The notion that media portrays a mirror image of reality is far from the truth. Modern day media and advertisements do nothing more than render fantasized conceptions of reality. With the media continuing to have an increasing role in today’s society, it is hard to escape or deny the messages sent to men and women alike. With the majority of media viewers being young people, the messages sent towards them are often destructive.
Media tends to strive to show what women, in particular, should look and act like. There are countless acts of objectification and sexualization of women in modern pop culture.
It seems that the only women allowed on TV or in magazines are skinny, white, and young. It’s as if you cannot be beautiful unless you fall into these set binaries. It is safe to say that the majority of female characters on TV shows and movies are these skinny, white, young girls and nothing less. Their bodies are oftentimes being showcased for the viewer in revealing and sexually explicit outfits.
The classic example of this being the notorious TV series The Bachelor. This reality TV show is based upon the premise of 25 young, skinny ladies, 23 of whom are white and the other two are subsequently eliminated within the first two episodes, who all fight for the love of a single man.
TV ads are no better. It seems that women’s sole role in modern advertisements is to display her body in an attempt to attract and please the viewer to the product or bring a sense of envy towards the viewer to make them want to purchase the item to transform herself into a model.
Take the Axe campaign for example. As someone that has used Axe products in the past, I can confidently say that it is not realistic to believe that using Axe shampoo or deodorant will attract billions of provocatively dressed females as they run after you, as shown in “The Axe Effect” campaign.
However, showing these sorts of commercials are enough to convince a large number of young boys to purchase these Axe products.
In a similar fashion, girls and young women are targeted in advertisements. Many advertisements are designed to point out flaws in women’s bodies and then they pitch you a product that can “fix” these flaws.
To make matters worse, advertisers have taken it upon themselves to deliver the most violent and sexually explicit images in order to “break through the clutter,” which is a term used by advertisers when they want to brand a memorable image into the minds of the viewer in effort to stand out from their competitors.
The problem is that these images and ideas being portrayed to young people are encouraging terrible behavior from them. With more and more media outlets displaying violent images, predominantly towards women, violence and harassment in our country is consequently rising. Media outlets are giving men the notion that physical abuse and sexual harassment towards women is okay, and women are taught to be silent instead of speaking up and fighting back.
According to the film Miss Representation, 1 in every 4 teenage girls experience dating violence. 1 in 6 women are subject to rape or attempted rape. 15% of rape victims are under the age of 12.
Given these terrible statistics, the fight against the media and its inappropriate images is a tough fight but a fight worth having.