Women and ads, why does sex sell?

Written by: Kiah Welsh notbuy

It’s a known fact that sex sells. But how far will advertising executives stoop to sell a product or to gauge a particular market? From my perspective, it seems to be at great lengths and at any cost. Whether I am flipping through a magazine or sitting on the bus looking up at ads, the exploitation of women has visibly gotten worse over the years. When exposed to these ads, I question, “What does the information being advertised have in relation with the product?” I believe many of us think the same question over and again, yet despite the upraising thoughts, we choose to stay silent and like a sponge, we soak, consume and accept the ill images brought forth to us. Why?

Just recently, a major award show broadcasted on CTV’s Much Music, the MMVA’s (Much Music Video Awards) caught my eye. While watching the commercial for the award show, I noticed images of naked female anatomy with blurbs covering private places. To me, this seemed completely inappropriate. Moreover, the catch slogan, “Get Naked,” was really absurd. I thought to myself, “What message was trying to be conveyed?” The only possible answer I could think of was to draw people’s attention into watching the award show.

While browsing the Internet, I came across a company that has gone to great lengths to sell their product – American Apparel.* One commercial in particular featured a bunch of women flaunting their bodies in red bathing suits, the camera zooming in and out of particular body parts, while the women’s bodies rubbed against each other. I was not impressed.

Women are constantly displayed as objects without minds of their own. Rarely do I see women of stature represented. Although women have travelled a long journey, whether education or sports wise, women still face many hurdles. In order for us to move forward, it’s time we all had a voice stating that negative ads of women portrayed are unacceptable, and that a more positive image should be instilled in the media. I’ve often wondered why negative images outweigh the good, but at some point, someone has to stop the leakage from spilling over.

*In the McClung’s winter 2008 issue our she-said-she-said (debate section) was on American Apparel advertising. Check it out: Pros and negatives.


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