I have a confession: I am a full-blown feminist. Being a feminist does not mean that I hate men or that I want men to become submissive to women. Being a feminist means that I believe in equal rights for both. There have been many articles circulating recently about the objectification of women in advertisements. Needless to say, I had mixed feelings toward the “Women Not Objects” video that was published on YouTube on Jan. 11. These images have become part of our everyday lives and culture, and while I appreciated the video’s message, I realized that I am no longer shocked by this phenomena. I’m both angry and sad to admit this, and hope for a significant change in advertisements.

I am outraged and disgusted by modern advertising. The fact that it is revolutionary that Aerie — American Eagle’s lingerie company — is now displaying “untouched” women shows promise, but I still find it abhorrent that in the 21st century, the idea of untouched “plus-size women” is groundbreaking when the average American woman is between sizes 12-14. I would be more taken aback to find an advertisement that didn’t use sex or women’s objectification in order to sell a product. These are the advertisements I and other feminists long for, and the ones women deserve.

For those who have not seen the video yet — and honestly, you should — it’s a group of women holding modern advertisements that objectify women. One clip was of an ad from Karmaloop, a streetwear web retailer, on Instagram with a woman wearing only a crop top and a female voiceover reading the caption, “This shirt looks too good for pants.” Similarly, there was a DirecTV ad where a woman stood as a marionette in front of the television her husband was trying to watch and a woman read the caption: “I’m only here for your entertainment.” Don’t even get me started on the Post-It ad. It’s an image of a man and a woman snuggled in bed and the woman has a Post-It note on her forehead with her name on it, implying that her partner would not remember her name in the morning. Although I don’t feel directly affected by some of these advertisements, there are countless people who are.

What I am directly impacted by are women who are advertised mostly naked except for the item they are selling. I worry for the generations to come — women like my younger sister — who see these advertisements and think that this is the way of the world and there’s no change on the horizon. I’m glad that this campaign is raising awareness of how these ads depict women. I am also starting to see hope through videos like this and social media calls for action that girls like my sister will finally see a positive change.

It saddens me that women are depicted in these ways: naked, objectified and over-sexualized. The worst part of it all — we are completely unfazed by this phenomena. While I understand that “sex sells,” I would much rather watch puppies or fluffy kittens try to sell me something rather than a “muscle man” or a “beach babe.” I fear the Super Bowl for this reason. While I oftentimes catch myself laughing or crying — the Budweiser ads get me every time — the ads tend to objectify women, and millions of people mindlessly watch this travesty occur.

There needs to be a greater shift in the portrayal of women in advertisements. The two-minute video titled “Women Not Objects” concluded with the following statement: “I am your mother. I am your daughter. I am your sister. I am your co-worker. I am your manager. I am your CEO. Don’t talk to me that way. #WomenNotObjects.” Women are objectified every day. If one person recognizes such an advertisement and refuses to buy the product, this directly affects the corporation. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “I’m one person, I’m a college student, how can I change the way that an entire enterprise advertises?” You’d be surprised. Between social media and the weekly Wednesday night calls home, this news could create a drastic change to prove that women are not objects.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.