Textbook Notes (270,000)
CA (160,000)
UOttawa (6,000)
CMN (400)
Chapter 5

CMN 3104 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Erving Goffman, Binge Drinking, Salad Bar


Department
Communication
Course Code
CMN 3104
Professor
Dina Salha
Chapter
5

This preview shows pages 1-2. to view the full 8 pages of the document.
Chapter 5.9
Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations
5.9 “THE MORE YOU SUBTRACT, THE MORE YOU ADD”: CUTTING
GIRLS DOWN TO SIZE IN ADVERTISING
Content
!The author discusses how girls and women are portrayed in
advertising.
!She argues that we are relentlessly exposed to unattainable ideals
of physical perfection and that women are portrayed as less
powerful than men.
!She also considers the ramifications of such representations.
“The more you subtract, the more you add” – clothing ad
!A statement about minimalism in fashion.
!The fact that the girl in the ad is very young and very thin
reinforces a message that an adolescent girl constantly gets from
advertising and throughout the popular culture, the message that
she should diminish herself, she should be less than she is.
On the most obvious and familiar level, this refers to her body.
However, the loss, the subtraction, and the cutting down to size also refer to
her sense of her self, her sexuality, her need for authentic connection, and
her longing for power and freedom.
When a girl enters adolescence, she faces a series of losses – loss of self-
confidence, loss of a sense of efficacy and ambition, and the loss of her
“voice”, the sense of being a unique and powerful self that she had in
childhood.
As Carol Gilliagan, Mary Piher, and other social critics have pointed out in
recent years, adolescent girls in American are afflicted with a range of
problems, including low self-esteem, eating disorders, binge drinking, date
rape and other dating violence, teen pregnancy, and a rise in cigarette
smoking.
Teenage women today are engaging in a far riskier health behaviours and in
greater numbers than any prior generation.
It is imp to understand that these problems go beyond individual
psychological development.
Even girls who are raised in loving homes by supportive parents grow up in a
culture – both reflected and reinforced by advertising – that urges girls to
adopt a false self, to become “feminine”, which means to be nice and kind

Only pages 1-2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

and sweet, to compete with other girls for the attention of boys, and to
value romantic relationships with boys above all else.
Girls are put into a terrible double bind.
They are supposed to repress their power, their anger, their exuberance
(excitement) and be simply “nice”, although they also eventually must
compete with men in the business world and be successful.
They must be overtly sexy and attractive but essentially passive and
virginal.
How can we resist these destructive messages and images?
!1st step: become as conscious of them as possible, to deconstruct
them.
Primarily girls are told by advertisers that what is most imp about them is
their perfume, their clothing, their bodies, their beauty.
Their “essence” is their underwear.
Even very little girls are offered makeup and toys like Special Night Barbie,
which shows them how to dress up for a night out.
Girls of all ages get the message that they must be flawlessly beautiful, and,
above all these days, they must be thin.
Adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to the obsession with thinness, for
many reasons.
One is the ominous (threatening) peer pressure on young people.
Adolescence is a time of self-consciousness and terror of shame and
humiliation.
Boys are ashamed of being too small, too weak, too soft, too sensitive.
And girls are shamed for being too sexual, too loud, too boisterous, too big
(in any sense of the word), having too hearty an appetite.
The situation is very different for men.
Although some men develop eating problems, the predominant cultural
message remains that a hearty appetite and a large size is desirable in a
man, but not so in a woman.
The obsession starts early.
Today at least one-third of 12- to 13-year-old girls are actively trying to lose
weight, by dieting, vomiting, and/or taking pills.
Bulimia and anorexia are the extreme results of an obsession with eating
and weight control that grips many young women with serious and
potentially very dangerous results.
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Only pages 1-2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Although eating problems are often thought to result from vanity (egotism),
the truth is that they, like other addictions and compulsive behaviour,
usually have deeper roots.
Advertising does not cause eating problems, of course.
However, these images certainly contribute to the body-hatred so many
young women feel and to some of the resulting eating controlling one’s
appetite.
Advertising does promote abusive and abnormal attitudes about eating,
drinking and thinness.
Being obsessed about one’s weight is made to seem normal and even
appealing in ads for unrelated products.
E.g. the British watch ad featuring an extremely thin young woman and
proclaiming “put some weight on”.
The magazines and the ads deliberately create and intensify anxiety about
weight because it is so profitable.
On a deeper level, however, they reflect cultural concerns and conflicts
about women’s power.
Real freedom for women would change the very bass of our male-dominated
society.
The obsession with thinness is most deeply about cutting girls and women
down to size.
Some argue that it is men’s awareness of just how powerful women can be
that has created that attempts to keep women small.
Indeed, thinness as an ideal has always accompanied periods of greater
freedom for women – as soon as we got the vote, boyish flapper bodies
came into vogue (trend).
At the same time there is relentless pressure on women to be small, there is
also pressure on us to succeed, to achieve, to “have it all”.
We can be successful as long as we stay “feminine” (i.e. powerless enough
not to be truly threatening).
One way to do this is to present an image of fragility, to look like a waif.
This demonstrates that one is both in control and still very “feminine”.
The changing roles and greater opportunities for women promised by the
women’s movement are trivialized, reduced to the private search for the
slimmest body.
E.g. in an ad a salad bar and lighter fare have given her freedom to eat (as
if eating for women were a privilege rather than a need).
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version