No, a woman is not a game.
by .__. on September 24, 2016 - 5:33pm
Link to the picture: http://creativecriminals.com/print/playstation/touch-both-sides
In 2014, Sony released this highly controversial ad to sell their PS VITA. The product was indeed failing compared to the other handheld competitors but such an action screams desperation. This advertisement compares a very strange woman with two pairs of breasts on each side of her body to a video game console. Perhaps to indicate that both sides of the handheld console is just as smooth as the skin of a woman. She seems to be dressed for some kind of party. The body takes half of the image space to make sure that we look at it first while the text and logo takes almost no space. The phrase “Touch both sides for added enjoyment” is used to attract male buyers and has a highly sexual connotation. These grotesque elements form an almost surreal advertisement. It is surprising to see Sony attempting to use sexual images since they never needed sex to sell their products in the first place.
When most people look at this advertisement, they probably just think it's funny and there's nothing wrong with it. However, that is the main problem. “Since gender roles are so pervasive and deeply ingrained in our psyche through cultural transmission, cultural patterns of gender interaction often seem to be taken for granted as natural and, consequently, unchangeable.” (Cortese 80) In other words, people don't really question the gendered messages constantly being sent to them by advertisement because they become natural over time. We become subjugated to mass media easily and their social rules become ours.
Literally everything about this advertisement dehumanizes women. The face, which is the most expressive part of a person’s body, is hidden. She is shopped to look like some sort of monster solely created for pleasure. The slogan depicts her as a sexual object. She is even compared to an object that is mainly used for entertainment purposes, a video game console.
Although the main target of this advertisement is the male audience, it is likely to assume that one of the possible gendered messages conveyed here is that women are to be used as sexual toys. Women can feel constrained or even disturbed by this fact but the advertisement also project this mentality to men. It is saying that men should view women as mere objects used for entertainment and that it is entirely forgivable to do so. In many studies, people have found that men often commit sexual assaults. One study points out that one in twelve men would rape if they wouldn't get caught and another study had 51% of its participants having assaulted sexually (Cortese 82). The first statistic is significant because it means that men are slowly getting to the point where law is the only barrier behind rape. This advertisement promotes men as a sexual human being by pointing out that sex is just a game, further enhancing the desire of men to commit rape or sexual violence.
The advertisement presents the breasts of the woman and the thin waist as a symbol of beauty. These symbols are harmful to society in general because they make consumers want to achieve impossible standards. Many advertisements in media has engendered a wave of anorexic and depressed women and this one is no exception.
The core concept of advertisement is tied to attracting its consumers using surreal or even fake images. There isn't much that can be done about that. However, consumers need to understand that the messages sent by advertisement should not interfere with how society functions.
If I were to fix this advertisement while also selling the product, I would simply put some of the gameplay footage or the best pictures of the games instead of a woman. This would make the advertisement less immoral and inform the consumers about what the product actually has to offer.
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.