With: Dr. Strangelove

Class Notes Retrieved from June 22, 2011:

  • The required reading assigned for this class was the following article, ‘Empowerment/Sexism: Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising.
  • Even though advertising today no longer portrays women as the passive and objectified victim, the new form of empowerment through the sexualisation of women`s body is even worse
  • According to the author of the article,  Rosalind Gill, women today are portrayed as active, independent and sexually wanting, and not seeking their worth through the male gaze but to please themselves at the same time appearing to attract men = `pseudo empowerment`
  • This so called empowerment is actually disadvantageous because women themselves inflict such male evaluated cultural ideals on themselves through their false sense of agency
  • According to Rosalind Gill, the objectification of women has become `pleasurable  and self-chosen` as their physicality becomes a commodity by advertisements to feed the male gaze
  • The new wave of natural beauty in advertising = falsely conveyed the idea that any woman looks that good especially naturally because ads fail to reveal the invisible (behind the scenes) work that makes them look that good. For example, actor, Megan Fox, in the following ad:
  • Behind the scenes there are many unnatural things that  create this natural beauty in ads such as air brushing, touch ups and digital manipulation
  • Unfortunately, there is really no true female empowerment to be found in advertisements since the women in the ads are not truly natural regardless what they are trying to portray
  • Women still undergo the same stereotypes and face commoditization and sexualisation
  • Therefore, when comparing to the ads in the past when women were more objectified and the new wave ads of today where women represent such an `empowerment` there really isn`t much difference other than the style of advertising, the woman is still be used in an unrealistic manner to fulfill the gain of profit (woman = commodity in the corporate world)
  • False representations of women in ads as well as social construction of gender in regards to the male gaze
  • Style and technique in ads changed in order to target women consumers
  • Ads reflect what is going on in the big picture – society but spice it up with individual`s wants, desires and dreams
  • In the article, it mentions of 3 common representations of women in contemporary ads which are:
  • (1) the young heterosexual desiring midriff

  • 2) the vengeful woman set on punishing her partner or ex for transgressions and

 (3) the hot lesbian who has another hot girlfriend

These stereotypical characters which are used in contemporary ads convey wrongful meanings of women to society. No gender should be characterized since it shoud be the individual that defines themselves. These ads limit beauty and concentrate on what is considered sexy and claim that women hold power through their looks…is that the only way women can feel empowerment and is this really empowerment? If I am desired should I feel like I have power and if I do is this the power I need to hold to liberate myself as a woman? Ads   only create this power for these characters in order to interest the public into buying their products. In my opinion, the power in these ads are illusionary and fake which to me is just another strategy on the market.

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