In one of my classes we have been talking about social issues that arise in the media that we consume every day. In a way we all have been desensitized by the constant bombardment of all this media.
Have any of you ever thought about gender codes? That’s the issue we are discussing right now. But have you really thought about it? The way women are displayed on advertisements show them in demeaning positions, as well as enforcing the stereotype that we all see women as being. Scantily clad, in positions that place women as the victim, and not focused on their surroundings. Does that sound familiar to you? It should. Open up a magazine and look at some of the ads featuring women. What do you see? Advertisements aren’t the only place you see this happening. Watch a music video featuring a male singer. Most of the time the women are featured in demeaning ways. The problem is more prevalent in Hip-Hop or Rap music videos. It’s media like this that enforces the self esteem issues, and the eating disorders that we have problems with today.
Some of you might be saying: “America doesn’t have a problem with eating disorders, we have a problem with obesity.” Yes, while that is true, this is not the issue I am discussing.
It also isn’t just women. Men are being put through the same stresses as the women are. Men are almost always shown in advertisements alert and focused, and sometimes with a woman hanging off of him. A sense of hyper-masculinity is being portrayed. But similarly with the issue with women, hyper-masculinity isn’t just in advertising. Look at movies such as Rambo, or Terminator. How are the men portrayed? Muscular, strong, aggressive, aware of their surroundings, just to name a few.
Abercrombie and Fitch ads are famous for portraying several men in all of their ads, but in order to keep their base selling demographics, they will show several half-naked men and a woman. They are trying to convince their customers that they are not homo erotic. Many people are afraid of homo erotic images.
Though times are a changing. The LGBT community is becoming more and more accepted by more people. Just because these issues are pelted at us all the time every day, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be hidden. They need to be brought to light and discussed and addressed.