Sorry, The Woman is sold Separately

by June on September 30, 2016 - 6:30pm

 

 

BMW, a German luxury vehicle manufacturing company released this ad in hopes of selling more of their used cars. “You know you’re not the first, but do you really care?” is what is written on the ad in a font that’s size is considerably smaller than the seemingly nude female body presented next to it. The underlying message being conveyed to the presumed male audience isn't even so much about the car, rather the woman. The ad is displaying and taking advantage of her bare body. This can be seen as the woman is lying on her back seductively and essentially seeking the attention of a man. The assumption made that of which she isn't a virgin anymore ultimately objectifies her. Since we can assume that the woman has has sex with men before, her body which is still in great condition goes to show how her virginity shouldn't even be a worrisome concern. She's still good to go. 

 

Renowned filmmaker Jean Kilbourne featured in director Jennifer Siebel Newsom's  film "Miss Representation" explains that "advertising is based on making people feel anxious and feeling insecure, for men there's a lot of anxiety around status and power and wanting to look as if you have power at least drive a powerful car". This quote relates to the previously mentioned advertisement since the male audience perceiving the ad will want to attain that sense of power in two ways. The man will feel powerful by being able to show off his fancy car which will be feeding his social status. Also, feeling as if he can win over any attractive woman down the road is the main goal here. Having a car goes beyond serving the purpose of getting from point A to point B, it now seems as if it is now a fancy ornament and bait to lure women.

 

The reason this advertisement is so concerning is because of its objectification of the woman. There's a reason why renowned corporations display the skinniest and ultimately so called "perfect" women. Sex sells. The prettier the woman, the less clothing she wears. The narrower and more symmetrical her features are, the more views it gets. What they fail to realize is that while they're ads are gaining views, young girls and women and losing their confidence. Bulimia is a severe issue often seen in young women who try to meet social standards. Since the media is filled with skinny, beautiful ladies being drooled all over, they too want to be like them. It isn't some sort of coincidence that all these women are so similar. As explained in author Anthony Cortese's article: "Women are constantly held to this unrealistic standard of beauty. If they fail to attain it, they are led to feel guilty and ashamed. Cultural ideology tells women that they will not be desirable to, or loved by, men unless they are physically perfect,". A comparison can be drawn between the woman and the car. The car's milage represents the woman's sex life. Even though the car has been driven for miles and miles by different people it is still in great working condition to keep going. The girl is then expected to also keep in tip top shape while still having all that sex for as long as she can before breaking down. In the end, both the intimate object being the car, and the dehumanized female, will both serve the purpose off fulfilling the man with the feeling of power. 

 

The advertisement might not seem to be as problematic at a first glance, but once it is thoroughly interpreted, it most definitely has issues regarding the sexualization of women. The product's ability and effectiveness to sell as well without the nudity is highly questionable. Rather than revealing a woman's body which isn't for sale, they should be displaying and capturing stunning images of their luxurious automobiles.  

 

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

 

 

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. Rpt in 345-102-MQ: Gendered World Views. Montreal:Eastman,2016,3-19.Print.

 

Comments

Katrina Goudreau-Weaver
Emily Dang
Latesha Hamilton
As we were scrolling through the articles your title immediately grabbed our attention. We found it insightful as it pointed out just how blatantly sexist the advertising industry is. This ad shows how women are seen and used as objects to sell their products. They are often portrayed in a sexual manner to encourage product sales.
When you spoke about Jean Kilbourne, it made us think about the "man-box" as it makes men feel insecure. When they see this ad they are expected to find the woman in this ad attractive and forces men to feel like they have to acquire power, and that their cars are the way to do this.
The "man-box" is a term used in the TED Talk "A Call to Men", where he discusses the pressures that men feel by being forced into the "man-box". We see this ad as another way to keep men in this box, by promoting stereotypical images of men.
https://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men?language=en

About the author