Friday, October 11, 2013


     Swimming Against the Current…….Salmons do it! 

                          Evelyn Almonte      

With the dawn of advertising poor self-image, and physical insecurities arrive packaged in a well-designed format.   We have been used and abused to the point where our integrity is lost to those that exploit women bodies for profit.  This relationship can be compared to the one between a pimp and a prostitute; where the woman does most of the work and the pimp receives the larger revenues.  The tragedy here is that we have silently agreed with the sector which abuses women by supporting the products and campaigns they produce.

The lack of resistance to the portrayal of women as an easy sexual object has kept companies such as Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret, among others, on top of the economic heap. Women are viewed as “fast foods” which is purchased quickly and consumed even faster and then discarded.  The sad part is that regardless of age, race or moral background we are daily exposed to so many images of nudity and sexual innuendo that it is slowly becoming part of our cultural tapestry.  For instance, it is highly unfavorable for a child to become sexually active at an early age; yet due to being exposed to sexual messages in advertising they experiment with sex sooner. 

USA Today published an article addressing this topic on November 12, 2007; the figures are overwhelming. The following results are part of research conducted by Pshychologist Janet Shibley Hyde of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Myeshia Price “The researchers asked about viewing six kinds of programming and channels: MTV, BET, music videos, wrestling, daytime soap operas and sports shows. The more TV watched, the greater the likelihood of beginning sex between 13 and 15, Price says. There's a "recipe" that raises the odds of a teen starting sex early, and the more risky ingredients in a child's life — for example, not feeling close to parents, low self-esteem and lots of TV.” By Marilyn Elias, USA TODAY   Clearly we can see that the exposure to certain types of advertising and media images stimulate children’s appetite and can be held responsible for developing their sexual behavior once they transition into adulthood. 

Another example of the malaise encountered in advertising is the constant use of sexist commercial and ads being produced today.  For instance, there is a Carbonite commercial for television which shows a man actually making fun of his wife because he assumes she is not savvy about technology.  He tells her that he is going to be “backing-up computer files” while daydreaming of all the things he can do with the free time Carbonite will provide; due to the fact it takes very little time to do the back-up.   In this commercial the woman is depicted as gullible and simply not in tune with the latest technological advances. 



Advertising and patriarchy is the magic formula not only to undress a woman physically but also psychologically.  Racism has always been an issue in our society.  Inequality and uneven distribution of wealth and power are dangerous in the wrong hands.  Although we have learned "tolerance", which is a word I use sparingly since it doesn't imply respect of other's views,   companies have blurred borders when it comes to race and gender.  There are commercials where the dominant race is exalted while the other one is undermined.  There is a Sony PSP Billboard which read "White is coming." Coupled with an image of a white woman viciously holding a shorter black woman.” The other commercial is for a brand of cars; during the  2012 Super Bowl "Acura" asked for a "not too dark" African-American to play a car salesman in an ad" (This is part of the 10 Racist Ads companies wished you would forget which appeared in Business Insider) . Advertising is still stereotyping and causing division in society through the use of images and the spoken word.  

We are deprived of the respect we earnestly seek when images of women in seductive poses adorn magazines and television ads which can be considered pornography. These ads will never stop pointing to us how imperfect we are; this is the most powerful weapon they can use against us.  We buy corrective products, bras with pads, contact lenses, Spanks, hair products etc. in an effort to make ourselves look like the women that appear in the ads. What we don't realize is that Photoshop is responsible for transforming the models imperfections into a  perfect tool to manipulate consumer to purchase their products.

 As long as we invest our money in companies dedicated to diminish the value of women we will never recover the self-respect and the respect of others.  Our patriarchal society bestows more favorable rights and privileges to men and decides the what, where and when of marketing strategies.  It is up to all women to begin her own personal “campaign” against the powers that be and to invest her money in companies neutral to sexism, patriarchal influences and racism.  Sex sells and it is responsible for making company stocks soar.  As long as the numbers increase budgets dedicated to the unfair exploitation of women, through advertising, will also grow.  I propose that we all vote with our dollars and stop supporting the growth of companies which have ignored our self- worth.  An extraordinary woman once said "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"(Eleanor Roosevelt).‎  Carbonite Commercial

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