Monday, November 9, 2009

From The Camp That Says Women Are Degraded

Yes, they do. A woman's sexuality cannot be divorced from her humanity, yet Madison Avenue earns huge amounts of money using it to deliver secular messages to specifically targeted markets. At the same time, they subliminally promote the idea that a woman's worth resides in her physical attributes, and in her ability to successfully use those attributes to entice consumers into buying what she is selling. That, in essence, puts women on the same level as socket wrenches and fish bait.

The burden these advertisements place on women to conform to unrealistic standards contributes to their degradation, especially on a personal level. The public in general has been brainwashed into believing that the women shown in commercials or print ads embody perfection, and as that lie begins to burrow its way into her psyche, the school secretary or soccer mom becomes convinced she is inadequate by comparison. She eventually succumbs to a deeper belief that she cannot be what she believes her husband desires. Not only is she not pretty or sexy enough to make him happy, but her personality is as dull as her looks. She does not have the ability, nor the resources, to create with him a life more exciting than PTA meetings or movie nights. As a result, she soon feels devalued because of who and what she is not. Through the dissemination of this kind of propaganda, the advertisers of Madison Avenue create for themselves a huge market where women will buy whatever it takes to make them feel wanted and worthy.

It is disconcerting to think that our culture propagates (and apparently endorses) this philosophy. One cannot pick up a magazine or watch a television program without being assaulted with images of young, scantily-clad women with flat tummies and perfectly rounded breasts. There is high demand for "how-to" articles and infomercials that explain how to prevent wrinkles, get poutier lips, thicker eyelashes, and thinner thighs. Face-lifts, breast augmentation, and tummy tucks are becoming routine procedures, and are openly marketed to the general population.

Competition for consumers' discretionary dollars is fierce, and using sex to hawk merchandise has become the norm in the industry. Perhaps our sensitivity to the issue has been dulled as a result of over-exposure. If so, how do we stop it? This type of exploitation will continue unless we decide that women are equal members of society, and that their sexuality (like their humanity) is intrinsically valuable and too precious to be used for commercial purposes. Only then will our daughters and grand-daughters be able to reap the benefits inherent and accessible in an enlightened society.

by Cindy Thrasher

1 comment:

  1. I could not have articulated it much better. I agree with all the points raised.