We need feminism now more than ever for many reasons, but rampant internalized misogyny — which often goes unnoticed and, in some situations, is even understood as social norms – is as good a reason as any.
Culturally, we seem to have just accepted that “sex sells.” But the media, advertising and other cultural institutions “sell sex” largely by demeaning women and causing them to feel ashamed about their bodies. For example, American Apparel is known for its sexually exploitive advertising and marketing. Take the sock and stocking section of their website. The female stocking model is portrayed doing an uncomfortable-looking acrobatic move with her thigh highs, while the male model merely wears socks on his feet. Images like these allow viewers to internalize ideas about women as passive …
The majority of the Toys R Us Lego Isle is a very familiar shade of blue, copyrighted and trademarked, and gleaming under the florescent lights. In one brightly lit section, however, pink reigns supreme: the section full of toys marketed to little girls. Most of these toys can be placed in at least one of three categories: luxury play (play that seems to serve no other purpose than to stimulate the girls’ imaginations in settings of extreme opulence and wealth), housework play (in which a child mimics doing household chores, including anything from an Easy Bake Oven to a baby doll to a plastic kitchenette), or interpersonal relationship play (in which a child is meant to identify with a doll of some kind, and she and other “dolls” are meant …
So, Bic has come out with a pen specifically suited to our needs as ladies. It writes smoother, has a gel grip – you know, for our delicate lady hands – and, I’m assuming, massages my shoulders after a long day of putting on makeup and popping out babies.
I’m sure you’ve heard about this by now, since there’s loads of hilarious posts with snarky reviews of the pen all over the internet and this ridiculous TV ad:
(Is it just me, or is this chick RIDICULOUSLY picky? If you’re screaming in the middle of the hallway that you need a pen, you probably just realized you have a HUGE test in World Civ next period, and you can’t ask the girl who sits behind you for a writing utensil …
The majority of us in the UK will remember the controversial 2002 campaign for the chunky, ‘King size, not Queen sized’ Yorkie chocolate bar. This campaign’s primary slogan stated daringly: ‘It’s Not For Girls’.
My younger brothers found the campaign a great novelty and drew amusement by purposefully eating the blue-wrapped bar with over-exaggerated pleasure while simultaneously boasting and proclaiming that because I was a girl, I wasn’t allowed to consume the chocolate. Be it petty child-like banter on display, it was clear that the story ran much deeper. Nestle (the company that makes the candy bar) pretty clearly implied through their slogans that women are inferior, if only to persuade males (in particular young male children) to purchase a chocolate bar.
Observations in Target: Mass Marketing and Young Females
“Mom, look! That’s Rocky and CeCe, from ‘Shake it Up‘! Can I pleeeeease get one of their clothes?” She stands on her tiptoes to reach the highest shelf and points to a t-shirt with an attached pinstriped vest that is almost identical to the one CeCe is wearing in the poster above the rack of clothes. “I like that one!”
My post-elementary school years have contained very little Disney Channel, which I consumed vigorously as a child. But after spending a week with a seven-year-old, I was fully informed on how Disney is functioning today. I know every person says this about the shows they watched when they were kids, but I truly believe that the shows were much better then, especially for girls. Or maybe it’s just that …
Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel have done it again. In the past, Abercrombie & Fitch has come under criticism for T-shirts with racist and sexist sayings, thongs for girls as young as ten, and semi-nude advertisements in their catalogs. In 2005, the Women and Girls association of Pennsylvania led a “girlcott” against sexist T-shirts, which read “Who needs brains when you’ve got these?” and “I had a nightmare I was a brunette.” Abercrombie & Fitch eventually pulled the shirts. Now, Abercrombie & Fitch has decided to sell push-up bikini tops for girls as young as seven (clearly a great idea, since the thongs for ten-year-olds went over so well).
The bikini tops which were originally advertised as “push-up” on the Abercrombie & Fitch website are now …
“Feminist” Advertisements: Exploitation or Progress?
Peggy Orenstein’s “The Way We Live Now” piece in New York Times Magazine a couple months ago explores what she calls the “empowerment mystique,” or using themes of girl power to sell products that have nothing to do with promoting equality. She mentions several recent commercials by companies selling products unrelated to gender or discrimination, such as Verizon and Target, which send a message of empowerment for girls and women. This kind of ad, she claims, manipulates people to associate the company with sincerity and hopefulness. It is also a reflection of a society in which women hold the majority of jobs, and earn more bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorates than men.
Orenstein draws a distinction between the Verizon ad, which shows a series of young women speaking proudly …
I honestly don’t think that the message Cover Girl Culture promotes can EVER be told to girls (and boys) of my generation too much. We need to start combating the seriously messed up body standards our culture holds us to, and we need to start NOW.
Cover Girl Culture: Awakening the Media Generationis an award winning feature length documentary. From posing in pages of magazines to exposing magazines comes documentary filmmaker Nicole Clark.A former Elite International fashion model turned champion for young girls and their self-esteem, Nicole gets in the face of the media and advertisers calling for responsible media for our youth!We must act now to save an endangered species – empowered girls and young women!
Cover Girl Culture explores how the worlds of fashion, modeling, advertising and celebrity impact our teens and young women. Who sets today’s standards for beauty and how are these standards affecting individuals and society? Who is responsible? Are there ways this can be changed? If so, who can/will change it?
Shocking interviews with fashion editors from major NY magazines. Eye opening interviews with top agents, designers, models, advertisers and many more. An important issue addressed is the sexualization of young girls in the media/advertising. Most importantly it focuses on SOLUTIONS. (this film took 4 yrs to complete)