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Thread: Stereotypical Image of Women in Ads Now &Then

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    Stereotypical Image of Women in Ads Now &Then

    Stereotypical Image of Women in Ads Now&Then

    Jessica Rachoza

    The 1950s were characterized by the traditional television family image of
    the woman ate home, cooking and cleaning for her husband and taking care of
    their children. Few women worked and those who did where never seen as
    anything close to equal with their male co-workers. Through the years, and
    countless feminist movements and strides towards equality, this image of women
    has changed. There is an abundance of women in the work force who are
    respected and the family life has changed so that women aren’t seen as the only
    caregivers. The negative still remains, though. While the 1950’s woman was
    supposed to be a great mother and wife, the woman of today must be a great
    mother, wife, and career driven- a superwoman who does it all.
    The world of advertising has changed since the 1950s, but despite
    changes in the real world, the image of women in advertisements, in magazines
    such as Vogue, has not gone far in the direction of a positive improvement of the
    female image. Stereotypes form the past have vanished, only to have new ones
    take their place, while other stereotypes have not changed at all. Whether the
    year is 1950 or 2003, women have a particular place within the confines of both
    the society and the home that must be met. The women in the advertisements
    from 1950 and present day strongly represent the stereotypical labels of the
    particular time period and they all service the fascination with women as objects
    to be looked at.

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    Senior Member Array mrina's Avatar
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    The 1950’s advertisements displayed women as innocent, weak, and quiet
    Most women were pictured
    looking down or away from the camera-
    avoiding the eyes of the viewers.
    Another advertisement showed a
    woman shocked with a naïve expression on
    her face. The most common portrayal of women was of
    silence. Even when a smile was cracked,
    it was a closed mouth grin. The rest of
    the women all had had somber or plain
    expressions on their faces. This depiction
    of women displayed the thinking of the
    time—that women should be seen and not heard.
    Women were objects to be looked at, not intelligent
    individuals that should be listened to.
    Another element, of the notion of women as objects,
    displayed in the advertisements was the air of mystery that
    accompanied the photographs. In one particular ad, a
    woman is posed on a table, looking away from the camera
    with a cigarette posed between her fingers. Her shadow
    hovers tall above her. The pose is nearly mimicked in

    another advertisement, but the women pictured instead is leaning across the
    table more, facing the camera with her cigarette holding hand covering half of
    her face. The women are draped in a way that says “look
    at me.” The hovering shadows show the stereotypical
    notion that women need to be protected, if even just from
    their own menacing shadows. The way the one woman
    covers her face also sticks with the idea that women
    should be quiet. She is posed so that men should look at
    her, but enforces the idea that she won’t talk back since
    her hand is blocking her mouth. The women are portrayed as weak and fragile
    beings that are controlled by the power of the gaze- held by men.
    In the 1950s women were always depicted as being very dignified and
    polished, at all times. Every thing about a woman should be perfect no matter
    what she was doing. This idea is exemplified with an
    advertisement for a “walking suit.” Two women are
    dressed up very nicely in skirt suits, while out WALKING
    THE DOG! One must assume by this that women did
    everything- cooking, cleaning, and taking care of
    children- in full dress suits. But alas, it was the 1950s
    and women were always the picture of perfection,
    The best aspect of advertisements in the
    1950s was the lack of excessive female skin
    being strewn across the pages. When skin was
    shown, it was for undergarment advertisements
    and was done rather modestly. Every where
    else, the women were covered up more than
    some of the most conservative women of today. The lack of skin shown
    supported the idea of women being innocent. They didn’t flaunt
    themselves and were portrayed as pure and untainted. Even
    when they did depict sexuality it was quite reserved as in the
    advertisement where a woman has her back to the camera, the
    only skin shown is her arms and legs which are themselves
    draped in a shear covering.
    The body image of 1950s women was a healthier
    than today, but still provided an unrealistic depiction of most
    women. The women shown in advertisements were thin,
    yet curvy with a small waist and fuller hips. Their skin was
    perfect and they always looked elegant. Thus the ideal
    woman was supposed to look like the ones portrayed in the
    advertisements. The basis of all the stereotypes in the 1950s revolves
    around a basic idea that women are the object of the male
    gaze. Women are displayed in a fashion that appeals to men;
    what they want in a woman, how they want her dressed, how
    they want her to act. The women in the advertisements are
    being watched by men, as well as women, under the power of
    the gaze.
    The most noticeable flaw in advertisements in the 1950s is the lack of
    racial diversity of the women featured. Stereotypically, the only women worth
    featuring where non-Hispanic Caucasians.
    Present day, 2003 advertisements feature women in vastly different way
    than fifty years prior, but the stereotypes and negative images
    still abound. One ray of positive light is the use of minority
    women in advertisements, providing a more realistic depiction
    of society’s women. The common racial model is African
    American, which still leaves a void for all the other minorities
    such as Asians and Hispanics, for example.
    Women of today are portrayed as stronger and pose in
    more defiant stances than before. Models are directly eyeing
    the camera and asserting themselves, taking away the weak image of the past. Some women have even taken on male characteristics with a
    similar image as shown in the Redken advertisement which pictures a male and
    female, the two with the same style hair, the
    woman eyeing the camera and the man looking
    away. The weak woman stereotype hasn’t
    completely vanished, however, as the man is also
    hovering over the woman, protecting her from
    whatever she needs protecting. Women are also
    still shown in subservient poses, lying back in an unprotected
    position, vulnerable and the object of the gaze.
    The ideal female body image is much worse than in the past. Today,
    women are supposed to be stick thin, but with large breasts- a
    near physical impossibility. The body must be perfectly toned in
    all the right places and women should be willing to do anything to
    look like the models featured.
    Surgery, diet pills- anything possible
    to not have any extra weight on their figures. A
    normal body type must be fixed, and diet pills will do
    the trick! The face, like in the past, must be perfect
    and this image is held to be what all women should,
    and must, look like. While in the 1950s, women were shown quite modestly, the women in
    advertisements today are highly sexualized. The world is obsessed with sex and
    this combined with the very powerful gaze deployed upon women leads to the
    vast exploitation of the female body. A woman’s body is used
    as a canvas for art as her face is painted up in an absurd way,
    while a purse- the subject of the advertisement- is hanging
    around her neck, covering her naked body. Why must she
    have crazy make up and be naked to sell a purse? The ad
    isn’t interesting otherwise; the gaze is more powerful when
    the subject being looked at is more desirable. Another
    advertisement features a woman completely naked with her full body in view,
    posed just right as to be decent enough for a public magazine.
    The woman is naked except for one thing- a pair of shoes.
    The ad tells women, “buy these shoes and you’ll be as sexy as
    her!” And that is what society’s stereotypes have driven into
    the minds of every individual. Women should be sexy to be
    worthy of any type of respect
    and attention. Advertisements for Victoria’s Secret
    are notorious for their highly sexual models and
    photographs. Men borrow, or buy themselves, the catalogs or stare for hours at advertisements in other magazines, all just for the
    sexualized female images. Women are again beaten in the head with the notion
    that they MUST look like this. After all, it is possible; just look at all the models
    that do look like this, never mind the countless touch ups and enhancements
    that are done to the photographs.
    While the 1950s’ advertisements used women as the object of the gaze, it
    was nothing compared to the image of women today. Women today have made
    numerous gains in society and have made serious advancements as far as equal
    rights. However, women today are depicted in advertisements as objects, not
    even human. Their bodies are used to sell, to provoke, to serve as the objects of
    the gaze. Compare the two advertisements for nylons. The
    fifties ad shows a fully clothed women with the pantyhose
    hanging from her hand across her leg; a
    sexual yet severely modest pose. The 2003,
    present day ad is a far cry from the past
    image. A completely naked woman, except
    the sheer pantyhose on her legs, is crouched over so that her
    legs are the main focus. Her head isn’t shown, providing an
    inhumane look at the female body. She is an object, nothing
    more.Advertisements from the 1950s clearly look dated to any modern viewer.
    The clothes, the styles, are all absent from today’s culture, however, the ways in
    which women are portrayed in ads has not transformed much in fifty years.
    Women are still seen as objects and women are expected to look and act like
    those portrayed in advertisements. The women in these ads represent what
    society, especially the men of society, holds as the ideal image for a woman.
    While it can be argued that the image of women today is much more
    revolutionized than in the past as women are taking a more assertive role and
    influencing how their image is rendered, it can also be argued this revolution
    came at cost to the respect that is held towards women. Yes women are seen
    as stronger than before, but their bodies have become nothing more than
    objects for exploitation. The images of women today are highly sexualized to
    appeal to those looking. As in the fifties, women in the twenty-first century are
    under the power of the gaze, the male gaze.

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    Senior Member Array sunnyajmal's Avatar
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    nice info...

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    its true....

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