A few days ago I bought one of those women’s magazines that try to tell you what to wear, what to think and how to treat your mate. I’ve bought the same magazine in French, but I wanted to practise my English a bit. So, do you know what the most impressive thing about it was? The number of advertisements: about one every two pages! And do you know what almost all of them portrayed?
Hey women! “Be sexy! Be slutty! Be arousing!”
When you open the magazine, the first thing you see is a woman wearing a black satin skirt and top, the top is half open showing part of her breast. She is staring at you in a lascivious way with a saucy smile on her face. This is an ad for a fragrance called “Sensuous”. You may tell yourself: OK so the name of the product means this ad has to focus on sensuality. But then a few pages later there is another ad for yet another fragrance called Trésor in Love (yeah, French is SO sexy) and this time you see a young woman and a young man; the latter is putting his hands around the waist of the young lady and is obviously getting ready to kiss her. What about the next page? Well here, an almost naked woman, wearing only boots and a fur jacket is spreading her legs and looking at the camera in a lustful way.
I could give you plenty of other examples, just from this magazine. And remember – it’s a women’s magazine, aimed at women, and not a cling-film wrapped top shelf mag.
So it seems that, according to advertisers, in order to be happy and successful in life us women have to be hotties, and the only way to be a hotty, is to buy their rather expensive products (fragrances, fur, deluxe make up etc.).
Unfortunately, this oversexualized image of woman has been in existence for decades. Admittedly, in the 50s, many advertisements featured women as exemplary housewives, taking good care of their children and of course their husbands. At the same time, you could always see pictures of pinup girls with large busts and sexy underwear, but they were kept separate. Now it seems we’ve been freed from the kitchen, only to end up in the bedroom. Where are the adverts showing successful, independent women, making something of their lives?
I’m not a fuddy duddy, and I’m not at all conservative, but I believe that if we want to be taken seriously, advertisers should stop showing us as fresh pieces of meat. The only way we can ensure that that happens is to stop buying magazines that try to portray us as such.
You know what I did? I put down my magazine and I started reading “Through the Looking Glass”. I desperately needed to get back to a childlike innocence.