SEX-PLOITATION by using women in Advertisements

The exploitation of women in Ads

What are the dangers for the companies to use such types of ads?

What are the different reactions of men and women to this kind of ads ?


The exploitation of women in the media has been part of the advertising industry since its beginning, although the level to which women have been exploited has changed drastically. Advertising is a highly visible and seemingly controversial agent of socialization (Paff, Lakner, 1997). Indeed, it appears everywhere in our lives, on television, on the internet, on busses, in our mailbox, in magazines, and now in the toilets of our favourite restaurants or nightclubs. Jean Kilbourne, one of the best-known advocate of raising awareness about the exploitation of women in advertising, claims that, “we are exposed to over 2000 ads a day, constituting perhaps the most powerful educational force in society”. But the problem is that it often exploits women as sex objects and adornment strips women of their individual identities. Women are viewed as “things”, objects of male sexual desire, and/or part of the merchandise rather than people (Hall, Crum, 1994).   Body exposure and frequency of these ads have increased at an alarming rate over time.   Fashion photography has incorporated blatantly sexual poses from pornographic publications that include sexual cues, such as closed eyes, open mouth, legs spread to reveal the genial area, and nudity or semi nudity, particularly in the areas of breast and genitals (Crane, 1999).   These chest, leg, buttock, and crotch shots increase the stereotypes and images that women are “bodies”, rather than “somebodies” (with personalities) (Hall, Crum, 1994), which ultimately reflects the provocative, exploited images of women in advertising today.   Why? Because society is under the impression that “sex still sells” (Schiller, Landler, and Flynn, 1991).


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Advertisements tend to present women either as motherly figures or as objects of sexual desire with little room for manoeuvre over such stereotypes. How the images of women are used depends on the products being marketed, but in the main it appears that the more highly sexualised images are more effective at getting people to link a particular advertisement with the item for sale.

Advertisers need an audience to remember an advertisement so that when they enter a shop they are more likely to seek out that particular brand than any other. They need to convince viewers that their product offers them something which no other product does. When they are targeting men they often work along the assumption that men want to attract members of the opposite sex, and so indicate that their product is the best way of achieving such an aim.

The Lynx body spray advertisements are particularly representative of this approach. In these advertisements a good-looking man walks down a street, and sees some attractive, scantily-clad women; he sprays himself with body spray, and suddenly the women cannot get enough of him. Is the male half of the audience really supposed to believe if they use Lynx body spray that women will throw themselves at them? Surely men are more sensible than that.


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Of course they are; the advertisements work by selling the notion that men want to be attractive to women, and that women have assumptions about how men should look after themselves, which may make men more inclined to think about purchasing items such as body spray in order to comply with such expectations

An advertisement which is memorable tends to play on people’s perceptions and ideas, and can take stereotypes and give them a twist. It is not simply enough to film a half-naked woman writhing around on the floor, particularly if a product is saleable to both men and women, as many products are. Advertisers do not want to alienate half the potential customers of the company they are representing.

Men still tend to be portrayed as strong and masculine, and car advertisements are very much targeted towards them. The focus is generally on power and speed, rather than practicality, and how owning a particular car can lead to more success with women. These advertisements are hardly subtle, but most people do not acknowledge the influence that they have on their decision to buy a particular product. They probably do not realise the associations they unconsciously make between a product and the lifestyle which the advertisement is selling. That is why advertising is so successful people simply do not realise the influence it actually has.

Consequently, women’s sexuality will continue to be exploited in advertisements until sex stops selling products, which will probably never happen.


By Kanter,


by Michelle Wilkinson

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Sourcing out articles focusing on organic farming, healthy living , home schooling , GMO, human trafficking in order to benefit the community

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