Advertisers: We're Women, Not Objects

Written by PTC | Published March 8, 2016

Front Pic One woman's heartfelt letter to Madison Avenue.
Dear advertisers, We are more than just our bodies. burger kingToday I googled “ads that objectify women.” What I found were endless advertisements of women being sexualized for products as simple as a sandwich, up to images suggesting violence and even rape. Researchers at Ohio State University have published a meta-analysis study comprising 8,489 participants and found that ads with violent or sexual content decrease advertising effectiveness. These types of advertisements are nothing new...but the push to end them is gaining steam. Madonna Badger, co-founder and chief creative officer of the advertising agency Badger & Winters, told the Wall Street Journal, “I want my life to have a purpose.” Her agency has sworn off airbrushing females in their ads “to the point of perfection.” She created a video to raise awareness about ads that objectify women, as part of a campaign called #WomenNotObjects. She hopes to convince ad agencies and marketers to stop using women as objects in their advertising, pointing out that sexist advertising is harmful to young women and can undermine their self-esteem and self-confidence. D&GThe video ends with a thought-provoking message: “I am your mother, daughter, sister, coworker, manager, your CEO. Don’t talk to me that way.” Multi-national consumer goods company Procter and Gamble has for years now created positive messages that empower both women and girls. Nike has also done well at portraying women as achievers. These two well-known, American Apparellong-standing brands are proof that a product can sell without exploiting women. A survey by SheKnows found that “51% of women polled like pro-female ads because they believe they break down gender-equality barriers, and 71% of respondents think brands should be responsible for using advertising to promote positive messages to women and girls.” Fifty-two percent of women polled purchased a product because they liked the way the ads portrayed women. Avi Dan, a contributor to Forbes magazine said it best, “The root cause for objectifying ads is a lack of maturity. [Tweet "Objectification is a sophomoric, low-brow kind of communication, and agencies and marketers simply need to grow up."] Unfortunately, years of unabated objectification have ingrained it in our culture and given it permission. Women, and society in general, should demand that, when it comes to gender, a clear line of authenticity needs to be respected. Perhaps we should support companies that support women–and demand that brands who continue to demean and objectify women will occupy less space on our television screens, billboards and magazine pages.” Sincerely, A woman

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