Kellogg's Brainwashing

by satellitedl on September 12, 2015 - 3:05am

Link to ad:

Despite its innocent goal of selling cereal, the ad has much deeper psychological effects on both women and men. The ad's ability to impose gender roles and norms is problematic, as it provokes sexism in society as well as supporting the patriarchal world we live in today.

First of all, the ad's portrayal of a woman is as such: a woman is a sexual object whose only role is to look beautiful and to please the man who owns her. It is apparent via the slogan, "The look that makes him look again", as it justifies the usage of dieting as a means of shaping up by mentioning the man and how he may enjoy looking at a slimmer body. This is problematic as the repeated exposure to the norms and cultures within the ads inadvertently causes viewers to apply the included roles to their own lives (Cortese 57). This in turn provokes sexism in our society, since it makes viewers believe in gender roles such as a woman's obligation to find and be able to please a man; women are often and usually depicted as submissive in ads (Cortese 58).

Furthermore, many different interpretations can be observed in the same ad, meaning that it may hit harder for certain individuals such as women with low self-esteem. It is known that ads which depict perfect women are usually altered, putting much greater pressure on girls and women to look perfect (Cortese 59). Not only that, but the ad's slogan along with the scantily-clad woman smiling may even cause girls to believe that they will be unwanted unless they cater to the standards set by the media. This results in the blatant support for the patriarchy, as it directly links a woman's value with how much men approve; in the ad, it is apparent via the man sitting down and dressed modestly while the women is showing the results of her dieting efforts.

We should be concerned about the gender roles depicted, as the use of gender roles in ads has been rife since the 1970's and it is known to have negatively affected young women for generations and causes them to view themselves as sexual objects who are supposed to look perfect and satisfy men (Cortese 58, 61). The image of a perfect body usually causes body-dysmorphia in women and may provoke such conditions such as bulimia or anorexia, which can both be potentially deadly (Cortese 61, 62).

Although many faults can be observed, the only real way to fix the ad is to completely reinvent it so that it does not play on insecurities of the women who see it. The slogan would also have to be completely re-done, as it is one of the main factors causing the gender roles. One way to fix the ad is to tout the health benefits of the cereal; the woman should be an average woman instead of a model. The resulting ad would be one without the usual representation of women as sex objects in order to guilt the woman into consuming the product.

Word Count: 513


Works Cited:

Cortese, Anthony. Provocateur. 3rd Ed. ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008. 57, 58, 59, 61, 62. Print. 


I chose to respond to this particular post because I originally thought it was about a different type of brainwashing from the title. As I read on I found out that it was about portrayal of women and it was very interesting.
I can relate this to the course I'm taking of race and racism because from what I read the major problem is that women are being treated as non equals. They are being seen as objects for men and are being portrayed in society in one stereotypical way. In the article "Human Races: Biological Reality or Cultural Delusion" Darren Curnoe says that we are all a single species, Homo Sapiens. If us humans would stop trying to categorize and label things so much maybe we wouldn't have so many issues like racism and sexism.
There is no denying that many people still view women as objects for men and see them as not being equals.Do you think that racism is worse than having sexist, stereotypical views of women, or does one build off the other or are they both equally bad?