The influence media has on society is often underestimated because it contains subliminal messages that are, by definition, absorbed unconsciously. The media, including magazines and television commercials, normalize attitudes toward sexually explicit images, gender roles and unrealistic body expectations. In particular, the article "Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt," the author, Jean Kilbourne argues that advertising has acquired an important role in portraying females as objects and normalizing overall attitudes toward the female body. In contrast, Susan Bordo's story "Beauty (Re) Discovers the Male Body" focuses on the distorted image of the male body. In spite of describing the same issue from two perspectives, these two authors reveal the negative impact of advertising on the understanding of individuals viewing advertisements, whether they are billboards, covers of glamorous magazines, or advertisements on television. Not only are the negative impacts shown in advertisements, there is a trend of provocative and dehumanizing images in comic books, as well. Although, one can agree that men feel pressure to fit within a masculine role and women objectified as sex objects as in Kilbourne and Bordo, it is important to extend their ideas to children who are sexualized at a very early age in both advertisements and comics alike. Both Bordo and Kilbourne express criticism of media and advertising that objectifies females, evaluating them just from the viewpoint of physical beauty.
Although Bordo addresses the culture of displaying male bodies, she still criticizes the way women are misrepresented in relation to men. In particular, she stresses, "Women are not used to seeing naked men frankly portrayed as ‘objects' of a sexual gaze" (Bordo 119). Males often feel uncomfortable to be the ones being gazed at because they understand the reverse role, in which they are the gazers scrutinizing and judging the female body. Explain Quote.
The first image depicted is a Bacardi advertisement. Like many advertisements, two women surround the man in the image. In this particular image the readers see two women clinging to a muscular man, one pulling his button-up shirt open, revealing his very muscular stomach. The other woman in short shorts hands the man a Bacardi beverage while he embraces them both. This image portrays men as sexually promiscuous. One woman is not enough, a man must have two and in order for a man to be a "real" man he must be charismatic, aggressive, physically fit, and capable of pleasing two women the ad implies.
Male sexuality has been brought into comic creation as much as female sexuality. The trend in male superheroes is quite obvious in their physical fitness and all sense, masculine appeal. Most if not all male superheroes are characterized by well-toned bodies, muscles and handsome faces. Their voices are also ever too perfect to appeal to most women. Male objectification could be a bargain from the feminist platform to feel equal or more domineering over men. The female fatale in Powerpuff girls clearly states “sending me to jail would be a blow for all womankindincluding you (Equal Fights). This is meant to appeal to the women to stand together and objectify men in order to get equal with female role objectivism.
Undoubtedly, most women who begin to watch comics innocently expect entertainment until they realize all these aspects about the characters and in their subconscious watch them to appease themselves. Since men have been the gazers in objectification, it becomes a little uncomfortable to realize that women objectify them, as well. These means that a man will be shocked or even angered when his wife suggests that he work out more, not that he would not like to be fit but because he has been compared to something at the back of her mind. ‘I spent a very unhealthy amount of time obsessing over Alan Davis’ Batman when I was growing up, and although, at the time, I thought it was perfectly innocent, I know now that I was secretly thrilled by his broad shoulders and long legs.’
Sexual objectification is the connection between ads and comics. Its intention is not to create an ideal role model that the sexes should emulate. Rather, it intends to cause one sex to desire the other, to create appeal from either side. Unfortunately, this has been misinterpreted by most audiences since a very tender age. Such feel the need to look and feel like the super heroes. They are thus not content with their personalities and beat punish their bodies to become like Wonder Woman. In their minds, the slim woman with a small size waist and height as the ideal woman in mind and will do anything to become like her. This is even worse in the cave bee objectified case of children who have been sexualized. Powerpuff girls were previous child heroes, but who later became the sexy heroes like any other. The ideal woman is, therefore, painted in the minds of the audience from a very tender age. Of course, such thinking will lead them to have low self-esteem among other personality problems since they wish to attain both the characters of strength and remain the epitome of beauty. Wonder Woman is described as ‘a feminine character with all the strength of a Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman (Smith 128). This image is motivated by both ambition and feminism.. The use of male role objectivism has extended both ways, in ads and comic books. This is because they are as effective as they have proven and may thus be used in both categories. Do they appeal to the right audiences in a sexual way and what is a better way to stir desire than that? The queerness in these roles is that they are mostly realized in adulthood when people get married. We do not realize the effect that objectivism has on either sexes in early age. It is, however, a gradual process by which desires take root in the minds of the audience concerning the objectified sex. All this, however, happens in our subliminal minds.
In Kilbourne, men's negligent attitude toward female bodies is emphasized. In particular, the author assumes, "there is a world of difference between the objectification of men and women. The most importance different is that there is no danger for most men, whereas objectified women are always at risk" (Kilbourne 279). The second image is women standing in what looks to be a vending machine, whereas a young man has the chance to choose one, as he would pick his favorite drinks. In the case of an advertising campaign by Red Tape, it is suggested men can "Live Your Fantasy" as the ad puts it. This suggests that men can live out his fantasy of having whatever he desires just by pushing a button. Not only are the women portrayed as objects like a flavored soda but as the advertisement suggests they are open for business "24 HOURS." The message that is portrayed in the image is that women are easily attainable, and a man may pick and choose. It is especially disconcerting given the fact women are often less physically powerful, and too often have been taken advantage of throughout history.
Although the emphasis is mostly on men and women and their perceptions in society, children can also be threatened by provocative ads. In particular, advertisements tend to assign children with roles that are traditionally performed by adults. Kilbourne warns about the threat of violence against children, particularly against little girls. She addresses the topic of a Canadian.
Judge’s accusation of a three-year-old girl and her alleged sexually aggressive behavior. "The deeply held belief that all women, regardless of age temptresses in disguise, nymphets, sexually insatiable and seductive conveniently transfers all blame and responsibility onto women" (281). Therefore, the last picture of a little girl dressed as an adult distorts the traditional view on children's behavior. For instance, the photos made for the French Vogue editorial in 2010 feature six-year-old models in, provocative positions with a rather obvious sense of sexuality. The girls are portrayed as objects of sexual desires, by dressing them in sexually appealing dresses, putting bright makeup on their faces, and placing a word "Cadeaux" (it translates as "gift") on every image of the young models. The girls are positioned as gifts for anyone who purchases the magazine, and is sexually obsessed with little girls, which should be particularly alarming for readers with children.
In conclusion, society is receiving many messages from advertisements, frequently without being aware of it. Some messages are that men are expected to fit within a masculine role; women are objects to be desired and attained easily and that it is okay to view children as an older, more sexual version of themselves. Because these is a sexually provocative era, where advertisements are everywhere, it is essential that parents monitor what their children are viewing as their minds develop. It is even more important that parents intentionally discuss and refute many of the messages implicit within the advertisements.
Men fitting within masculine role: “Commited”-Harris
I first saw hints of this superheroic objectification as I walked out of 300 a couple of years ago, and overheard my friend saying to her husband “Why don’t you work out more?” They laughed about it, but he cringed
Women objectified as sex objects: “Wonder Woman”-O’Reilly
For example, Richard Reynolds suggests in Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology that Moulton designed Wonder Woman’s physical appearance and costume to appeal to men’s sexual domination fantasies (34).
Children sexualized at an early age:
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