Destructive Media Must be Stopped

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.

Duncan Quinn ad.

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.

11 thoughts on “Destructive Media Must be Stopped

  1. I thought you did a great job in finding a video that speaks to just how far off track the media has gotten. Not only did the video create false expectations, but it made it look like women were no more then crazed, bikini wearing, sex objects. By having men, like yourself, write these kinds of blogs its showing a change. Women are trying to attract, and by having this idea that to be attractive you have to wear this, look like this, act like this, is where the problem lies. If men and women say that attractiveness doesn’t lie in this than maybe we can really change this.

    You spoke to this when you said, “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’s time for these binaries to be eliminated.

    Congratulations on a great blog post.

  2. To me, the way that the Axe advertisement is makes the women seem like animals. They are running through a forest and swimming across oceans. It looks like they are all in a competition vying for the man. This ad is another example of how women are pitted against each other usually because of a man.

  3. A lot of people used this ad of the Duncan Quinn, we all reached the consensus that this was the most disturbing image and representation of women in images. The ads commercial was so outlandish, to think that people would actually be more interested in a product because it think it’ll help them get girls. What does that mean in society when one man isn’t satisfied with one girl and needs to have more? As if their hunting prices on his mantle just to collect and hang up. This is the new way to attract men, half naked ladies and boobs are used just to target ignorant young boys.

  4. This is a very powerful blog post!
    Your perspective on the effects of the media as a whole is well portrayed in your post.
    The line that I thought perfectly summed up what media stands for, was when you wrote: “Modern day media and advertisements do nothing more than render fantasized conceptions of reality”

    We are led to believe, that what we see on the tv and in the magazines,is to be “realistic”, “understandable” and “relatable” stories. However, instead, we get sexualised, excessively photoshopped, and misogynistic portrayals of women.

    I’d not heard of the term to: “‘break through the clutter'” before. However it makes perfect sense. Those advertisements want attention, and they are willing to go to the lowest point to get it. The image you chose for an example, perfectly displayed just how far some companies will go for attention – however, advertisements like these are becoming far to common.

    The way you then noted all of the negative impacts the media is having, was a well thought of way to bring together the overall message of the media. We learn from what we see – and if what we see is violence, and misogyny then that is what will happen.

    I couldn’t agree with you more, when you ended with the statement: ” [it’s] a tough fight but a fight worth having.”

    Great job!

  5. I almost like how even though you and Noel used the same picture, they could be applied to two very different things. Domestic Violence vs Rape. This picture really is worth a thousand words, I feel like there are so many different ways you could analyze this picture. I like how you talked about it in relation to both violence and media as well as capitalism and how much they all influence each other: “…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.” It all comes through that intersectional lens we all know so much about:
    She’s stripped down to underwear, sexually exploiting her body to sell a product. She’s rod-thin, promoting anorexia. She’s lying down and the man is standing up, placing her in a submissive role and the man in a dominant role (also going back to gender roles in Noel’s post and how everything starts from the type of toy you’re given as a baby) and is also fully dressed in a suit compared to her lack of clothes. He’s got her by the neck, promoting rape, sexual abuse. domestic violence and more and the fact that it’s in the dark adds a certain illegal quality to it as well as the way he looks straight into the camera, like he’s not ashamed. I think overall that your choices for examples are very striking and fit the way you describe and analyze exploitation of women’s bodies in the media.

  6. You really put out some great facts and information in this blog post. Mainstream media has such a strong influence on our society that it has completely brainwashed us from even acknowledging that it is controlling us. The “Breaking through the clutter” you talk about is a great example of complete media BS trying to to find some sort of way to justify incredibly offensive and explicit advertisements. The advertisement agency has no regard for human rights and morals, and is feeding the minds of America’s youth with impossible standards to live up to for girls.

  7. It is very hard to believe that people accept these social standards of women and men as a “mirror image of reality.” It is a very destructive idea because it aims at the younger audience which is the best and worst time to implant an idea in somebody. It is also very interesting that you talk about the type of women that are allowed to be on television because the other day I was speaking to my sister and she pointed out that even when it seems that the media is being more diverse by showcasing women of color in the media, it is generally a woman with a much lighter skin complexion or that has white female features. I honestly have never noticed that before.
    I love when you talk about the Axe commercial and line of products because, just like you, I also used Axe products. I was so disappointed by how much I hated Axe and how much most girls hated Axe, which sucked because I only bought it because I thought girls would love it. I also remember seeing this commercial on t.v. and how funny it was to me at the time but when I watch it now, I can honestly say that I do not find it funny.

  8. What particularly stood out to me in your post was your statement that “many advertisements are designed to point out flaws in women’s bodies and then they pitch you a product that can ‘fix’ these flaws.” I actually analyzed an advertisement like that today. Many believe that Dove’s Real beauty campaign promotes a positive body image of “real women” of all shapes and ethnicities. Yet what is failed to be mentioned are its flaws. The ad itself shows women that have relatively similar body shapes and are all between sizes 6-8 (and the most a size 10). The ad fails to show a full spectrum of women that include those who are naturally thin and the average size of an American woman, which is a size 12, and those beyond that, as well as women of all ages. Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is only marketing tactic to sell a line of “firming creams” to women with insecurities about their wrinkles or or cellulite. It’s as positive as Victoria Secret’s Love My Body Campaign, except a little more subtle.
    You did a great job with mentioning that as well as saying that advertising really isn’t actually giving the public what they want, it’s brainwashing us into thinking this is what we want. What gives them the right to do this?
    I really enjoyed your piece Bruke. Keep up the god work!

  9. I agree with your entire post Bruke. Destructive media is a big factor in contributing to the way young people think and it must be stopped. The Axe commercial has the power to make young boys think that Axe will really get them to attract a lot of girls. And along with the ideas that young boys get from the media about attracting as many girls as possible as a good thing, boys are tempted to go out and buy this product and put it to use. Media advertising should not use the bodies of girls because as you said, more girls become unsure about their bodies and try so hard to become the beautiful that they want to be.

  10. “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.” I didn’t remember this! I think I tried to block this from my mind… It is so incomprehensible to me that we live in a world that still allows violence towards women, and that people use the “shock value” of it to make money. Using this images simply puts it in the heads of people, men and women, that this is accepted, normal, and perhaps what some women want. I had heard rumors about The Bachelor that they were being sued for only hiring white women to be on the show. It was shocking to me that in the 21st century, there is still blatant racism and degradation of women of color. Awesome job!

  11. This is an incredibly interesting post. The video you posted is to me a perfect example of the ways in which the media has learned how to use sex to sell. I believe you and me have had this conversation and again it may be silly but it’s even more terrible to me because Axe does not even smell good! but it is because of ads like these that it is an incredibly popular product worth millions. I also liked how you spoke of the TV show The Bachelor, I had never heard of this TV series but was shocked to hear what you had to say and to check it out. As you said: “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.” and it’s a popular show too! As Gloria Steinem says in the Miss Representation video it seems that in society all girls are good for is reproduce! Our only value is through our body, and even television shows girls and women either taking on that role as mothers and mates or fighting, with each other for the ultimate goal, The MEN. Really great insight on this post!

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