Are we still marrying for love?

by Westsiderep on September 25, 2016 - 11:26pm

In 2002, a Brazilian jewelry company released an advertisement portraying a woman with her legs crossed and a man kneeling with a closed box. In the next picture, he opens the box revealing an engagement ring and the women’s legs uncross. This advertisement promotes the message that offering a women jewelry leads to sexual favors in exchange. Furthermore, it portrays women as sex objects for men. This ad attacks and degrades both genders by reinforcing the image that men are sex-craved individuals and that women are passive and subordinate. 

This ad from Natan’s jewelry promotes the idea that an engagement ring makes a woman and her body the property of men. This woman is being sexually objectified to sell products. Many ads that feature the female body in a provocative way, such as this ad, convey “the explicit message that women should submit to the desires of the intruder.” (Cortese, 85) The woman in this ad is selling her body for a ring which is closely related to the concept of prostitution. Also, the main focus of this ad is the woman’s legs which are skinny, hairless and perfect, which is one of the many expectations set for women by the media. This demonstrates how important appearance can be to a woman, especially in western culture. Media has brainwashed women and men into believing they need to conform to a certain body type: “Cultural ideology tells women that they will not be desirable to, or loved by, men unless they are physically perfect.” (59) The media overwhelmingly portrays women as young and sexy but rarely acknowledges their achievements. The media has led men to have higher standards and women to become focused on achieving these standards, which is only possible through consumer purchases or surgery. This ad also suggest that women are so drawn to marriage that they would sacrifice their purity in exchange to be a man’s wife. The man in this ad is degraded because he is portrayed as a sex-craved individual, not any better than an animal. The ad infers that a man only wants to be married if sexual favors are involved, completely disregarding the idea that marriage is the celebration of love between two individuals. Although the reader cannot see the man’s body, this post gives the sense that the man is dominant over the submissive woman. To sum, by reinforcing these images of femininity and masculinity, both genders are being degraded by this advertisement. 

Women are too often sexually objectified to sell products. Furthermore, according to Cortese “Advertising is not solely used to sell brand products and services but also to help shape social attitudes on relationships and on the roles and statuses accorded to each gender.” (74) Therefore, it is alarming that every day, consumers are brainwashed into believing that there is an ideal figure for women and men and these ideas shape our society and the world for future generations. Furthermore, this ad perfectly demonstrates that sex sells in our contemporary society. The ad transmits the sexist message that marriage is so essential to women and that they will even lose their virginity in exchange for marriage. 

In order to fix this advertisement, while still promoting the engagement ring, I would completely change the setting and context. First, I would show both the woman and the man’s full body in the ad. The post needs to be unretouched and both people need to not look physically perfect. The woman should not be overly made-up nor wearing degrading clothing exposing cleavage while the man should not be insanely muscular. This would promote the message to women that they do not need to look like these retouched models in magazines in order for men to love them. As well, I would place the setting of the ad to be a date between the two people to show that the two people are in love. By doing so, it would not convey the message that men only get married for sex and women because their life goal is to be wife. Alternatively, both people should be getting married to celebrate the love they share for each other. 

In conclusion, Natan’s jewelry company advertised a woman’s body in a provocative way in order to sell its engagement rings. Although this ad blatantly demonstrates how sex sells, it is even more alarming that every day there are new ads with similar messages. Consequently, society has become so habituated to this type of publicity that these sexist messages often go unnoticed and actually shaped the way we see gender. 



Works Cited

Cortese, Anthony. "Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising." Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, Third Edition. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008. 57-89.

Juergen, Michelle. "13 Sexist Valentine's Ads That Prove How Out Of Touch These Companies Are." Mic. N.p., 11 Feb. 2014. Web.