<The Gender ADs Project>

 

No Product Connection

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<Background: The semiotics of advertising allow for the most outrageous connections between product and ad. In fact, we often find no representational connections in contemporary advertising. One of the common registers of print advertising is of the naked or sexually-posed woman selling a product (cf. Lazier-Smith 1989; Furham and Bitar 1993). Humans are sexual beings, but we must ask why such a limited view of sexuality is displayed in these and other ads? This limited view is a result of hegemony, and the privileging of masculinist heterosexuality. In this exhibit, there are many ads that connect a product, whether it be fishing line or a PALM organizer, to a female sexualized body. Ask yourself right now, is there any connection between the product and the image? If your answer is no, then reflect on what is happening here. Reflect on how you are being manipulated. Reflect on how this manipulation is resultant in the objectification of women. And reflect on the fact that you can avoid buying products from companies that promote these sorts of images.  The Ads: Note that the many ads below use varied techniques of objectifying women's bodies. In how many of the ads can you identify a clear connection between the product and the images? Particular categories of ads have become popular, such as technology ones for home computers, stereos and electronics. An offshoot of this category is the popular magazine Stuff Magazine. This magazine regularly fuses home electronic products with scantily clad models. Questions: (1) Are there certain types of products that seem to be associated with women's bodies? Why do you think these products are popular with this genre of objectification? (2) Why is it that advertisers do not focus on the functional qualities of their products, such as an ad that describes how a particular model of electronics works? (3) Do you believe that boycotts and other techniques can be used to convince corporations that objectifying women through their products is not legitimate?>

 

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<presented by Scott A. Lukas, Ph.D.>