Analyzing an Ad: Women in the Media
by dustydonald on February 24, 2017 - 3:58pm
Analyzing an Ad: Women in the Media
Fashion brands and cosmetic companies have been infamous for negative gendered messages being portrayed in their ads. Many have argued that these major corporations are the biggest contributors to sexual objectification of women. However, this theme has also been noticeable in other types of advertisement.
The 2016 Ford ad, published in India, conveys negative gendered stereotypes. The positioning of the characters indicates male superiority, placing the man in the drivers seat. The women are portrayed as possessions of the notorious sex offender, Silvio Berlusconi. Additionally, the compromised status of the women negatively depicts gender relations. The ropes suggest female incapacity in the male perspective. This alludes to gendered perspectives in developing countries, trivializing the subject of domestic violence. Lastly, the women are portrayed in revealing clothing, reducing them to sexual objects. The message that women are sexual objects resonates through the ad, showing that even while they are being raped and beaten, they still need to look “sexy”. The gendered messages being conveyed in the Ford advertisement reflect the dehumanizing nature of the male gaze. This gendered view places women in a vulnerable position relative to a famed sex offender. This depiction discourages the development of sexual equality and the perception of women as humans.
We should be concerned with all these negative gender messages for several reasons. Firstly, the objectification of women creates personal relationship issues. In the movie Miss Representation, we learn that American teenagers spend more than 10 hours a day consuming media, most of it filled with content that objectifies women and distorts their bodies. (Siebel Newsom) The objectification of women strains emotional interactions, reducing women to their looks. The objectification of women in the mainstream media especially undermines romantic interactions. These stereotypes encourage the suppression of women as sexual accessories. This exclusion of the female perspective fosters unequal relationship, dominated by male desire. Secondly, this issue is a concern as it affects the self-image of young women. Again, we learn in the movie Miss Representation that women respond to advertisers’ messages of never being good enough: American women spend more money on the pursuit of beauty than on their own education. (Siebel Newsom) Women nurtured with the perspective of male superiority struggle to succeed. They are indoctrinated with the belief that female self-worth is defined by physical appeal. This ultimately retrains the ambition of developing women. Additionally, this belief radiates itself on society at large, suggesting women are not suitable to work in male dominated industries. . Finally, this advertises rape culture, which can influence young minds and make these habits more and more frequent, increasing the risk that women become victims of domestic violence.
There are many simple ways to fix this ad and continue to sell the product. First and foremost, Ford can advertise the company for the actual use of the car. Ford can apply the rhetorical technique of logos to sell their vehicle. By creating a logical need for their product, the advertisement will stimulate supply and demand. By portraying a family without anyone being objectified, tied up, or degraded sitting comfortably in Ford’s product, everyone who sees the ad will understand the use and benefits of the product. Objectification is a simply a construct of a sexist worldview. There is no correlation between sales and the degradation of female characters. Thus, there exists a variety of non-sexist ways to advertise a car. Ford can appeal to a wider demographic through a more neutral approach. By relying on the universal and logical appeal of the car, Ford can avoid alienating women. Ford is presented with the opportunity of sparking a gender revolution. The influx of advertisements portraying women as equals to their male counterparts will gradually change gender dynamic across the world. By gradually introducing ads that positively depict women, Society has the potential to adopt a new gendered perspective.
Miss Representation. Dir. Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Virgil Films & Entertainment, 2011. Film.
Stenovec, Timothy. "Ford India Ad: Car Company, Ad Agency Apologize For Figo Ad Showing Gagged & Bound Women." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 23/03/2013. Web. 24/02/2017.