Often we hear the expression – ‘sex sells’ – but really that is not quite accurate. A quick look at most music videos, billboard and television advertisements will tell you what really seems to sell: sexy women.
Granted, this isn’t anything new. For ages, women have been used to sell anything and everything, from undergarment to beer. And the way women are portrayed in these ads in no way, accurately showcases the true beauty and unique dignity of the women being involved. (Because let’s be real. If Victoria’s Secret was really trying to sell bras and panties for women, they would talk about how comfy they are instead of giving us unrealistic expectations of what all women should look like.)
Have we ever thought about why that is? Are we really okay with this? We’ve gotten so used to having semi-nude women plastered everywhere that we might not even notice anymore. Some readers might think to themselves – does it really matter?
The answer is yes. Our acceptance of advertisement and products that portray a woman as a sex object says to the world, ‘Hey, go on ahead and continue to see women as things you can buy and use.’ It teaches society – whether we admit it or not – how women (and girls) should be viewed.
Think about those in our society who are most impressionable – kids. What do you think little girls are going to grow up thinking and believing? That their worth mostly comes from what they can offer to other people, instead of from who they are as a person. And what do you think little boys are going to grow up thinking and believing? That it is normal to view women as a set of attractive body parts and not as a whole, unique person. And that cycle will continue forever unless we do something about it.
Don’t remain silent. Let’s tell people that women are not just eye candy. Women are human beings, worth so much more than you can possibly imagine. Tell them that we, as women, are not ok with the way ads portray women and we’re not stand for it any longer.
Use the hashtag #WomenNotObjects to tell the online world that we expect better. We have a bigger vision of women and we have greater creativity for how to get people interested in a good product, or song or movie. Who knows, someone in the marketing world might be waiting for that bigger vision.
Imagine, what if someone had spoken out during a marketing brainstorm meetings saying, ‘Hey, I’m not comfortable with the way we’re using that woman to get our message across. Instead of cleavage (again) why don’t we come up with a catchy choreography for the ad?’ It could change everything but we won’t know until we try. So what do we have to lose?