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How does advertising affect women’s self esteem?

Todays advertisement is highly provocative and sexualized.  The models that we see in the advertisements are always beautiful with great skin, perfect make up and very thin.  The ads always show the women in a sexual manner; she will be positioned in a very sexual way, for instance with her legs open or she will have the male gaze.  Her face and body language will look seductive; she’s ready to be viewed by a man.  These kinds of advertisements are affecting women self-esteem today. Many women look at these ads and they feel they are not up to their standards; some women do not feel beautiful enough.  The women in the ads are beautiful, but many of the images are altered to make them look perfect.

Women are suffering with poor self-esteem because of advertising campaigns.  Many advertising campaigns show unrealistic portrayals of women. Many of the images of digitally altered.  For instance, airbrush is a technique that is commonly used.  The photographers airbrush the pictures to what they believe looks good.

The article “Women suffer poor self esteem due to air brushing in advertising” from The Telegraph, discuss how this has a negative affect on women.  The brand Dove conducted a research in which they questioned women about their thoughts on advertising. There was a total of 96% of women who said they felt models used in beauty ads were not a realistic interpretation of women today.  There were over 40% who said advertising made them feel self conscious about their appearance.  There were 20% that said they felt less confident in their daily lives as a result of such images.  Many of the women said they wanted to see real women in the advertisements.

Dove has the campaign,”The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” , they started this campaign because they wanted to address this problem in advertising by using real women from all different races, shapes and sizes.  By conducting this research, Dove learned that women want to see real women in advertisings.  They want to see people like themselves on the advertisements.

Gregor Nentwig discusses how much sexual content advertising has in his work “Advertising Affects Self-Esteem”.  Advertisements have an increasing content of sex and sexism towards women and the result of this is women begin to have distorted images of themselves.  Many of the advertisements have young, sexy and thin women posing in provocative positions.  For instance, the Guess ad below shows the model laying next to a male.  Her legs are slightly open and he is grabbing her leg  while she is touching his chest.  The ad is very proactive when women see these kinds of ads, they see how beautiful the model looks with her perfect skin, hair, and makeup and it makes them question the way they look.  It seems that when women look at these images they forget that these images are digitally altered because real women do not look that way.  Another ad shown below is Naomi Campbell advertising Dolce and Gabbana’s fragrance.  She is topless and she is covering her breast with her hands.  What was the point of this ad, her nudity has nothing to do with the ad.  They believe her beauty and sexuality will sell the fragrance.

How advertising affects women’s self esteem is an issue that we are aware about because we hear about women discussing it or we hear it in the news.  The models in advertising have a negative effect on women, but the ones who are affected the most are young teenage girls.  They see the images of very thin models, for instance in the Victoria’s Secret catalogue and they want to look just like them.  This causes eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia.  They are two of the leading eating disorders upon women.

Anorexia is very common among young girls between the ages 15-19 years old.  This is when the person does not eat in order to be very thin, they look abnormally thin, but they still believe they have not reached their goal and continue to get thinner.  Bulimia is when a person lacks control of their eating and they over eat.  They eat excessively, but they cause themselves to vomit what they ate.

These diseases are a very serious issue because its very common to hear about a young actress being anorexic or you will see on the news about young models dying because of anorexia.  They wanted to be thinner in order to make it in the entertainment industry.  These are the images we see in the advertisements; we see very beautiful and very thin girls.  Not everyone desires to look the way the models in the ads look because some people are very comfortable in their skin, but it does affect everyone in a certain way.  The way these products are advertised needs to change to positive women.  Dove has done a great job promoting their products so everyday women can relate with the women in the advertisements and be comfortable in their skin because its ok to look different we are all made in different shapes and sizes.

I wanted to ask people how they felt about this issue, I interviewed a few women and men to see how they believed advertising affected women’s self-esteem and how it affected them personally.

Question: How does advertising affect women’s self-esteem and how does it affect you personally?

Responses:

Valerie:

The way everything is advertised turns me off.  I don’t want to buy it because the marketing is so negative and it portrays women as objects.  If I do not like the advertising I will not buy it.  I do like the Dove Commercials because they show real women and they essentiate real women’s bodies.  I believe advertising affects women’s self-esteem because women are treated like objects in the ads.  The ads essentiate women who are not real; women who are airbrushed to look that way.  I believe this also affects the way women are treated.  For instance, women in the workforce and in the family  do not get the respect they deserve.

Keri:

Most ads have super model skinny girls with perfect hair and unrealistic body types and that affects the way women feel.  We do not feel good enough about ourselves.  Then that makes guys standards too high because they expect for us to look like the girls in the magazines.  For instance my brother is in love with Megan Fox but he expects to find a real girl that looks like that and I told him thats not happening.  A real girl will not like that. I also know someone who suffers from anorexia thanks to advertising; my friend will always compare herself to the models in the magazines and wished she looked like them.

Peter:

I believe it brings women’s self esteem down because women will try to be something that they are not, the women in the advertisements are altered to look that way and no one will actually look like that.  Then guys standards get too high because they expects the girls to look like the women in the ads.  Which makes it more difficult to get into a relationship.

Phylicia:

Its a subconscious reflection of society’s idea of perfection. In order to adhere to society’s high standards, today’s females loose all sense of self.  Personally speaking it took e a while to realize that we are not all supposed to be the same. God made differences among us but advertisements promote perfection.

Candance:

Overtime the advertisements have gotten better and what is portrayed in the media.  Whats considered attractive are thin women, it reinstates American ideas of beauty.  It makes women feel less perfect.  Especially affects teenage girls.  That’s who I’m worried about because as a young girl I remember it affecting me much more than now.  Now I’m older and comfortable with what I look like.

 

Sources and Links:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6662958/Women-suffer-poor-self-esteem-due-to-airbrushing-in-advertising.html

http://www.cambridgedocumentaryfilms.org/beyond.html

http://neovox.journalismaustralia.com/advertising_effects_ewo.php

http://www.popcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/topless-naomi-campbell-dolce-and-gabbana-ad-photo.bmp

http://sites.google.com/site/mediasportrayalonwomen/Home/bulimia

Categories: Women in Advertising

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June 10, 2011 1 comment

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