Friday, March 12, 2010

The Objectification of Women: Women in the Media

The topic of women in the media is a widely-discussed one now, and I’m thrilled to know that it is being given so much attention. Unfortunately, though, women don’t seem to realize that they’re being used as commercial commodities. In my English class in Spring 2007, my teacher showed us a documentary that had done an in-depth analysis of this issue; it was done during a section of the semester on the syllabus when we had to learn to analyze events and circumstances in order to respond to them more wisely and critically. It was then that I started paying attention to how negatively women are portrayed in the media. We don’t realize that we are being used to satisfy men’s (sexual) fantasies. And however we are portrayed as, it is only and only to attract men and is hence something that will give men intense pleasure. For instance, how often do we see women giving child birth in movies or music videos? Rarely, if ever! Because that’s not something men are likely to gain pleasure from. Rape, oh yes, some men actually find pleasure in seeing women being raped! How sickening!

What’s even worse is that, in the ads and commercials entertained by women, most of the goods being sold are not even for women! Most car commercials objectify women when they use a woman to advertise for the car – a woman who’s barely dressed, that is. Of course, it is just to get men’s attention, and the car sellers know their targets too well; the target’s desires are not just acknowledged but accepted and obviously even appreciated as well: Men will be more likely to pay attention to ads if they contain naked women, and not enough people seem to mind this.

How should we approach solving this, one would ask. Well, I think it’s important to first let females know how they are being objectified and abused in such a cunning way that it’s almost deniable. Making observations and then providing information is always a great way to begin making way for change to occur. That way, females can hopefully see how they are being misused – rather, abused – and stand up against it. Not all might agree, and not all might be willing to fight it, but I am also sure that not all know what they are doing and how much they are being taken advantage of, either.


  1. salamuna tol umar dhay gillay okray lol

    I agree with most of what you say.You will ask what I dont agree with well, If there is a an aston martin and a beautiful girl aston for sure will get my attention( for the records
    i m straight lol) Topgear was voted programme of the decade here in UK.I guess cars ads. are very cleverly done
    Also you have mention providing information,well dont you think they have information.

    before you bombard me I appreciate your effort and have always admired you for the work you are doing for women.Also reading my blog which was written a lot before can tell you that.

  2. I think it all boils down to biology. Men and women react way differently when they see the opposite gender. Let’s face it, men are not that well equipped when it comes to controlling their emotions when they see a beautiful woman. There are countless articles on how quickly a man will forget his wife and kids when he sees an attractive lady on the street. But it’s not our fault! Like I said, it’s just biology.

    With that said, it is far easier to use an attractive woman to sell a man something, than to use an attractive man to sell a woman something. A man will remember that face, and linked to that face will be that product.

    I just want to add that I’m seeing more and more ads targeted at women that have attractive male actors in them. For example, fabric softeners are targeted at women usually, and a lot of the new commercials have this ruggedly handsome dad holding his baby etc. Just a thought!

  3. Thanks for your comments, good folks!

    Arif, lol, no! Why would I bombard you with opposition? I don't have a problem with your, or anyone's, views at all. Feel more than free to say anything you want on my blog :) I welcome different views!

    But I don't get your comment... I'm not sure if you're supporting the promotion of business (e.g., car ads) with women as the main promoters, or what. I'm just against the idea of having half-naked women in commercials and ads ... or any women at all! I understand that's what attracts men, but so what? We're seriously objectifying the woman when we make her nothing but someone who can be used for nothing more than an ad!

  4. Zakka ... I don't agree with this whole biology thingie. Don't get me wrong, I know males and females are built differently, BUT I think we (especially Muslims) exaggerate it way too much, enough to convince women to cover up from head to toe just because they might arouse men :S I don't buy that. The Quran doesn't emphasize women's modesty any more than it does men's.

    We focus SO much on women's modesty that we forget to teach men to be modest as well. Like, who ever tells their sons, "Lower your gaze when you see a female"? And how many Muslims promote the "modesty" of women?

    We make it seem as if the woman has no feelings at all, as if she won't get aroused if she sees a handsome man, or a man's chest, or a man's legs, or a man's face ... or if she hears a man's hot voice. Know what I mean?

    I just think we highlight the biological aspect of men FAR more than we do anything else, and I'm starting to think it's *just* to legitimize men's behavior towards women. And in spite of this biological-differences-excuse, when a woman gets raped, I'm sure both you and I (and others) will agree that it's not the woman's fault, that the woman did nothing wrong, and that the man should've handled himself better.

    About men promoting products for women, I agree; I have seen that as well. But not too often are the men dressed half naked, while in virtually every ad is the woman's SOMETHING exposed.

    Isn't it sick that this is what we have to do in order to productively and effectively sell an item? :S

  5. Zakka goes too far on one end, Qrratugai on the other. Biology can never be ruled out completely - for both. Again, the Quran guides us on this and draws lines for both genders.

    Zakka talks about 'linking products to a beautiful face'! Where is 'Lower your gaze', mate?

    Qrratugai, 'Lower your gaze' is also mentioned for women which clearly appreciates your biology! Doesnt it? But it goes a step further and also tells women to 'Cover-up', obviously something on top of your usual attire. We'll discuss the details on your first post! :)

    Guys, we need balance in our lives!!

    But I strongly agree with your original post, the world economy today is mocking at women and 'using' them like dolls and toys. Shakwa illallah!!

  6. ala ma dumra kisa wakra aoo ta poya nashwy .. i was saying yes women are objectified in ads. but not in car ads. and if you look at it from guys perspective guys (well at least me) i will prefer a car over a girl

  7. LOL, Arif :D
    Hmm... mara, all these car ads I see with with women, over 80% of them are like done with (barely dressed) women; what else would I think, y'know?

    I've a friend who did her PhD thesis on women in ads/commercials, and she had to review over a thousand ads for it. I'll see if I can find it and share it with you. The results were too overwhelming, really. Oh, and, in general, it was about the portrayal of women in the media.


Dare to opine :)

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