Sut Jhall:Image based culture: advertising and popular culture
An advertiser’s main goal is to make money by any means necessary. Therefore, it is no surprise that advertisements in the media today are preying upon young women’s insecurities and producing more and more advertisements that show how sex sells in the media. Throughout virtually any magazine or image in the media, a reader will find more women than men shown in the advertisements. Some of these advertisements include women interacting with men in a sexual manner, women wearing the slightest bit of clothing, if any, and women posing in provocative ways to sell a certain product.
Virtually all of these advertisements and media images portray women who are extremely thin, sexy, and seductive in order to sell the products to either male or female consumers. Interestingly, the male consumer products that are advertised include women either being promiscuous with other women, or with men, while female consumer products only sometimes include men, yet nevertheless portray women seductively, beautifully, and in a way that appeals to men.
The above collage helps showcase how advertisers use the idea that “sex sells” as a way to objectify women and hold them to the highest standards of beauty, thinness, and attractiveness to men, while simultaneously suggesting that in order for products to sell, women must sell the products in a sexual manner. Every image in the collage includes one or more women. This says something in itself considering that some of the products advertised are solely meant to be bought by men.
For instance, the image of the cologne strategically placed between the woman’s breasts is meant to appeal to the male consumer; however, in order for that product to be marketable, the advertisement must contain a topless woman. Similarly, the image of the three men surrounding the slender and attractive woman while another man gets on top of her, is an advertisement meant to attract men to shop at Dolce and Gabbana; however, in order to initially attract the men, a woman must appear in the advertisement.
In Sut Jhally’s essay entitled “Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture”, Jhally discusses gender identity and images in the media: “many commercial messages use images and representations of men and women as central components of their strategy to both get attention and persuade” (253). Jhally’s analysis can be applied to advertisements, as well, and it shows the ways in which the advertisers prey
upon their consumers and appeal to them through sexual images and thoughts. Women, in particular, are represented in a specific way: “in advertising, gender (especially for women) is defined almost exclusively along the lines of sexuality” (Jhally 253). Jhally’s depiction of women being represented based on their sexuality is supported throughout the collage.
One of the advertisements shown is meant to persuade people to neuter their pets; however, the image used to represent the advertisement shows a woman dressed in lingerie and heels while holding a cat. This advertisement is therefore an example of the ways in which women are portrayed solely based on their sex appeal and sexuality. Thus, women provocatively displayed in advertisements clearly help sell the product and show that sex really does sell.