By Kim Seder
Look at how cute and innocent this young lady looks in this ad! Her head is tilted indicating a shy, insecure and a bit flirty aura about herself. Her body image also shows inferiority by somewhat displaying a weak, "Oh go ahead..." attitude..., "do what you want with me," look. The text on the page next to her states: The pair you wear to cooking class will also look fabulous at your weight loss seminar." The adverstisement is selling a pair of shoes and I believe that it's general overall look is NOT offensive, however one could analyse it more deeply and of course, slant it to become more offensive. First of all, I believe it is not offensive because it is done in good taste. There is no blatant in-your -face sex shots (tight dress showing the definition of her breasts,) and her legs are closed and there are no spike heels in the add! The girl looks sweet, innnocent, healthy and wholesome. I also think that this ad shows a good balance of sexuality. She is pretty, no doubt and she has a slight 'flirty' cocked head which also shows her femininity. The line of sexy/sexist would be evident if she had her legs open showing or almost showing her pubic area. Also, if her dress around her breasts was lower and tighter, than that would be sexist to me.
I believe the ad falls between feminism and anti-feminism simply because the photo shows a woman who is neither sinfully seductive (anti-feminist) or a woman dressed in the more traditional and popular, but often misleading style of dress of a tailored suit, business stance with glasses on (feminist.) By wearing a skimpy tight dress, the typical men of our patriarchal society would think, "Whoa, look at that...she's hot!" Sex sells, right? But, she is NOT dressed that way so sex is not really selling here in the prototypical manner in which we are used to. HOWEVER, if you read the text and find out she can wear the shoes from the 'cooking class' - women's traditional role, to the 'weight loss seminar' - women have to fit that desired weight class, then that positively reveals a sexist attitude... IF one is to believe that all women like to cook and want to lose weight! So again, this ad has only insinuations of sexist patriarchal connotations. In reality, women do take cooking classes and they do go to weight loss seminars. They also flirt, dress appropriately and look wholesome as the lady in the ad does. To me, this advertisement is done in good taste and should not offend anyone. I could see this add being displayed in religious magazines or a young women's.
The above add is a positive advertisement for young girls to see and it shows an okay body image. Being a bit shy or insecure is okay when you're young and even okay when you're older. Who's to say all women should be brave and secure all the time in their lives? Advertising executives DO have a responsiblity to all people whether they are young or old to promote decent, non-offending (but that is very objective to figure out,) pictures and text. Should they remember who their audience/readers are? Of course, but with mass production and mass displaying of magazines in grocery stores and book stores, girls and boys of all ages have easy access to these items. But, that is another topic! I also think that advertisers should have more diverse advertising subjects and models. How about overweight women!? Minority cultured women!? Diverse ethnic women!? Midget women!? Etc!? By doing so, people who read and look at those ads will become more accepting and tolerant of the 'not so normal and beautiful women' they usually see plastered all over magazine covers. Our men will also become (I hope) more tolerant and just okay and happy with us simply by being just us with all of our non-model faces and bodies.
To help the problem of sexist advertising, we should become more involved by writing letters to the magazine editors, newspaper editors and the executives of the products being advertised and suggest to them that using more diverse non-traditional models in their ads would be a welcoming addition to the field of elite advertising. Moderation and having a balance of both worlds would be realistic and reasonble to attain and be more accepting by us women who have suffered a little and a lot by the white patrirarchal society of men who continue to dominate most of the fields of media, and more specifically print and television advertising.