Watching the film Killing Us Softly affirmed my feelings of how objectified women are in the advertising business. I agree with the narrator, who has collected ads since the 1960’s, and who reported that in spite of the women’s movement of that time, advertising has continued and, in fact, increased its use of sexuality to sell products. Where women were portrayed in the 1950’s and 1960’s perfectly coifed, wearing a chiffon gown and a smile while joyfully dancing through the house pushing a vacuum or sporting a feather duster or admiring their new Amana refrigerator, now they are portrayed too often wearing nothing but the smile and in an extremely suggestive posture while trying to sell a fast food burger or a beer. Both are completely unrealistic.
In magazine advertising it becomes even more blatant where the female models are nearly (or actually) naked selling anything from perfume to diamonds to denim to timeshare units in the Caribbean. It is so insulting to the true nature of women who have so much more to offer than their body parts. The movie exposed how the photographs are photo-shopped to a point where the model is hardly recognizable from her natural self. Yet women measure themselves against this fabricated ideal. How can it not affect a woman’s self esteem? I think from now on when I see one of these ads on television (especially during sporting events), I am going to write to the network expressing my opinion on how demeaning to women I believe their advertising is. It may be a small action, but it will be doing something.