A Not So Super Societal Standard

Let the Super Bowl hype begin! And I’m not talking about the game, I’m talking about the commercials.

Late January of each year, we have a short-lived debate about the objectification of women in advertising as corporations spend big dollars on their Super Bowl moments. This year is no different with the hype around Mercedes Benz and the Kate Upton commercial (http://youtu.be/uPq7jVGPs3g). If we take the time to rank how awful this particular commercial is on an objectification scale, it would definitely make the top ten.

Let’s not forget that one of the root causes of domestic violence and sexual assault is the objectification of women.  If a woman is objectified, she is made less than human, making violence against her more acceptable. 

This type of objectification of women is certainly not limited to Super Bowl commercials. Every media platform plays a role in equating a women’s worth to that of her body parts.  It is witnessed each day in magazines, TV commercials and programming, movies, talk shows, online, in classrooms – the list is endless.  We are completely immersed in a culture that condones the objectification of women ALL the time!  And when we allow it to happen or at the very least when we tolerate its existence, we continue to give it our stamp of approval. 

These images and messages are most often employed to attract attention to sell products. And it’s not uncommon to have difficultly deciphering what product is being advertised due to the focus being placed on the objectified woman. The objectified woman, or her parts, typically have very little to do with the product.  And purchasing products or services that utilize these tactics only communicates that the practice is accepted and encourages the cycle to continue.  Companies X, Y and Z continue to line their already fat pockets at the expense of women. 

So for this year’s Super Bowl, I will not tune in to view these trashy advertising schemes for entertainment.  Instead, I will speak out to share the message that this pervasive exploitation of women is unacceptable.  I will also continue to do my part by speaking with my dollars and choosing not to support companies that embrace this skewed sense of femininity.

I urge you to educate yourself and begin to recognize how this type of treatment of women has become commonplace.  Here is a great Web site to learn more about this important topic (http://www.missrepresentation.org/#).  You can also use HAVEN as a resource. Consider inviting one of our team to speak at your next service organization meeting, book club, classroom, etc.  Contact Cristy Cardinal, Director of Prevention Education, at 248.334.1284 x360 for more information.

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One response to “A Not So Super Societal Standard

  1. 4. Axe’s Categories Of Annoying Girlfriends… No roundup of advertising fails would be complete without Axe , the men’s toiletry brand notorious for ad campaigns portraying women as annoying, clingy and airheaded (or in one case, literally headless — see below). True to its reputation, Axe produced several ads in 2012 that could have made this list, but two campaigns in particular stood out. The first consists of five videos showing how a man can keep up with his super-stereotyped “brainy,” “sporty,” “flirty,” partying” or “high maintenance” girlfriend . Washing with one of the Axe shower gels, the ad promises, will magically enable the user to endure whatever trials he encounters on the way to getting laid.

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