Sexuality in Advertising- An Occurring Issue
English 319:08 Ms. Syed December 11, 2012
Abramovitz 1 She arches her back, glancing at the camera with a look of ecstasy. Water pours down her body, wearing only soapy suds from the loofah in her hands. While a pink bottle of ‘Herbal Essence’ body wash sensors a mature view of this woman’s body, the tagline on the side reads “Our new moisture-rich lather turns H2O into H2Ohhhh!” This is a real advertisement Clairol for Herbal Essence body wash, but there countless advertisements like this one that American society is bombarded with on a daily basis. These ads use women’s sexuality to sell both high end and everyday products to consumers. Even though the objectification of women in advertising has become more apparent and worse, it is not a new phenomenon; instead the insecurity of women experience through comparing themselves with idealized women in advertising has been an ongoing problem since the 1920’s. As fashion changed though women's social empowerment so began the sexual objectification of women in advertising. The iconic figure of the Roaring 20’s was the Flapper. In Edsels, Luckiest and Frigidairies: Advertising the American Way, a flapper is defined as “A women who could vote, work, drink, and smoke". (327) Women became more empowered to vote and to go into the workforce, and such large social changes brought new fashions. The once suppressed woman changed out of frumpy petticoats and into short beaded dresses. These were reflected in the flapper style and impacted the sale of silk stockings. “Silk stocking initially had been regarded as a luxury item … few of whom felt any great compulsion to display their social status in such items. But since silk stockings carried status, once they were made more available to middle and lower class women display became almost a necessity …. Women would become increasingly self-conscious about their legs". (Mquade and Wright 327-28) Silk...
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