A photograph of a Muslim woman of color in a hijab; eyes sad; mouth covered by a google pull down search menu with the words “women need to” entered into it; darkness surrounding her; these are all the pieces of a powerful ad. U.N. Women’s “The Autocomplete Truth” advertisement aims to showcase modern day sexism, and to make a clear statement that women need to be seen as equals. The advertisement achieves this intended impact, not only through the use of rhetorical appeals, but also through visual aspects such as being spare, calm, carefully organized, subdued in color, and through the contrast of traditional versus cutting edge elements.
The photo is part of a series of ads created by U.N. Women, the United Nations Entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, called “The Autocomplete Truth.” U.N. Women has three main roles, one of which is “to lead and coordinate the UN system’s work on gender equality as well as promote accountability, including through regular monitoring of system-wide progress.” (About UN Women) This knowledge of U.N. women allows the reader to immediately assume that the ad has to do with gender equality. The website for U.N. Women states that the advertisements were “developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, [and use] genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women.” (UN Women Ad Series Reveals Widespread Sexism.)
The ad itself focuses on the face of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, particularly her eyes, which are sad, tired, and empty. She is looking directly into the camera, towards the reader, without real emotion in her face, otherwise. Her mouth is covered by a google search, an...
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... final idea of the advertisement. Through rhetorical appeals, the ad has strengthened its message that gender inequality and female oppression is still strong today, but that it needs to change. Finally, the viewer will notice the small words in white below the search, and this gives the final message; women need to be seen as equal, women are not inferior, and gender inequality is wrong.
The audience finally gets the clear intention for the advertisement; sexism and oppression towards the female gender is still present today, in the twenty first century, and it needs to end. The use of different rhetorical appeals strengthened the message, but the actual photograph itself and the visual aspects of the image were perhaps the strongest in showcasing the big idea. The darkness, focus, and overall traditional versus cutting edge elements made the advertisement powerful.
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