How Females are Exploited in Media

Advertising is everywhere: the average American consumer sees over 3,000 commercials messages each day. In many of these messages women are depicted as sexual objects.


I believe the language of advertising over the past few decades has reinforced the notion that the ideal female is white, thin, sexily clad, and above all, submissive. Everybody struggles to develop a sense of security, a sense of personal identity.

The Different Types of Media

Women’s magazines in particular have a tremendous influence on body image, with researchers reporting that teenage girls rely heavily on them for information on beauty and fashion. There has been a progression towards thinner and thinner models in ads and magazines: twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 per cent less than the average woman – but today’s models weigh 23 per cent less. Editors, employ Photoshop and other image manipulation tools to create women who are literally “too thin to be true” – as well as to alter photos of celebrities so they meet this standard. Why? Advertisers believe that thin models sell products. They appeal to women’s insecurities in hopes of selling them the solution.
Women are more often presented in commercials, because they are more responsible for making everyday purchases. Men generally advertise cars, cigarettes, business products or investments, whereas women are shown rather in the commercials with cosmetics and domestic products. They are also more likely portrayed in the home environment, unlike men, who are shown outdoors.
According to Steve Craig’s research (1997), women are presented in commercials in several variants. The first one is the most popular: a housewife obsessed with a household product or a woman who struggles to find out what should be for dinner. One can distinguish commercials with female vamps – sexy seductresses, the objects of desire of every man. They mostly advertise cosmetics, but they also appear in the commercials directed to men. When a beautiful woman accepts and praises the male cosmetics, it is treated by men as a guarantee of its quality. Another type is a woman, whose major concern is to preserve her beauty. Hence, she presents a healthy lifestyle, is physically active, uses a wide range of body and facial cosmetics.

The Impact Media Has On Us

It is being observed that women are becoming more and more obsessed with getting the “ideal” body. The need to have the ‘perfect body’ is a result of various messages that society, both directly and indirectly sends. Those messages are noted in many different ways, but specifically by advertising in the media. Women are constantly pressured to look a certain way and if they are outside the ‘norm,’ then they are often looked down at or even ‘dismissed’ from the public attention. Of course those somewhat computer generated images put out by the media does not represent anywhere close to how the average woman appear today.