Images of women in advertising; its impact on social perceptions of beauty and body image idealisms, and the extents to which we go to become them.

analytical Essay
1964 words
1964 words

“Medieval noblewomen swallowed arsenic and dabbed on bats' blood to improve their complexions; 18th-century Americans prized the warm urine of young boys to erase their freckles; Victorian ladies removed their ribs to give themselves a wasp waist.” 5 Even from medieval times, the extent to which women have gone to achieve ‘ideal beauty’ is extreme. In the 21st century, Americans spend more money on beauty related product than they do on their education, creating a 160 billion dollar a year global industry, all in the name of ‘perfection.’ 5 Intensification of body image ideals has increased through media and manipulation in the advertising industry, due to the portrayal of women, leading to the creation of a 20 billion dollar cosmetic surgery industry. Driven and fueled by sexual instinct and desire to achieve perfection, images of women in advertising will not cease to hold a huge amount of power over the everyday woman who spends her life chasing an ideal, which does not exist, often leading to psychological and physical effects which can last a lifetime. In a world of social media, the influence of advertising is much stronger than it once was, as it is a form of social communication that influences and often manipulates us. Advertising is everywhere from the photo on the front of a magazine, to the online ads that appear as we scroll web pages, and these days is a predominantly visual phenomenon, text is minimal and an image dominates to capture and hold our attention. Much of the advertising seen today is little that concerns the actual product, and more about the construction of the advertising, playing on social needs and desires around it –we buy the product because we believe we need it in order to succeed socially. The ... ... middle of paper ... Ideal Beauty. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2 Cortese, A. J. (1999). Provocateur. Maryland, USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 3 Chitty, S. D. A. a. B. (2011). Real or relevant beauty? Body shape and endorser effects on brand attitude and body image. Psychology & Marketing, 28. doi:10.1002/mar.20415 4 Millum, T. (1975). Images of Woman. London, UK: Chatto & Windus. 5 The Beauty Business: Pots of Promise. (2003). Retrieved 20.05, 2014, from 6 Kilbourne, J. (2010). Killing Us Softly 4 [Documentary]. Retrieved from 7 Russell, C. (2013). TED Talk: Looks aren't everything. Retrieved from 8Statistics about Anorexia and Bulimia. Retrieved 01.06, 2014, from

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the extent to which women have gone to achieve ‘ideal beauty’ is extreme. in the 21st century, americans spend more money on beauty related product than they do on their education.
  • Explains that advertising is a form of social communication that influences and often manipulates us. the advertising industry is especially important because of its close connection with movies and magazines, and fine arts.
  • Analyzes how the exemplary female prototype is seen to display youth, good looks, seductiveness, and perfection. however, due to advancements in technology, most of the women and other imagery seen is not real.
  • Compares the case against advertising to that against political propaganda, religious proselytizing, and any other form of emotional blackmail. advertising attempts to achieve its ends by emotionally abusing its audiences.
  • Analyzes how the manipulation of both image and people is used to play on our emotions, creating issues we never realized existed, so that they can sell products.
  • Analyzes how cortese acknowledges the extreme standards and portrayal of women used in advertising to sell products in his book ‘provocateur: images of women and minorities in advertising.
  • Explains that cultural ideology tells women that they will not be desirable to men unless they are physically perfect. this ultimate image can only be achieved artificially through the purchase of vast quantities of beauty products.
  • Argues that the images of ideal beauty and flawlessness are false and will never be achieved. even the model on the front of the magazine does not reach this standard of unrealistic perfection.
  • Analyzes how cameron russell's ted talk addresses the way image manipulation occurs in the fashion and advertising industry. she describes her image as one that is carefully constructed and prepared by stylists, makeup artists, and photographers.
  • Analyzes how russell touches on the idea that she is a "pretty white women." the idea of racism in the industry is also shown in jean kilbourne's documentary.
  • Explains that advertising and its portrayal of women have huge impacts in the creation of beauty and cosmetic surgery industries.
  • Analyzes how the cosmetic surgery industry skyrocketed in popularity from 1997 to 2007 and shows the progression of beauty and cosmetics over time.
  • Analyzes how jean kilbourne's 2010 video killing us softly analyses the effect that these images have on women and advertisings societal effects.
  • Opines that female role models do little to help with the ever growing epidemic of eating disorders prevalent in western culture today.
  • Explains that the media's obsession with model thinness and clothes sizing, also assists advertising in creating unrealistic expectations of girls.
  • Explains chitty, s. d. a. a. b. (2011), body shape and endorser effects on brand attitude and body image.
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