This week we have one of our theme weeks again. This time our topic we have chosen to write about is feminism.
Since I’m a student of media I thought it would be only suitable if I write about feminism in advertisement.
Let me talk about stereotypes or gender-roles.
In advertisement typical associations with the gender a commonly portrayed as a part to sell the product to the viewers. So females are typically shown in ads for household products whilst using them, as well as men are shown in ads for cars or DIY’s ads. But if you look in the everyday lives of people men have to clean their apartment as well as women do and women have to DIY themselves as well, plus if you haven’t heard already women also purchase and drive cars.
But stereotypes are also used to portray women not only as housewives but also in a sexual manner. “Sex sells” as it is called, is/was an important aspect in the development of ads. This basically means what it says, sex sells products or moreover stereotypes and sexiness sells products. However since social media rose and became a huge part in our everyday lives the concept of “Sex sells” isn’t working that great any more. Due to campaigns against portraying women this way as well as anti-bodyshaming or also called “lookism” in social media, ads which use this method aren’t as successful as they used to be. Therefore some brands already understand this change and worked against this by giving their brand a new slogan and try to connect it with a new image. A good example for this is “Dove”.
In 2004 the brand re-launched their products with a new slogan ‘real beauty’. Since this launch Dove is known for their campaigns for the natural beauty of women and that every women should feel beautiful in their own skin regardless of their appearance. In 2013 their campaign for ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ was the most shared video in this year.
So you can see that some brands really try to get rid of “Sex sells” and understood early enough that the concept from the 1960s isn’t contemporary any more.
Luckily politicians have also realized this in the last time. London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan banned an advert by the brand “Protein World” around London because of it’s sexism illustration of a women in a bikini on billboards. His arguments were that it gives young women the wrong idea how they have to look like and that women shouldn’t risk their health by trying to look the same way as the commonly photoshopped model on the billboard.
Sadly this isn’t as common as you think it is. Barely any politician stand behind feminism in adverts as they should do in order to make a change. As well as, sadly the majority of companies still use the bodies of models or celebrities to sell their products. Although using celebrities in ads aren’t as successful either any more. A survey by “collective bias” showed that only 3 percent would buy products averted by celebrities.
So as you can see the whole system of how you should advertise products have changed since social media has such a big impact on our lives. This change is good because finally companies have to understand that “Sex sells” aren’t working any more and we consumers shouldn’t be pressured to feel like we have to look a certain way or have to behave a certain way.
In our society it’s cool for women to be sporty without the thought of wanting to look like Gigi Hadid, more because we enjoy our sport and want to pursuit it with a passion, no matter if I get a broader shoulder or back. It’s cool for women to like science or wanting a career rather than settle down at the age of 25 and get married and children. It’s cool for women to look the way they want to, don’t wear make-up and wear the cloths they like. It’s cool for women to like cars. It’s cool for women to be able to build an IKEA cupboard and repair the leaking sink.
Sadly advertisement still sent us the wrong impressions on all of these things and all the other things in life as well that we are not supposed to do because of stereo types hold, which also holds us back from doing them. But luckily there are also brands such as Dove who do understand that this is all a big old pile of rubbish and women are just as good as men, can do the same things as men and women aren’t just objects.
This brands and advertisements are the future and I can say that I’m more than happy that this change is finally coming.
Women have been portrayed in a sexual manner and in a stereotype since basically adverts were a thing. Finally women fought back and thanks to social media had a voice. Bodyshaming, sex sells, stereotypes are history, so only all companies have to understand that and change their point of view as well and adjust their ads completely.
Lots of love and don’t take any ads too seriously,
Jenny aka a student of media who also studies a bit of advertisment