What We Look At When We Look At Ads

by Using on September 27, 2016 - 1:36am

Ads are tools that companies use to commercialize their products. However, behind the purpose of selling products, advertising has serious “gendered issues”.


American Apparel is a great negative example that shows how an ad can downgrade and narrow women’s personality. In AA’s ad “Summer’s Coming”, the shooting angle right aims between a woman’s waist and thighs. She is barely naked but wearing a brown bikini. Her hands relax around her hip, and her red finger nails shines beside her bottom bikini. The hand position grabs views’ sight on her “triangular part” and forces view to focus the product that they sell – the bikini. The image is accompanied with a slogan right above, and says “Summer’s Coming”. The slogan can be explained literally that a hot season is coming, but with a provoking image beneath, it can also be seen as a reference to an orgasm. However, this ad is just one of many sexist ads that exist in our world today.


Why sexist ad is a huge problem in the society? The reason is that they are promoting a wrong gender value to the public. In ad “Summer’s Coming”, the woman in poster has no face, and the first step of objectification is by not showing faces. This ad transforms a woman, a human being to an object fulfill with sexual desire. Under the influence these ads brought to girls, they start to see themselves as objects. The documentary Miss Representation rings a bell to us and says that:

                 “Girls are learning to see themselves as objects. American Psychological Association calls self-objectification a national epidemic: Women and girls who self-objectify are more likely to be depressed, have lower confidence, lower ambition and lower GPAs.”


When girls are consuming the idea of self-objectification and behaving like objects, what are boys going to do? They are going to objectify girls as well and treat them like objects. According to an expert in Miss Representation, the objectification of women is the first step to justify the violence against women. If we let go with sexist ads, we are poisoning and harming our child. The documentary shows a surprising data that “American teenagers spend more than 10 hours a day consuming media, most of it filled with content that objectifies women and distorts their bodies”. As we know, teenage is an important time for our kid to build up a proper world view. If they are surrounding by these absurd ads and brainwashed by the implanted idea of objectification of women, they will not grow up to a better person who believes rights should be equal.


Dehumanizing female character should not be a main stream in today’s society. There are many alternative ways to sell a same product. A young lady can lie on beach with her face and the bikini; a middle-age lady can lie on beach with her face and the bikini; even an old lady can lie on beach with the same position and the same bikini. Beauty has no boundary. Projecting perfect slim body all the time abolishes each woman’s identity in terms of turning them into the ideal woman figure and objectifying them. Therefore, any body size, age, race or whatever, they all should be the key characteristics within ads. Only when we verify women’s identity, their image can be round but not flat to against the objectification.


When we look at ads, we look at dehumanizing females. Popular media makes girls objectify themselves, hurts their confidence and self-esteem. Media makes boys normalize the objectification of women and teach them that it is ok to be “rough” to girls. Pop-cultural is not raising our kids in a right way and we have to fix it. Hopefully next time, when we look at ads, we look at something different and something good.



Works Cited

Miss Representation. Girls’ Club Entertainment, 2011. DVD.



What drew us to the original post is the title “What we Look at When We Look at Ads” because advertisement is a major aspect of our society. Moreover, the ad from American Eagle of the young woman’s body lying on the ground where we only see her waist and thighs is very shocking. After reading this post, we were really disgusted to see how women are objectified in media because it has many impacts on young girls and boys. Girls grow up thinking that they should look and act like sexual objects and the message that it sends to boys is that they should treat them as inferior. That being said, it often leads to violence against women when they get older because it teaches them that it is normal to act like that towards them.

As we saw in the article called “Children are not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race” by Erin N. Winkler, children are well aware of differences between skin colors at a very young age. The reason why discrimination against “races” is often noticed at a very young is because parents and teachers do not teach them that it is wrong. The same phenomenon happens when it comes to gender differences because kids are surrounded by sexist ads. The same thing should be done for race and gender inequality, in other words, explain to children at school and at home that women are equal to men and that what they see in ads is not the reality.

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