Damn Sophie, Are You Vegetarian Because You Seem to Have a Nice Sex Life.. Oh Wait Was That Crass?
by New Phone Who Dis on February 14, 2016 - 8:45pm
Sophie Monk, a famous actress modeling for Peta is lying on a bed of hot chilies nude with a writing that says, “Spice up your life – Go Vegetarian”. The picture depicts her as a woman with bleached blond hair, red lipstick, red nail polish, red background and a wedding ring. With her ribs clearly showing and her perfect glossy skin, this ad presents an unrealistic expectation for women and the perspective they are viewed with, in our current society.
This representation of the woman encourages superficiality and a certain body image that is not necessarily achievable for everyone. Undeniably, it will have negative effects on females in society. As proven in the Cortese in Constructed Bodies Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising, “The beauty industries revised the perfect provocateur so that it would be more arduous than ever to imitate, creating the anorexic-waif model (Bordo 1193; Wolf 1991). This can only increase the anxiety that many girls and women feel about their own appearance” (62).
In addition, the use of a famous actress by a company none other than PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, shows the extent of hyper sexualization of women, and young girls in the media. Using their high standing influence over millions of people, the woman in the ad and the organization are reaching another level of degradation because of their following. Both being role models to a certain extent, the message they are giving has a stronger impact with more personal yet negative effects.
As mentioned in Miss Representation, "The media can be an instrument of change, it can maintain the status quo and reflect the views of the society or it can, hopefully, awaken people and change minds. I think it depends on who's piloting the plane” (Katie Couric). By implementing this ad in the media, PETA is keeping the status quo, even though it is regarded as a media challenging, anti-cruelty/conformity institution. This shows that society is led by corporatization and that it will resort to using the most efficient/popular type of advertising regardless of its harmful consequences.
Furthermore, the message taken from the ad is very derogatory by implying that being vegetarian is “hot” as you will lose weight, be skinny, and have a “spicier life” (referring to intercourse/sex life). The essential message here, promoting vegetarianism and cruelty-free food is respectable and fair, but the immoral depiction of becoming skinnier as you are not “living the life” the way you are now is atrocious and should not be sold on the market.
Besides, the wedding ring present on the subject of the advertisement shows the ideal that women should be chaste and should all look forward to marriage. It implies that you should be sexy only for your husband, referring to women being tools and dominated by men. The color scheme in this publicity is not to be ignored. Red signifying extreme emotion, passion, love, and seductiveness is present on her mouth, hand and on her back, areas that are considered sensual. In addition, the hot red chilies, a popular aphrodisiac due to its release of endorphins and the mimicked effect of arousal, in the background support the idea that women should be used as sex objects as vegetarianism will improve your intercourse and add pleasure to your life since such foods can be found in the diet.
Finally, I think that that the explicit message of vegetarianism could have been promoted in a more philanthropic and female friendly manner. By showing pictures of animals, facts or simply non-naked women or men, the meaning of the advertisement could have been expressed as effectively with less demeaning and unrealistic ideals for women.
Miss Representation. Dir. Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Kimberlee Acquaro. Perf. Christina Aguilera. Virgil Films & Entertainment, 2011. DVD.
Anthony Cortese, “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising”, in Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, Third Edition (New York: Rowman & Littlefiel Publishers, 2008): 57-89.