The contents of advertising, its language, and its link to gender issues are deeply rooted in our society. As such, the universal availability of adverts is increasingly influencing the daily life of people, thereby affecting their knowledge, expectations, motivations, worldviews, and their sense of identity. However, gender and language are important issues that are controversial in the advertising domain. In essence, adverts that are primarily intended for men, just as the ones which will be analyzed in this essay, perpetuates gender stereotypes, feeds on weaknesses and vulnerabilities of men, thereby encouraging impure emotions and warps their vision by implanting groundless expectations. In addition, they target appeal in a manipulative way thus triggering a response in teens and young adults in the male gender.
The advertisements which will be compared and contrasted is BMW sexy girls and Kate Upton hamburger commercial. The two adverts focus on men, and therefore, are sexist in nature. For instance, looking at the Kate Upton hamburger commercial, the way Kate Upton moves her body is very seductive. The advert is sexually explicit and features intimacy between Kate Upton and a patty melt. The hamburger she is taking is so spicy that it works her into a feral rage, and in turn, she starts to grind against the Carls packaging bag and rests it between her legs. On the other hand, the BMW sexy girls pose seductively and in a sexist way before a BMW vehicle. Even so, the BMW sexy girls advert is made of a variety of images that have been brought together forming a video. Being a superposition of images, the BMW sexy girls advert is different from the Kate Upton hamburger commercial as it is a video. Another difference is that the Kate Upton commercial uses a seductive language in the video. Even listening to the song in the video, it is clear that seduction has been employed as words like hot have been used. Even though Kate Upton eats a spicy hot hamburger, the behavior and utterance of these words signify a sexist language. On the other hand, the BMW sexy girls advertisement uses images that are sexist and seductive in nature. However, the background music is not as seductive and sexist compared to the one used in Kate Uptons commercial.
In both adverts, womens bodies have been used in whole, or in parts, to market products. Kate Upton markets Carls junior hamburger while the sexy girls in the BMW advert clearly market the company BMW, which fabricates BMW cars. Therefore, bot images being sexist, it gives women unrealistic notions of what they should look like, and this is beautiful. For this reason, both adverts create stereotypes where women should be seen as beautiful before men. If they are no beautiful, then they are not appealing to men. This is a false notion that these adverts and marketing companies are creating in the society. In essence, these adverts instill insecurity and anxiety in women forcing them to do whatever they have to do, even if it means harming their bodies just to be appealing and beautiful. For this reason, these adverts reinforce sexist notions about ideal womanhood. In addition, both adverts perpetuate class and gender stereotypes. Class stereotypes are perpetuated owing to the fact that buying the consumer products that are marketed can correct any defect, imagined or real. In addition, both images, tell the truth about the marketplace fraud where advertisers can simply create an appeal for a certain product targeting a certain audience. In essence, people after watching the advert, are psychologically influenced to create a positive appeal about the product, and in consequence, they find themselves buying it even though they had not planned to do so. Also, both adverts showcase that men are not immune from exploitation because they are sexist and primarily intended to men. As such, women may not by the products being advertised, but men can, thereby evidencing the reality of men exploiting women. Also, it reveals that men are vulnerable to sexist advertisements. For instance, in Kate Uptons hamburger commercial, a couple enjoying a movie besides her car. After initiating her seductive moves, the mans eyes are glued to her, which translates to the fact that are weaklings and vulnerable when exposed to female nudity.
Additionally, in the language of advertising, many products are increasingly gaining sexual appeal. Many products, just like the Kate Uptons hamburger commercial, are pitched with explicit sexual imagery that can clearly be seen to border with pornography. This is womens objectification where their bodies are used for malicious and wrongful intents. In essence, as Reichert et al. (2007) purport, objectification entails focusing on female body parts, such as the lips, breasts, eyes or legs. In both adverts, these have been objectified, hence evidencing the fact that the language of advertising objectifies women. For instance, Kate Uptons legs have been emphasized along with her breasts. On the other hand, the BMW sexy girls advert, the girls legs, breasts, stomach, as well as their behinds have been emphasized. Therefore, these advertisements have portrayed the women as less dressed, sexually posed and nude, which depicts women as sexual objects that are ready to satisfy men sexually. The images and the video in both adverts encourage the society to think of sex as a commodity, thereby reinforcing stereotypes of women as sex objects. Consequently, this may contribute to violence against women. In addition, the advertisements definition of beauty stands up close to scrutiny. In essence, as they depict, beauty among women is directly correlated to nudity, which is false notion because a woman can still cover up her body and remain beautiful.
Also, both adverts also showcase gender inequality where mens and womens positions in the society are defined by social norms and values. According to Mernissi (2003, 11), gender inequality, is not an ideology of female inferiority, but rather a set of laws and customs that ensure that womens status remains one of subjugation. In light of Mernissis view, the two advertisements display how men objectify women, as well as the privilege and power of men over women as they use nudity of womens bodies to their advantage.
In conclusion, both advertisements are presented in a language and image which interact with one another in a sexist manner. Both images are successful in passing the intended message. Kate Uptons hamburger commercial gives the message that Carl juniors hamburger is spicy and spices are hot. That is why they use her because, in the eyes of men, she is hot. Also, the BMW sexy girls pass the message that BMW cars are classy and sexy. Even though the adverts succeed in passing the message, they do so compromising gender equality, and can therefore, be associated with sexism and womens objectification.
Mernissi, Fatima. Beyond the Veil. Male-Female Dynamics in Muslim Society. London: Saqi Books (2003). Print.
Reichert, Tom, Michael S. LaTour, Jacqueline J. Lambiase, and Mark Adkins. "A test of media literacy effects and sexual objectification in advertising." Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising 29.1 (2007): 81-92. Web.
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