This article is almost too perfect for our class discussion to be true. This morbidly funny social commentary story is set up in which some deformed “freak” was born without testes or a penis. Throughout it’s lifetime, the freak has suffered harassment from total strangers on the street, passed up employment opportunities, and been stared at and objectified. “What’s so deformed about not having a penis?” you might ask. Well, apparently it’s being the fact that unfortunately, this assigns you the title of ‘woman.’ Though we know that being a woman clearly does not make you a “freak,” I thought that this article’s sarcasm was an interesting, humorous way to shed light on social issues that still concern women today and are reinforced by the theory that men are innately better, more powerful, and more desirable than women. However, is this type of commentary is too extreme to get real attention or has it truly opened up people’s eyes to the way that society subconsciously views women?
Our media encourages women to believe their natural bodies are unattractive. To fix this, they must buy products to “improve” their appearances. Corporations want to milk the most money out of this vicious plot. Along with bombarding women with photoshopped, airbrushed, and otherwise unreal images of women, body parts are broken into separate problems, all with a product solution. Want perfect lips? Buy this lipstick!
L’oreal’s Colour Riche Privee Collection ad depicts a group of conventionally attractive women chatting and smiling blithely as they put on lipstick. The commerical implies that wearing L’oreal’s lipstick will make you beautiful, popular, happy, and distinctive. “It’s totally unique,” one woman claims, looking at the viewer. How will buying a mass-produced product make you unique? It’s especially jarring because the models are all so similar-looking, I had difficulty telling their faces apart, including the few that were not white. Placing so many “beautiful” models side by side just drives home how narrow our concept of beauty is.
It’s no surprise that being bombarded with these strict, false images of beauty harms women’s self esteems. “A woman was twice as likely to rate her attractiveness as low, between 1-3 (on a scale of 1 to 10), than a man was.” (Hesse-Biber 63) The plot was successful; now, women strive to become carbon copies.
Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy. “Selling the Body Beautiful: Food, Dieting, and Recovery.” The Cult of Thinness. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. 61-82. Print.
Lady Gaga recently released album art to promote her upcoming album, Artpop. In this particular ad, Gaga utilizes many classic advertisement tactics, specifically the objectification of woman. Legs open, sensual facial expression, grabbing her breasts, all neither original nor surprising strategies to allure the audience. The pink colors and the splicing of the Birth of Venus in the background are overtly feminine and sexual. Objectification is even more literal as Gaga in the center is actually a sculpture of herself. She is nothing but object with all things feminine and sexual around her. Gaga, who is known for breaking boundaries and shocking the public, reverts to boring stereotypes. Sex sells, but I am left hoping that she is doing it all in some greater, ironic demonstration.
Biologically, men are stronger and produce more testosterone than women. In terms of sporting events there are men’s championships and women’s championships. Throughout history, men have always taken the powerful leadership positions. Today, there has not even been one United States president that is a woman. Whether it is the media, entertainment, or generally our society, women are perceived as the lesser sex.
The song “Macho Man” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO43p2Wqc08) really says it all. In Anzaldua’s artice he supports that the word “macho” was a result of hierarchical dominance of males and came from oppression, poverty, and low self-esteem. This term is derived from “machismo” meaning strong and able to protect women. At the time, it almost portrayed that women were so inferior that there was something wrong with them.
“You’re nothing but a woman means you are defective” (Anzaldua, 83).
Do you think society is doing enough to even out the reputations of each sex? Will there be a female president soon? Are you too now singing the Macho Man song in your head?
This ad by Axe for their new body spray “Apollo” depicts a helpless woman drowning in the ocean. A handsome, muscular lifeguard rushes into the water to save her, wrestling and punching a shark in the process (gender roles at their finest). After bringing the woman to safety, the woman looks as if she is about to kiss the man who just rescued her – but then she runs off into the arms of an astronaut, a smaller, somewhat “geeky” looking man.
Gender stereotypes are at play all throughout this commercial, depicting both women and men in a flawed manner. The woman, of course, is depicted as beautiful but weak, which is contrasted with the strength of the man who saves her. The disparity is particularly evident in the shot from behind of the man carrying the limp, frail-looking body of the woman. The male lifeguard is also objectified, as he represents the “ideal” man – strong, courageous, attractive. The commercial perpetuates the typical feminine gender role of the “submissive woman” (de Beauvoir 36). The woman is taken care of by a man, a possession to be won and protected, while also suggesting that she cannot control her impulses of attraction (exemplified by her rushing over to the man in the astronaut suit).
De Beauvoir, Simone. “The Second Sex: Introduction.” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. McCain and Kim, eds. New York: Routledge, 2003.