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Five reasons why no one should pay attention to advertisements

Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

Five reasons why no one should pay attention to advertisements

It's no secret that everyday we're bombarded with images of "perfect" women in advertising. The tragic norm is for companies to use women's bodies to sell their products, from shampoo to hot wings. The bodies they use, however, are belittling, unnatural and excessively photo shopped. As a result, we have a new, twisted definition of beauty in America that girls of all ages strive to achieve.

It sounds horrid, right? It is. But here are five good reasons to ignore the garbage.

1. Ads exist for advertising purposes. That's it.

Contrary to how it seems, there isn't a secret council of ad men and women who live underground devising ways to belittle the average American woman. The intention of ads is to sell products. Companies who use sexist methods of advertising really don't care how you feel or about what's right, they just want to increase their revenue by any means possible. So, does it really make sense to give them the time of day? Don't be the product.

2. They're fake and unachievable.

So you don't look like the models in popular magazines? Chill out, neither do they. Before any of the pictures make it into a magazine or on a billboard, they go through a rigorous photo shopping process. There really is no reason to try to look like the women in advertisements, because they aren't real. An orange can't be a unicorn. 

But what about Victoria's Secret models? They walk a live runway every year looking flawless, right? First, it depends on your definition of flawless. Second, in order to obtain those bodies, the models embark on a rigorous, liquid-only diet and multiple daily workouts for nine days prior to the show. If that's not enough, for the 12 hours before hitting the catwalk, they don't consume anything at all, liquid or solid. It's so terrible, even model Adrian Lima doesn't recommend it.

3. They steal your orgasms

One of the most interesting facts I learned in Psychology of Women last semester is that only 30% of women will orgasm during intercourse. We can't blame this completely on media because there are several contributing factors besides, like medical conditions, partner relations and mal-technique.

However, if women constantly have to digest images of socially constructed beauty, internal problems arise. They begin to compare themselves to the women in the ads and find that they don't measure up (because it's impossible.) This inspires low self-esteem and introduces a standard that women believe they must live up to. They live and breathe this standard and even take it to bed with them.

So, how can a woman participating in intercourse possibly enjoy herself enough to reach climax when she is so worried about her thighs and tummy not resembling those displayed in advertisements? She can't.

4. It's a waste of your cognitive energy

Worrying about conforming to the standard of beauty that advertisements create is tiring.  Women must consider their hair, make-up, skin, teeth, weight, wardrobe and countless other things on a daily basis. This is a huge waste of cognitive energy and it creates a negative stereotype: women are consumed with trivial, material things. This is a hurtful stereotype to have to live under, and it's even harder to overcome.

Just think of what you could accomplish if you stopped worrying about comparing yourself to Vogue, and instead focused your cognitive energy on bigger pictures like careers, furthering education or helping the under privileged. Sexist advertisements, whether they mean to or not, enforce the stereotype that the minds of women contain nothing but material woes. Don't confirm that stereotype.

5. Did I mention it's all fake? Just so we're clear…

I can't stress it enough: we live in the digital age where anything can be created with a mouse and keyboard, including "beauty." But who cares what they say? Form your own definition and live by that instead.

For all intensive purposes, think of advertisements as a huge Regina George, victimizing like crazy and made of plastic.

Check out the video Miss Representation to become even more informed.

 

Jennifer is a senior English major. She has been interested in women's issues and promoting women's equality since reading the charmingly oppressive Little House On The Prairie in sixth grade.

 

Jennifer is a senior English major. She has been interested in women's issues and promoting women's equality since reading the charmingly oppressive Little House On The Prairie in sixth grade.

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