Monday, 12 January 2015

Sex Sells?


We’ve all seen it, an ad or commercial where the main focus is a ditzy girl with large breasts and ill fitting clothes trying to sell you a product. Time and time again, companies use advertisements objectifying women by associating sex with their products. This ultimately lowers females’ self value and promotes male dominance. This is not a new concept and in fact, has been going on for a long time but do these companies think, or even care, about what they are really saying?

Group 1-Cars

Nice Headlamps." A Tangled Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.


This advertisement was a billboard campaign for the used car website They stated that it was a "use of humour and fun" and that the ad used "light-hearted slang, to what people of both sexes would regard as attractive attributes". Whether that statement is true or not, this billboard is really saying that, like a car, a woman’s body is something that can be processed and men are able to pick and chose only the best and highest desired features. In addition, the subject is faceless which supports the idea that it doesn’t matter how intellectual you are or what your personality may be like, it only matters that you have a nice physique, which includes a pair of “nice headlamps”. This idea is placed upon women and girls and as a result they categorize themselves accordingly. And on top of that, it’s not just the females that are affected by this, males are as well. The billboard is condoling men who think that females are objects to which they are able to use for themselves. The ad also projects this idea to boys and tells them that male dominance is a acceptable way to live in society. Now, while this used car company claims that this ad was made to be light-hearted and funny, I think its quite clear that rather selling used cars, in this billboard, they’re selling self confidence issues and male dominance instead.   

Group 2- Peta

"Peta." She Is Not A Thing. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2015.

"Sheridyn Fisher PETA Ad." Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2015.

To start off, Peta stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It’s an organization that raises awareness for animal use and cruelty through blogs, videos, and events. Their main slogan is “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”. Sounds like a pretty good organization right? In the advertisements above the target audience are males. I found this interesting because Peta can use sad, emotional ads of helpless creatures being harmed to target women but because men are thought to be tough, sex-craving animals, peta has to show naked women in order to be supported by the male gender. In the first ad it says “turn over a new leaf, try vegetarian” which, without seeing the ad, sounds like a clever phrase. But after seeing the photo, it is clear that turning over a new leaf has subtext that states: remove the subjects marginal clothing, and have uncommitted sex with her because she is sexually ready, as all females should be. The subject in the second photo is playboy model, Sheridyn Fisher, and the ad is saying “Be a bunny’s honey, go vegetarian”. In addition to the skimpy lettuce clothing, the advertisement is putting forth the idea that playboy models will want to be with you as a reward for becoming a vegetarian. When both of these ads are published, it is telling young girls that sexual readiness, big boobs, and a small waistline are what guys look for in a girl and that is how they should determine their self value. As a result, they compare themselves to the photoshopped, airbrushed version of Sheridyn Fisher and put themselves down because that is what they think the standards of being desired or attractive are. The two ads are also telling males that they should become a vegetarian so, as a reward, they can get with some girl, and not because they should legitimately care about animal safety. This further goes on to say that having sex with these ladies should be higher prioritized than having regards for the fair treatment of animals. All in all, Peta may be working to promote awareness for animal cruelty but a slogan that they should take into consideration would be  “Women are not ours to compare, exploit, hit on, use for entertainment, or take advantage of in any other way”.

Group 3- Body Wash And Fragrance

Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2015. <

The image above is three separate ads that have been cropped into one big picture but they all have the same blunt message. Use axe, get laid. They use the images of a woman squirting whipped cream on her bare chest, another woman lacing up a corset, and the last one of a woman holding a whip in relation to a man taking a shower to communicate their slogan, “The cleaner you are, the dirtier you get”. This targets men and uses an oxymoron to imply, in additions to getting laid, the more you use their product the dirtier your sex will be. But truthfully, it is not as simple as “I took a shower today, with axe body wash, therefore I'm going have kinky sex”. This executes huge male dominance because nowhere yet has it even been considered if the girl will even want to have sex. Added on to this male dominance, is the message that women should be okay with this due to the fact that a man's physical appearance/scent is the most important feature in someone.

Group 4- Beer

Video removed by teacher.

"Beer Commercial." Youtube. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2015.

When I saw this Guinness commercial, I knew I had to use it because it’s awful. To start, the female subject is being used not just for the pleasure of the men but also as a table. That sends a substantial and direct message that women are objects that men can dominate over and do whatever they want with, as stated in their slogan “Share one with a friend, or two”. That phrase clearly has a deeper meaning than just share some beer with your buds, because the “one” that they are sharing is indeed the female subject. In addition to her being used for sex and being used as a table, Guinness doesn't think it’s necessary to give her a personal pronoun because in the commercial, she’s not a person, she’s a thing. This delivers a message to the male viewers that when you drink, it is tolerable to objectify women, use them to your own advantage, and hey, why not share her because, clearly, it was uncommitted sex so she’s not important to you.

"10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits." Rant Lifestyle. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2015.

This Budweiser ad depicts three women wearing the label, laying on a blown up image of what the front of a Budweiser’s beer bottle. It is illustrating that women like this beer, so men should drink it if they want to get laid. But don’t worry, it won’t be hard, because these women are attached to the bottle. Therefore wherever there’s Budweiser, there will be attractive females waiting to have sex with you. Which I know, and most other people know, is a false statement. But when you have this ad printed on a billboard for everyone to see, you get young girls who think that that image is what being a woman means and being sexually ready is what you have to do to be considered important in our society. Then, when they do these things to fit into this certain category, they are ultimately objectified. Anybody who has received that treatment, in anyway, can tell you that it feels like crap and doesn't raise your self worth at all. It's even harder for females to see that they’re more than an object when males have grown up thinking that treating women that way is fine.

To sum up, companies objectify women in their ads and commercials in order to sell their products. This tactic does more than just sell their product, it engraves messages in females' minds that they should only be an object that is there to serve men. In relation, it tells males that it is appropriate to dominate over females by treating them like they are temporary and disposable. This leads me to ask myself a question, So what? Why do I care? The answer is simple. I know that there’s more to me than just some object that can be thrown around and I know countless women and men who have influenced me in a way that made me realize that it’s a good thing to have self worth and respect. I am always around young kids, in the dance studio or at camp, who are highly influential and I've gotten to know these kids very well. And unfortunately, not everyone has someone to look out for them and when they are influenced by these companies, they grow up having low self esteem and low self worth. So next time you drive past a billboard or flip through a magazine, I encourage you to take a second and think about the subtext and the effect it has on you and the people around you.


  1. Olivia, I like how you focus on the negative impact on men and women. It drives me crazy that people think feminism means "women above men" or "all men are bad". Feminism believes in equality for both sexes, and the way of our current society is damaging to both men and women. Both men and women are taught that women are sexual objects, there for men's pleasure. Most people understand how this is damaging to women, but they don't realize the narrow space in which this forces men to perform masculinity. If a man doesn't want to look at naked women or have sex 24/7 then *obviously* they aren't "real" men. That noise drives me crazy. We can all do better.

  2. Your point is shown clearly throughout your post. I agree completely that advertisements use women ad an object and something men desire sexually. You were able to express each photo clearly on your topic. The video especially was kind of hard to watch, but you made a good pint about it. Overall, your presentation to this blog post made complete sense and you were able to show a deeper understanding to the topic selected.

    1. Thanks Kim, I agree that the video is a big pill to swallow but its the harsh truth of what our society deems acceptable. I'm glad that you share the same view!

  3. I like how you expressed your opinion about this topic. I think many people don't like talking about this, and find it awkward; however, it is a topic that needs to be discussed. I think you have proved that women are much more than objects. Great work!

    1. You're right, it is a touchy topic for both males and females but I am glad that I chose this topic because low self esteem is a growing trend in teenagers today.

  4. I liked your entire blog post and I believe that any "man" who treats a woman as an object or who thinks he deserves a higher status than any woman is not a real man and doesn't deserve to have any woman for that he can seek "pleasure" from. I also like how in your PETA commercials you talked about how they use cute animals to attract women but in order for the company to attract men, they need to portray women like they re objects that are to be used and then discarded.

    1. Ya, I found the Peta ads to be rather controversial because they are supposed to be helping animals in need but they're doing it at the cost of objectification.