Monday, May 8, 2006

sexist advertising


something's been really bothering me and it's the portrayal of women in the media. Of course we are all disgusted by the overuse of the female body to sell products. But there is a more subtlety disturbing portrayal of woman and it is that of the "perfect mom". Not all advertising is bad, but I'll give you an example of one that is. the scenario is a mother, perfectly groomed standing in her immaculate kitchen, making food for her family while they all sit at the table waiting for her. everyone is smiling, nobody is helping her, and nobody says thank you when she brings over some gourmet desserts. is this a perfect world? the woman is still depicted as a servant and the husband and children are taking advantage of her. here is another example: the husband is holding a toilet bowl cleaner, not sure how to use it, and currently on the phone to his wife who has to remind him of the chores that she previously assigned to him. maybe this is supposed to be a funny way of showing that woman really can be the boss, but underneath that you realize that she has always done all the cleaning. our young boys see these commercials and think that maybe that's the way women are supposed to be treated. our young girls see them and think, maybe that's all women are good for. Now I kind of like cooking and i realize that cleaning has to be done. i am honoured to be responsible for a family, but the hidden messages i am getting sometimes insult my intelligence. the worst of course is the false sence of importance and pride a woman is supposedly supposed to feel for her ability to flaunt her body. what about the theory that it seems like the only way to control a man is by arousing his faculties. Is that all we've got?

9 comments:

Seaneria said...

It's basic biology that you should be upset with! I did a study this semester on the theory of androgyny with aging. The theory asserts that gender roles begin relatively androgynous and then are polarized with the birth of children. In late adulthood, as children vacate the nest, gender roles return to neutral and women become more assertive and instrumental, whereas men play a far more emotional rule... now before you say "well I know so and so" or "but my cousin's friend's brother has a girlfriend who had a dog bred by a guy who...", it's a general theory with many exceptions but much support. Where does this tie in? As children are born, mothers, evolutionarily speaking, have taken the role of primary care giver for the infants, a role that spans several decades. Mothers are engineered for this role both biologically and emotionally as they can produce milk for the child as well as they posses, and Brittany Spears is an exception to this rule, a superior ethic of care. Playing to stereotypes when they are so often fulfilled is clever marketing... also trying to justify or find moral principle in the word of advertising is like looking for straight guy at a Clay Aiken concert! I love to cook and clean, though I lack many of the necessary skills through poor socialization and laziness, but I'm not offended when i see a business man playing golf, driving a convertible Camero and listening to whatever butt rock was big when first tried on tapered jeans while drinking a bud. These are some ramblings on the topic and I've just realized my side tracks have cost me all coherency and before digging deeper, I'm going to toss in the towel. Bottom line, and to quote Harvey Danger, "All around the world I see that only stupid people are breeding, the cretins cloning and feeding, and I don't even own a TV..." Capitalist media becomes as competitive as anything else and as such gains become measured by fiscal efficiency rather than humanitarian strides, in such a utilitarian value system the best we can hope for is to find what's real to us and not get sidetracked by the 'glits and glam'!... I always love your blog posts Halli...peace I'm out.

phyllis sweetwater said...

sean i'm glad you can back up my simple ideas with indepth study and stats. the advertising world is not just "playing on our emotions" but setting a standard for weak minded people to live by. I see the same subliminal messages widening the gap of racial differences. Malcome Azania once said the portrayl of black people on MTV makes us look and think like we are all gangsters and drug dealers. our children should not be exposed to this falsehood. then every weak-minded person (unfortunately there are alot) thinks it's true. like i said on lisbeth's fruit basket - TV can kiss my ass. ew.

elisabeth said...

sean's comment reminds me of the ads selling diamonds for mother's day. the actual physical rock is pretty cool but the traditional culture and status symbolism surrounding it has just become ridiculous. i don't want $699 diamond earrings for mother's day! i was wondering too whether women really want them because they think they are beautiful or because they have been told throughout their lives that this is what they should desire. i just want big fat kisses and hugs for mother's day. or $699 in cash would be alright too...or $699 in chocolate...

phyllis sweetwater said...

happy mother's day liz didnt you know the more your spouse spends on you, means the more he loves you.

Seaneria said...

I never cared much for diamonds and certainly not shelling out money I didn't have for one but for me it was a way of proving devotion... if a guy 17 grand in student loan debt with a constant bank balance of under-ten dollars in his account buys you a stone worth more than his bike + truck ( at the time... both have gone with my domestication) you better believe you loves you and is serious. Granted Niki could have guessed how much I adored her from other areas such as the way I looked at her or treated her but it was nice for me to have to work for her. If only guys got a wedding Santa Cruz Bullit (Mtn. Bike) or Wedding Tools (guys like more practical things). Oh and to clarify my first comment I was not trying to justify the use of stereotypes as I am vehemently opposed... I was just saying that holding a standard-less world to any level of moral responsibility may be chasing for snipes. What may be better is either to train your children to recognize and step over misused stereotypes and forge their own identity or just not to partake in media that presents such images. Both are things I know you do Halli! Happy mothers day and as a gift let me remind you of how wonderful your children are and what a tribute that is to their wonderful mother. Peace.

elisabeth said...

haha yeah.

phyllis sweetwater said...

i agree the more one sacrifices the more their love is proven. Sean i know you've proven yours. I cant hold the whole society responsible for stereotypes, i guess i just hold the individual people that i know personally resonsible for succuming to the false reality of it. Yes i will teach my children not to be enticed by the sexist or racial images in society, but my job would be made alot easier if certain aunts and uncles wouldnt buy my daughter white, blonde, barbies wearing pink spagetti strap mini dresses. I had a hard time convincing her that it wasnt her prettiest doll.

Seaneria said...

She thought that was her prettiest doll? It was what a B cup at best? Kidding. I hate Barbies so don't bring me into this! Blame my wife. But in her defense would it have been better if she had a useless chubby boozing barbie? or do they not make Brittney Spears Barbies yet. ZIIIIIIINNNG! Besides at least Barbie has some curves, the anorexic trend of todays pop culture would send the traditional Barbie into a shame spiral! Imagine a Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton Barbie... not cool and very similar to the creepy alien figurines. She has you for earthy goodness, as an Uncle or an Aunt our role is to be "crazy", "creepy" or have some other severe socio-functional glitch to make their lives seem more "normal". Peace.

phyllis sweetwater said...

so how would barbie fit into your theory on androgyny with aging? I'd say she's about 70 years old? How's her continence holding up? I definetly agree with the polerizing thing, it has hit me in the face. i look forward to the day when i can be more assertive again. At least i can still pee on barbie.