Television commercials that American firms use are majorly aimed at heterosexual clients. However, in constructing the advertisement messages, advertisers have always used women subjectively to satisfy the heterosexual male consumers. The most television commercials that have raised gender violence issues include cloth designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, and Duncan Quinn. Other fast food commercials such as Burger King, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., and Arby’s commercials, which all portray the same idea of eating meat being associated with men also violate women since they associate male satisfaction with women alongside their products. The only question that a person would ask is that do these advertisers target only men with their ads, or they also wish to lure women, whose gender they violate.
Advertisements are instrumental tools of shaping perception, and should therefore be used subjectively to shape positive mindset instead of dividing the audience along gender roles. Advertising doesn’t just sell things; it articulates values and builds meaning, sometimes through constructing stereotypes that simplify a complex trait such as gender” (Freeman and Merskin, p. 464). Several commercials, women are mostly used as subjects of the men, and heterosexual males consume products that attach their satisfaction to women. Calvin Klein ad, the company released suggestive images of one woman with three men. The woman was lying half-naked under on the lap of one man, another man bending over her and the other sitting with bare chest next to her (Sanchez, p. 2). The men had their trousers loose and unzipped as the woman lay suggestively (Green, p. 3). Duncan Quinn, who is a well-known suit maker, has an ad that leaves us with question of whether the advertiser intended to show the impression of the half naked woman, or the fully dressed man standing next to her in a suit (Win, p. 3). From this ad, one could ask himself if the woman has been sexually violated or if the man has such intentions (Green, p. 7). The violation even comes out more considering that the man standing next to the woman is holding her with a necktie tied to her neck. Finally, Dolce & Gabbana also consistently markets itself as a nervous brand. It ran an advert in Esquire that it later retracted after receiving discouraging comments from the public. In this ad, the company published one woman lying under a muscular man. She is in the company of four men, with two of them having half-buttoned shirts and the other two without shirts (Wade, p. 4).
Even though this appears to be a universal stand that advertisers should balance their gender presentation in advertisements, some people believe that some women enjoy sexual objectification. These proponents of women sexual objectification in ads argue that popular culture has played a great role in shaping the minds of women ever since they are young girls. These women grow up used to the messages and images consequently, they enjoy the roles women play in TV commercial, and some of these young girls even wish to participate in ads when they get the opportunity (Zimmerman & Dahlberg, p. 74). It is also a fact that men are comfortable with these ads since most of the world’s populations are heterosexual in nature.
Despite the fact that these TV commercials support patriarchal gender roles, on the other hand, they undermine women and treat the latter as subjects to the men. These ads undermine the matriarchal gender roles and portray women as means to men’s ends. Critics who argue that it does not promote family viewing have also criticized sexual Objectification of Women in Advertisements. These sexually abusive commercials provide images that are inappropriate for general family viewing. For instance, the aforementioned commercials among several other commercials in the American production firms have scenes that are overrated for children below sixteen years. However, they are shown on screens when all members of the family might be viewing the television together. This lowers the dignity of women in the family including the girls and their female parents.
Several television ads in the American production industry have always used women objectively to increase the appeal of these ads. There have been varied opinions on the use of these commercials with some people arguing that these ads violate women while other believe that these women themselves do not have a problem with these ads and they enjoy sexual objectification. Advertisers use women in their ads as means to men’s ends. These ads associate satisfaction of the men to come alongside women. Advertisers such as cloth lines such as Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, and Duncan Quinn as well as fast food commercials such as Burger King, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., and Arby’s commercials sexually abuse women since they portray women as sexual objects. However, these commercials not only present violence against women sexually, but also undermine matriarchal gender roles that women play in the family. Additionally, using women subjectively in TV commercials present scenes that are unhealthy for general family viewing. In my opinion, I believe that these commercials have sexually abused women and the advertisers should be conscious of the messages they convey when they construct the commercials aimed at the viewing and persuading the public to buy their products.
Dominic Green. 15 Recent Ads That Glorify Sexual Violence Against women. The Business Insider. May 18, 2013, 12:22 PM
Jean Kilbourne. "Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt": Advertising and Violence. Berkeley, California: Free Press, 2012.
Freeman, Packwood, & Merskin, Debra. Having it His Way: The Construction of Masculinity in Fast Food TV Advertising. In L. Rubin (Ed.), Food for Thought: Essays on Eating and Culture (pp. 454-471), Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. 2008. Print
Wade, Lisa. “Rethinking the Famous Dolce and Gabbana Gang Rape Ad” The Society Pages. Web January 21, 2011
Sanchez, Karizza. “The Most Controversial Calvin Klein Ads.” Complex Style. Web September 7, 2013
Win, Sandra. “Disturbing Sexist Ads: Duncan Quinn Suit Campaign Depicts Strangled Woman.” Web December 31, 2008
Zimmerman, Amanda, and John Dahlberg. "The Sexual Objectification Of Women In Advertising: A Contemporary Cultural Perspective." Journal Of Advertising Research 48.1 (2008): 71-79. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.