Women's Studies 2161A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Lemonade, Teleflora, Postfeminism
Course CodeWomen's Studies 2161A/B
Week 6- Advertising & media culture
KILLING US SOFTLY Jean Lilbourne
-size 0 or 00 jeans...women taught to dissapear
-models cant get thinner..die of annorexia..so photoshop is used.
-Designers send 00 sizes so thin models cant fit in the clothes so they have to use
extraordinarily thin models. Vogue said sometimes they have to photoshop to make the
-most women pear shape but we dont see that body type in ads or popular culture.
-bombarded by ads that promote weight loss ex: Jenny Craig
-women made ashamed of eating
-Respect urself in the morning had to do with sexual activity, now its to respect ur diet
ads become more erotic about food. made to feel disconnected from our body, and food
is suppose o connect us.
-food is romanticized. food is a substitute for sex.
-ideal women: white thin young blue eyed blonde white
-Fiji got a decline in weight when TV was added to the culture.
-Girls in ads have mouths covered in ads. Passive, vulnerable, doff from men body
languages. women shown in silly poses but men w dignity and strength.
-Grown women are infantalized. women w childlike features although its on an adult
-sexualization of babies. latest product: high heels for babies. PIMP squad shirt for
-highest rates of teen pregnancy and STI bc arent taught about sex
-sex is used to sell everything. says that sex and sexuality belong only to the young and
beautiful. makes ppl feel less desirable if they arent like that. anti-erotic.
-heterosexist ads. gay men dont exist and lesbians is from porn.
-Porn has become cool, edgy, mainstream. Young celebrities emulate porn stars so girl
are encouraged to act like porn stars,..wear thongs, remove pubic hair..to be sexually
-declaration of empowerment is to sexualize yourself. you have the right to remain
sexy....to be an object, be passive, have ur sexuality defined in a limiting cliche way.
its wrong that being sexy becomes most important measure of success..showed to girls
at such a young age.
-depression, eating disorders, low self esteem for girls exposed to this at a young age.
-Girls are told they should be sexy but innocent, experienced by virginal. they are
suppose to embody both w/i themselves.
-Promote consumerism throughout out lives by linking sex and products and sexualizing
the products. People and products become the same.
-increase in ads objectifying men as sex objects. but they are seen as powerful, women
seen as vulnerable.
-boys taught to be insensitive. talking seen as a weakness in men.
-affect how men feel about everything that gets labelled feminine...saying u better not
have anything feminine about u. contempt for women and all things feminie.
-feminine things are devalued, causes women to devalue themselves and ment o
devalue women and values like compassion, sensitivity, empathy bc they are labelled
passive submissive femininity..ads erotisize violence..desensitize everybody. victim
ads feature women in bondage, battery.
what to do about this,...
1. pay attention..obsession w thin-ness is a public health problem, violence against
women. must change the enviro...media literacy, discussion to change the norms and
some signs of progress around the world: madrid would stop using models under a
certain body mass. Germany will use real life women instead of models, labelling
digitally enhanced models.
profitable for media when we feel terrible about ourselves.
we are being offered diff things but we are still being sold products.
Meaning is created through, not directed at, audiences.
Gender reversal..men pose as women. theres nothing natural about this.
advertising images are neither false nor true reflections of social reality bc they are a
part of social reality. So ads are part of the whole context w/i which we attempt to
understand and define our own fender relations. They are part of the process by which
we learn about gender.
Gender, Advertising and Falsity
Emotional connection to gender display in ads.
gender as sex and sexual behavior” the concentration on one aspect of behavior
detracts from seeing people as people”
individual ads and the cumulative effect of advertising as a system.
Advertising and Postfeminism
women shown in household roles. Women of colour or old women rarely represented or
w/i their stereotypes.
Obvious--> masked suttle stereotypes.
key reason for change in practices is incr. feminist critiques.
Women like incr financial dependance so advertisers develop new response.
The reduction of feminism to a commodity that can be bought and sold on capitalist
commodity feminism as a co-optation: seeks to harness feminism, neutralize its radical
potential, and encourage women’s freedom and choice-to purchase products.
Articulation of feminism and femininity in adverts
-uses articulations of “freedom” to appeal to women. Use of womens power and
feminism to sell products. Rosie the Rivetor selling Lasik.
-has an important historical genesis. ex: Black women showed w caption “you’ve come
a long way, baby”.
-other responses to use more ordinary ppl, “edgy” ppl. ex: Dove’s campaign of “real
beauty” where women are still rel. thin and good looking.
-Post feminism “The wink says equality has already been achieved”
-Diff bodies may be used more but aren't used w/o drawing attention to the fact that they
are different. Ex is this woman “flawed or flawless”
Aunt Jemima help mother win praise. Black female domestic derive joy from working for
families. Whit women speaks more sophisticated than Aunt Jemima.
”inclusion” incr, the political and social clout of a corporation to be able to claim that it is
historically there was 3 ways ppl of colour taken into account:
2. multiculturalist / diversity -invisibility or rep as white ppl ex: sex and the city
3. pluralist-blacks rep in tv as a discrete niche or target group ex: girl friends which is
the black sex and the city
4. post racial, urbanized
Some reluctance to recognize the buying power of the black consumer today.
The dvlpmt of Queer Chic:
-Hypersexualized same sex; lipstick lesbians. ex: ad showing Rihanna and Kate Moss.
Or Givenchy ad w women kissing and male spectators
-Bisexual reps are hyper-sexualized. creates myths about bisex-promiscuity and
-Humor shields the provocativeness of the Ikea ad w the gay man and the woman.
From sex object to desiring sexual subject
-women can gain power by buying the right bras, accessories, etc.
-women depicted as liberated who can choose to be sex objects.
ex: Teleflora: Super Bowl Commercial Adriana Lima says “Give and you shall receive.”
Implies women’s power is limited to their sexuality