Today, people scoff and laugh at the sexist advertisements of the fifties. One might think how progressive we are in the 21st century and that sexism is a thing of the past, sadly, they are dead wrong. Sexism in advertising is very much alive and usually goes unnoticed and played off as a joke. Advertising reduces women to sex objects, and you don’t need to be a Women’s Studies major to spot the blatant sexism in advertising. Big, well known, companies constantly use the female body as a tool for their gain. Sexism in advertisements still exists today.
One of the biggest perpetrators of using sexism in advertising is PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals). They sell Animal Welfare through sex, simple as that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people posing nude, but PETA continually exploits women’s bodies to gain attention. They use images of women abused and murdered. Violence against women is an issue that should be taken seriously; not used as a cheap advertising gimmick. Jim Rigby, an avid blogger says, “If PETA is in favor of vegetarianism why do they treat women like meat?” (JimRigby.org)
NOTE: Some of the next pictures may be deemed inappropriate. Luckily, I have used my ‘expert’ photoshop skills in making the photos more school appropriate.
Next on our list is American Apparel, a store that has overpriced v-necks and a tendency to have their models wear a strange lack of clothing while modeling their clothes. Click on the sock section on their website and you will see images of women wearing socks, shocking I know, but nearly nothing else. Models lay in disturbing, pornographic poses, while they stare sexily at the camera. They sure know how to sell me a pair of sweat socks, I’ll tell you that much. Frankly, I don’t understand how provocative poses and nudity sells clothing. If I’m there to buy clothes, why would I want to see a stranger’s breasts? I want to see the model wearing their clothes, thank you very much.
In an article by E. Cain, from gender-focus.com, Cain calls out the irony of American Apparel. Cain writes, “I find it truly ironic that a company built on the principles of non-exploitation and social responsibility when it comes to workers rights, can be amongst the leaders in pushing the limits of social acceptability when it comes to depictions of women in consumer advertising.” (Cain ‘Sexist Advertising from American Apparel‘) It is indeed interesting. Some might say, “Sex sells.” Sex does sell, but it doesn’t have to be used to sell. Especially items such as scrunchies and socks. Besides objectifying girls in these ads, the other sexist thing is the comparison between the men’s photos and the women’s photos. While both the man and woman are is bizarre poses, you can see the man is much more covered up than the girl.
One of the most recent controversies dealing with American Apparel is a new ad that was released; supposedly selling pleated pants. In the ad two women are wearing said pants, but also have their head thrown back and their breasts on full display. Personally, I don’t find breasts to be a shocking subject, but are having them loud and proud on display for a pants ad necessary? This blogger says no.
Sexism in advertising is everywhere. Whether it’s from a sexist soda commercial, pens made specifically for girls, or sexist Reebok ads, it seems we can’t escape the blatant sexism posted in ads. Although the movement for getting rid of sexism in advertisement is slow and tedious, and often there is backlash from companies, it is worth it. One hopes that in the future companies won’t use sexism as a tool to sell their product. The only way to see that future is too take a stand against it, to not let such things slide by. It is a long process, but in the end will do us good.
The end doesn’t stop! More sexism from PETA and American Apparel! Click on ‘Pictures!’ in the top left and continue to see sexism!