Props, eye candy, fluff: Women in advertising

This isn't a guest post - it's the first post from new writer Joan.  Take it away Joan - and we'll get you set up as an author asap!

"What's your problem?" "You've no sense of humour!" "You're just jealous." Ah, some of the familiar refrains of dismissal typically lobbed at any woman who dares to question the surplus-to-requirements bodies in, well, oodles of product launches and ads which bombard us daily.

On Monday and Tuesday, Broadsheet were all over a frankly weird looking image. It took me a while to figure out that the Irish Heart Foundation were behind the campaign to get people into sport.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the connection between a bouncy young wan in wee teeny shorts and cardiac disease. Or tag rugby, for that matter.  Nor did I see the link between a booby brunette and tinned peas. (Especially when the focus of that campaign appears to be topless fellas. Colour me confused.)

Am I alone here?

I rarely hear any comment being passed on this kind of morketing, but when those brave voices do pipe up, they're shouted down as angry feminists, as if that's a bad thing.


There also seems to be the obligatory whinge of "Remember that Diet Coke Break ad!" from plenty of nay-saying chaps (presumably accompanied by some finger wagging), to put us in our place and conclude the argument. There's nary a whiff of irony that the Diet Coke ad of yore is one - one single solitary drop of ogling at exposed chest hair - compared to several million oceans worth of T&A advertising.

Indeed, a more recent Diet Coke ad pretty much sums up the prevailing depiction of women: that we are (or should aspire to be) plasticky, tiny-waisted, giant-headed, unrealistic Bratz-esque dolls cluelessly faffing about.

From a marketing point of view, it's cheap and lazy (even government Ministers can't help themselves.), but never ceases to stir up some kind of artificial battle of the sexes. (Even when clever people like Susan McKay reluctantly speak up to counter certain imagery while trying to avoid adding to the free publicity.)

Don't marketing folk need to get smarter and realise that it is possible to depict women as anything other than disposable, consumable objects?

Are you bothered by this type of advertising or do you think it's just Hunky Dory?




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