts,” it can also make the slogan much more personal for the people viewing the advertisement. Removing this slogan and the photograph would make the advertisement much less objectifying and sexist. Another way Peta could improve the advertisement is by adding photos of non-meat options to show the product being sold as in the current advertisement, it is not clear.

            While Peta’s message may be a valid one, they executed the advertisement in an overly sexual and demeaning way. The advertisement could be adjusted to express their message in a more effective and less objectifying manner. For society to become less objectifying to women, advertisements must contribute to the effort.

 

Cortese, Anthony. "Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising." Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising(2008): 57-89. Rpt. in Gendered World Views Course Pack. Comp. Sarah Waurechen. N.p.: Eastman Systems, 2016. 9-25. Print.

"The Punishment Was Death By Stoning." Women's Rights. Eklablog, 4 Dec. 2015. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.

Comments

What drew us to your post initially was the image of the ad by itself where the model is presented as a sexual object and in which her body parts are compared to an animal’s to promote vegetarianism. We strongly agree with the fact that the company Peta is transmitting a very sexist message by presenting Pamela Anderson as the “ideal image of the perfect white woman” that all men desire. With the use of airbrush, Peta makes her physical features look almost unattainable for others and only damages young and old women’s self-esteem by setting some “ideal image” on how a perfect woman should be. We found it very interesting when you made a reference of comparison between the model’s body and an animal’s. This promotes the fact that women are seen as domestic animals meaning that men can “own” women and are seen as if they were their properties, the same way human beings can own animals. This does not help the controversial issue of gender inequality that has been and is still present for many years. When you referred that the ad also promotes and sets standards and expectations for women to have “the” perfect body and look. This also remind us the about the TED-Talk we watched in our Anthropology class called “Race and Racism” where the man talks about a “man-box” which is when men have the impression that they have the obligation of certain way. In this case, it is a similar issue but for women. This picture of Pamela Anderson shows “unrealistic” beauty standards for women and like the “man-box”, women are lead to lack of confidence if they do not attain those expectations and sometimes feel “ashamed” of their physical appearance.

The link to the TED-Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men?language=en