Advertisements sheer purpose is to conceive models of perfection for "capitalism" to "colonize" (Clark). By providing standards that the majority lacks, it creates "anxiety" that will eventually lead the audience into feeling "guilty" and seek a "solution", which the media willingly accommodates (Cortese). However, the ads' provided solutions never truly remedies the problem for they correspond to an ideal that is unrealistically "attainable" by the general audience (Cortese). The implementation of this marketing strategy is to ensure the spectators to remain in a "self-hating, ever failing, hungry, and sexually insecure state" in order for them to repeatedly return to the ad sponsors for assistance (Wolf).
The "dominant, white culture" is found within the media; pressuring the audience to conform to the hegemonic views of the ruling class (Bordo). However, the media causes unintended effects when viewers establishes a strong connection to the ad but does not comply with the promoted solution. When the viewers attempt to unveil the "secret" to the problem themselves, a series of other media materialize to ensnare the audience that the answer to the "secret" lies in the new ad (Bordo). For example, to aggrandize women's body image, the answer is not simply found in the "diet industry", but in "fashion, beauty fiction, fitness", and "finance" as well (Gunther). Another type of unintended effect, also undesired by the ad sponsors is when the spectators completely ignore all forms solutions they offered; leading to unknown and perhaps self-harming reactions from the audience.
The ideals the mass media conveys were not preordained, they are learned through a series of ads by looking at others portrayed in the ads. For the ideal beauty of women, the audience acquires it through observing a sequence of ads "to form a feminine syntagm, composite, compliant woman" (Gunther). With ubiquitous role models always demonstrating the criteria to follow, women are learn what food, fashion, and behaviors they are "supposed" to abide with (Bordo). After the ideals and solutions are learned, they are critiqued to verify whether there are any flaws to it and if a better alternative is possible.
An alternative to the mainstream media is to establish an ideal of being diverse and release of advertisements deprived of bias. Instead of having a single ideal body image, we create a notion of being different is normal. When difference is the norm, people will stop making comparisons and be comfortable with who they are. Advertisements will also be regulated and only those which are not sponsored by the sellers of the advertised products can be released. The ads will be from consumers themselves, offering a more accurate answer with limited bias.
However, an utopia is realistically impossible, the same as with the ideals created by the mass media. Questions of practicality also surfaces when finding an alternative to the mainstream media. As the alternative media gains more recognition and approval from the audience, it will eventually become pervasive like the mainstream media before it; the alternative media will become the mainstream media. Also, even should the ideal is to be diverse, people will put strenuous effort to be different, because one's value has changed to how unique you are. Ads could never truly be impartial because human judgment is a matter of perception based on common sense, and common sense is formed through an amalgam of biases. Although a perfect system can never truly be attained, a continuous strive for a system that approaches it, is.
Bordo, Susan - "Hunger as Ideology"
Gunther, Barrie & Wykes, Maggie - "Conclusion"
Clark, Danae - "Commodity Lesbianism"
Cortese, Anthony - "Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads Sexism in Advertising"
Wolf, Naomi - "Culture from the Beauty Myth"