Lately, I have become more and more aware of how sexist some advertisements are in today’s society. One time, I turned on the television and the first commercial shown featured a woman in a bikini selling an insurance plan. Insurance plan is clearly a non-sexual product and so I asked my roommate “what’s the purpose of the half naked women?” She simply said, “sex sells.” The truth is, society helped created this sexist behavior where we put a half naked model on the ad and sales go up.
After doing a little bit of research, I came across a page on Pinterest (Sexism in Advertisement) especially dedicated to exposing sexist advertisements. The one that really got my attention is one of Harley Davidson. A brand of motorcycle that is so well known, I can’t bring myself to understand why they develop such sexist commercial. The ad features a woman with her legs cross and another with her legs spread out. The clear message of the ad is to show that when a woman is on a motorcycle, they spread their legs for you, the underlying meaning of sex. What amuse me the most is that some advertisements don’t even make sense by putting a half naked woman in it. One that highlights my point is an ad promoting watches. The flyer features a man attempting to pull off a woman’s underwear while her hand is stopping him. You’re selling watches, not underwear, is there a necessity to have that sexual act there? I don’t think so.
When one comes to think of it, it’s mostly our behaviors that permit this to happen. The same goes for cosmetic surgery. Is there really a need for any individuals to alter themselves in any manner to be more aesthetically pleasing? According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), below are all the procedures that one can get done when visiting a plastic surgeon. Some of the most common procedures include rhinoplasty (the famous nose job), liposuction, and breast augmentation.
The staggering fact that over 90% of these procedures are performed on women upsets me. Everyone can modify their body in ways they seem fitting. My issue is that sometimes how individuals view themselves is how the media is portraying the standard. As Prof. Peace mentioned in class, fifty or so years ago, being 5’3 and 140-150lbs is the standard of beauty. Fast forward to now, the standard is extremely different – tall and skinny (sometimes to the point of underweight) is appeasing. This interpretation of what is beauty really comes into play when people decide to go under the knife. For example, Asians consider big eyes with double eyelids to be pretty so those with mono eyelids seek cosmetic surgery to alter themselves to produce this particular standard of beauty.
The ultimate decision whether to go through with the procedure or not depends on the person but why would they think there is anything wrong with them in the first place is what changes things. The norm that society sets out influences how individuals modify their body. Many are pressured into altering themselves so that they can fit in and interact with others without constant judgment of their lack of “beauty”. This is wrong in so many ways but true.