<The Gender ADs Project>

 

Body Parts I

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<Background: Women’s bodies are objectified in common ways. In the case of many popular ads, the objectification of the woman occurs through the association of her being with her breasts. A woman is told that she is no greater than her breast, and, similarly, men are told that the only thing that defines their being is their obsession with women's breasts. This is one of the most disturbing forms of objectification that is seen in popular advertising.  The Ads: Notice that all of the ads use women's breasts in a normalizing and objectifying manner. Ad 26 makes the suggestion that a woman's breasts must conform to specific societal standards-a theme common in popular movies and television. This theme is taken to the pathetic level of a typology in ad 4 and 19. Also notice that image 2 depicts objectification of women even when a female body is not present. Some individuals wish to deny the power of advertising in our world. Interestingly, this trope illustrates the widespread nature of the problem. These ads are drawn from all sorts of products, brand names and situations and, yet there is one predominant theme illustrated in each of the ads.  Questions: (1) What is the cultural/political source of the obsession with women's breasts? (2) In advertising, is there a male body part that is comparable to the commonality of the female breast? (3) Some people might say that breasts are used in advertising because they are common sexual depictions in film, magazines, and other forms of popular culture. How do you respond to this assertion? >

 

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