By: Emilee Sievers
It is hard to imagine a time when gender was not stereotyped in the media. In Susan Bordo’s article, Hunger as an Ideology, my eyes were opened to just how hurtful our society has become when you take a look at sexist advertisements and gender stereotypes in the media. Beginning in the early years of advertising, we watched to cookie-cutter family selling cleaning products (or wait, Kellogg’s Cereal?) with harshly defined gender roles.
The ideal housewife and mother was depicted as full of energy, beautiful, a good cook, kept a clean house, and catered to all the family’s needs. This kind of sexism has been a continued issue in our culture since the mid-20th century, and some will claim that it is still is as painful as before. It can easily be argued that today’s advertisements are not displaying gender equality, but they are not as directly offensive as those early ads. Advertisers have just gotten clever and found better ways at hurting our self-esteem more subconsciously.
An important ideology touched in class and within the Bordo reading is the concept of “sexism sells”. Today’s advertisers focus on using women’s sex appeal to sell their products. Alcohol ads in particular have a fabulous way of showing sexist stereotypes toward women and men. For example, here is a SKYY Vodka ad referencing a man’s desire to have control over an attractive girl with the help of their product:
In addition there are numerous ads depicting men as filthy jerks, simply looking to get laid by a ‘hot chick’. Or simply enforcing the idea that only men enjoy beer and women will be attracted to them if they drink good beer.
It’s silly to see that our culture has become so numb to these forms of oppression, hurting our images of women and men. Unfortunately, these advertisers are very successful and enforcing these stereotypical gender roles. I believe we all have the ability to think critically about the ads around us if we remember the harsh concepts Bordo touches on and the insight Bitch Magazine shares. Yes, there are extremes in all subjects, these are just a few examples I found that have bothered me. It would be interesting to see our culture look at these advertisements and the media with the same skepticism and enlightenment.