When I last blogged about women in advertising, I pulled example advertisements from the past. But much to my dismay, the sexualization of women in advertising has not gone away. I was able to find many examples of women being stereotyped in current magazines when I just stopped to think about what I was seeing. (All images shown in this post are my own pictures of magazine advertisements.)
The image above shows a woman working out by flipping a tire. I am not offended by that image. However, the product being marketed is Advil that is apparently specific for menstrual cramps. When I went to the Advil website and compared the packaging for regular Advil and menstrual pain Advil, the list of uses were exactly the same; the menstrual pain Advil just had the symptoms that might be associated with menstruation (cramps, headaches, backaches) listed first. I did not compare the ingredients because I know that some ingredients can be listed under different names but actually be the same thing, and I am not medically trained enough to know the difference. However, unless I am wrong and menstrual pain Advil is actually different from regular Advil, I think this is ridiculous. (It reminded me of the controversy over the Bic For Her pens - check out the Amazon reviews!)
The above advertisement is actually for the hairdryer. I'm not sure what a woman's butt, legs, or shoes have to do with a hairdryer. We can't even see any hair in this image!
The above advertisement seems to imply that women become more attractive after drinking bourbon. I personally am not convinced that these two photos are of the same woman, considering that they have different jawlines and chins. Regardless, the woman on the right is clearly being sexualized with her crop top, skinny figure, tan skin, and seductive facial expression. Unless bourbon has magical effects I am unaware of, I don't think the company should imply that women will transform after drinking its products.
The above image is conflicting. The Nutrigrain advertisement says to "respect yourself," yet she is sexualized with her backend towards the camera and her bum barely covered. She also is pictured as a muffin, which is an obvious example of objectification. I don't know about you, but a girl in a muffin costume makes me want to dress up for Halloween, not eat a breakfast treat.
This last one is the most cringeworthy, in my opinion. This is an advertisement for a shaving device that specifically targets the bikini line. The caption reads, "More than he deserves... and less hassle for you." The man's face is incredibly creepy as he stares up at his woman's crotch, and he is in a relaxed, reclined position. All that is shown of the woman are her skinny, tan, spread legs. I'm not sure that this advertisement needs much more explanation. The focus is clearly on the man's satisfaction and not on the woman's product.
These were just a few examples that I pulled, but I am sure that you could find similar examples in today's magazines as well. One step that the media could take for the sake of equality and ending gender stereotypes would be to stop creating and printing these types of ads. I hope that as I get older, more tasteful ads appear in the magazines that my future children and grandchildren will be reading.