The Never Ending Advertising Cycle

During the SPARK Summit, I attended the “Hard-Core Media Literacy” workshop and the “Hey…Shorty” workshop on street harassment, both of which I found very insightful. In Hard-Core Media Literacy we looked at different ads and a music video and decoded how they sexualized girls and women. The reason that the media has such a big impact on us as a society is because the media knows how to sell to the public, entices us to want what they are selling. Even though they may be selling a product, they are also selling various subliminal messages to us through their ads.

The ads make us feel dissatisfied with how we are at the moment and therefore we buy into what the advertisers are selling. We hope that once we buy whatever they are selling that we will become more of what is glorified in the ad.  However, since there is no way to become this glorified image, we go back again and buy more and more merchandise and take more advice from the money hungry media. It is a never-ending cycle, that for the most part people don’t even realize they are part of. This cycle must be broken in order to stop the sexualization of girls in the media.

5 thoughts on “The Never Ending Advertising Cycle

  1. I completely agree with your ideas produced in the workshops. There are so many terrible products that are sold through the sexualization of girls. At my old school, I remember some of the girls bought this new lip-gloss that apparently made you lose your appetite. So while making themselves look beautiful on the outside, they were also starving themselves internally just to fit into social norms or stereotypes of beauty. It is messed up. The amount of manipulative control that the media world had over us is gotten completely out of hand. By spreading the word of their subliminal messages, we can let more people really know what they are buying.

  2. Advertisements leave a lasting impact. For example, with ads although you may not remember what they said, you remember the images of that ad. Every time I think of a Victoria Secret commercial/ad I don’t remember what they said but I do remember the images of extremely skinny women in underwear. I sometimes feel like they are selling a product through something. Like they sell perfume through sex, they sell food through music, etc. They use the sex, the music to catch your attention.

    I also feel they give an adjective to products to make you buy it. If you have a so-so woman wearing Victoria Secret underwear and she says she’s sexy and attractive men are surrounding her they’ll buy into the idea that the underwear will make them feel sexy (even if it does make them fell that way). I feel like fashion magazines do they same. They tell you what’s hot and what’s not, and the seasons are always changing. There’s nothing wrong with liking fashion, it’s just the way they sell it to people that bothers me. In magazines they tell girls that they are ugly for wearing the scarf from ‘last season’.

  3. Steven, it’s interesting you bring up the idea of how ads sell their products through sex appeal. As I was reading Hannah’s post, I was thinking of the common phrase we hear when it comes to adverting is that “sex sells.” Although it’s ridiculous to think that, it is very true. Most, if not all, advertisements geared towards women use sex appeal to grab people’s attention and make women want to buy the product being sold.

    It’s also interesting how you, Hannah, bring up the idea that this is a never ending cycle. I never thought about the advertisement business in that way. They put out idealized images of what’s beautiful, which then makes women buy the countless hair products, makeup, and dieting products to try and achieve this idealized image of women. However, what most women don’t realize is that the majority of females don’t and will never look like the women depicted in these ads. We also need to realize that these images aren’t the only forms of beauty.

  4. Hannah, what you pointed out is something I have noticed a lot ever since the summit. You will almost always see a commercial for liquor, for example, with either a scantly clad woman, or men. There is never a woman fully clothed enjoying a shot of Jack Daniels. I also agree with your reasoning on why we buy things from ads that degrade us. We tend to buy products because we want what the people in the ad have, and when we can’t get that we always think that by buy more of the product we will eventually be like the people in the ad.

  5. I completely agree with your statement about advertising being a “never-ending cycle”. The goal of ads and advertising agencies is to make us feel dissatisfied. They present a very limited, narrow definition of what is good. When in reality only very few people (or none) fit this definition. Watching ads makes us feel bad about ourselves, and convinces us that buying these products will make us look, feel and live like the people in the ads. However, as expected, the products do not do any of this. We, still feeling pretty terrible about ourselves, conclude that we didn’t buy enough of the product or think that it takes some time to work. Maybe even, we are so different from the people in the ad, that until we spend enormous amounts of money on the product, we’ll be nothing like them. This is just a vicious cycle, that the money-seeking advertisers want us to fall into.

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