“Women Not Objects” Campaign Is A Reminder To Advertisers Objectification Isn’t Sexy

objectification-in-advertising

A new video making it’s way across the internet is causing a huge stir bringing up the issue of objectification and the sexualization of women’s bodies in advertising. The video is called ‘We Are #WomenNotObjects’ and it was created by advertising agency Badger and Winters.

The beginning of the video gives us a little insight into how the campaign came about, when agency executive Madonna Badger googled ‘objectification of women’ (go on, we dare you to do the same thing and see what visuals come up) and finding numerous ad campaigns that the slogan “sex sells” quite literally and graphically.

To accurately portray just how far the industry has gone in using women’s bodies and sexuality as a means to push a product, it might be better to change the slogan to “porn sells”, if we’re really being honest here. The images in this article as well in the video show you exactly why.

Aside from just listing off the various companies that use objectification, we see a woman holding up an image of each ad adding a sarcastic literal interpretation of what we are seeing.

“I love giving blow jobs to sandwiches,” says the girl holding the image of a racy Burger King ad.

objectification-in-advertising

“I love sacrificing my dignity for a drink,” says the girl holding up an image of a popular vodka brand advertisement.

“I’d sell my body for a burger,” said another.

You get the idea. The brands are all well known (Skyy Vodka, Post-It, Balmain, Tom Ford, and Pressed Juice) but more importantly is that the messages are too. We are so accustomed to seeing the images of half-naked women whose bodies are not being celebrated but merely used as objectified vehicles to push a product or grab the attention of a potential buyer. It is part of the vicious cycle of women growing up thinking their sole value comes from their appearance – every advertisement carries this message!

Madonna Badger’s idea for the campaign was born out of tragedy, as well as frustration with the industry she was in. In 2011 both her daughters died in a house fire so she wanted to do something that would honor their memory. She wanted to help re-direct and re-frame the messages surrounding women relating to their bodies and self-esteem within the advertising world.

“I want my life to have a purpose. I love my job but I don’t want to do it if it hurts anyone,” she told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

objectification-in-advertising

It’s important to point out that it’s not wrong for women to wear a bikini, be sexual beings or to be wanted by a partner. It’s when those important aspects of being a woman get dragged through a process that effectively demeans their value to nothing but a selling tool. And we wonder why we have such a problem with sexuality in this country! On one extreme end we have the puritanical movement trying to restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare and shame women for their bodies and sexuality, on the other they are being heavily objectified in a way that takes the agency away from a woman.

There have been many studies and observations about the effects of advertising, including this experiment showing how young kids react to similar objectified images of women in advertising, versus strong and heroic portrayals of men. It’s probably why the Always ‘Like A Girl’ viral campaign has become such a hit with women and girls because it is effectively flipping the status quo and portraying women as empowered beings.

The other aspect of how ridiculous advertising has become in terms of the way it portrays women’s bodies can be see in this parody experiment showing men posing in the exact same way as women from iconic sexualized ads from brands such as Carls. Jr. burgers and American Apparel.

objectification-in-advertising

We really love and respect the fact that Madonna wanted to do something to honor her daughters, because that recognition of how advertising is so powerful in our culture and can literally impact a child’s image of him or herself is important. The sexualization and objectification is so ingrained in our culture, we have to be brave enough to speak out and force industry decision-makers to shift their attitudes toward a more empowering message.

We don’t need to be talked down to, objectified or ridiculed to buy a product. Watch the video below and we encourage you to share it with every young woman in your life. This is the type of video that should spark discussions at home, at school, in communities, in colleges and in boardrooms.

At the end of the video it says “I am your mother, daughter, sister, coworker, manager, CEO” to remind the viewer, as well as those within the advertising industry, enough is enough. Follow the #WomenNotObjects Twitter account to see more of their messages and images which you can share with your friends on social media.


 

6 Comments

  1. I hate all these ads that sell stuff with sex. My boyfriend just stares at them and I say sorry I don’t look like that…but nobody does. He thinks I’m just being mean, but we all know photoshop is being used. I’ve been currently watching the #LetmeBME project where they are also addressing how women are shown in the media and what we would like to see changed. Something needs to change. http://mediasavvygirls.com/tag/letmebme/

    • I have four girls. I have been teaching them all I can about sexual objectification so they can recognize it and question it rather than become indoctrinated by it. I applaud anyone who has the courage to take a stand and even admit they were once part of the system that did harm. It is sad most can’t see that the inequality women experience has a direct link to treating women like sexual objects. And when women in the media began to self objectify while calling it empowerment they failed us all. We need women leaders that call attention to the best assets we have – our brains, our creativity, our hearts. The hilarious thing about all of this is men will want to have sex with women even if every woman on earth stopped shaving, bathing, wearing makeup, or high heels yet women trip over themselves to compete for the male attention. Until we realize men are not the holy grail of the universe the value of men in this world will continue to be elevated above women simply based on a few chromosomes at conception that determined when they spoke no one would be staring at their breasts.

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