Yesterday in my feminism class, a class dedicated to reading and reflecting on the work of feminist writers and advocating for girls’ rights in our society, two speakers came in to discuss the sexuality of girls in the media and efforts being made to end this portrayal of women. I found the day to be thought provoking and insightful and it really pushed me to view media in ways I had never considered.
One thing that we discussed that really resonated with me was how advertisements appeal to women and men in their ads. As a future marketing major and having looked critically at ads before for a research project, I found this portion of the discussion repetitive yet captivating; but it also had me realize something else – at some point in my future, I’m going to be taught and expected to do this. To show boys and men as active, strong, and independent and girls and women as needy, sexy, and domesticated, all to sell some chicken or a pack of cigarettes.
Of course not all ads are negative or display one set persona; nothing’s wrong with a commercial that tugs on your heartstrings and makes you want to buy some Cheerios for your baby. After all, that’s the main purpose of advertising and marketing – to get the consumer to feel in order to buy. However, it’s still an issue that men, but especially females, are being portrayed in a way that makes judgments, is often racist, and overall, falls short of what its really like to be of that gender.
And then something came to me.
The future of media is what we make of it. If I want to work in the field of marketing but I’m tired of me being sold to me, and others like me, in racist, sexist ways, I can do something! I can change that! I, and others like myself, can market in a new way; have people feel in a different way, still using the same techniques but making room for people to see and identify with whole girls, healthy girls, accurate portrayals of males and females in the media nationwide.