Does Advertising Promote Inequality?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

               Everywhere you look advertising is telling us how we should look, dress, and act. Driving down the highway you see billboards, checking your Facebook you see side ads, and watching your favorite sitcom you encounter dozens of commercials. Although the products they are advertising are different, the message behind them seems to be the same.
                After viewing a short film called ‘Killing Us Softly’ in a Social Inequality course here at Eastern Connecticut State University, I became much more aware, and offended, by the fact that women in advertising are used as sexual objects and second class citizens. In the film, Jean Kilbourne shares her passion and analytical view on advertisements specifically those featuring women. Jean’s funny and witty nature captivates the audience so she can truly get her point across. Jean says although most of us think we are immune to advertisings effects, we aren’t. She states “The fact is that much of advertising's power comes from this belief that advertising does not affect us. The most effective kind of propaganda is that which is not recognized as propaganda. Because we think advertising is silly and trivial, we are less on guard, less critical, than we might otherwise be. It's all in fun, it's ridiculous. While we're laughing, sometimes sneering, the commercial does its work.”
Subconsciously these advertisements are telling us that women are unintelligent sexualized objects that are good for pleasing men, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children; ideas that are extremely dated but still shown to us on a daily basis in a way where most people won’t realize or be offended. Think of the last Windex or Swiffer advertisement you saw…who was the main character? My guess is that it was a woman who was cleaning up after her family; correct me if I’m wrong. Then there are the cologne ads which are so sexualized we hardly even know what they are selling. To prove this I Goggled “cologne” and on the first page of results this is what I found…

If I saw this ad in passing I would have absolutely no idea what it was selling. By taking a closer look, yes, technically it does say the cologne is called “Obsession for men” by Calvin Klein, but still how does the photo in this ad correlate to cologne? Maybe if you wear it a gorgeous supermodel will show up naked at your doorstep? This is just one of many examples of how advertising uses and degrades women to nothing more than sexual objects.
                It is important for all women and those who support gender equality to make a change. By consuming these ads we are saying that women are less than men, less than human, and not worthy of the same respect of their opposing gender. For ways to make a difference visit for ideas and organizations that challenge destructive media images.

Volunteer Opportunity!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

MDA Summer Camp in Hebron CT is looking for Counselors! Please inquire with questions, interest or to receive an application call: 203-248-6500 / Fax: 203-248-6540 or email

Persuasive Panel

On Thursday March 7th, 2013 students filed into the Student Center Theater at Eastern Connecticut State University to listen to the experiences of Post Graduates who joined the Peace Corp, Food Corp, AmeriCorps, and Teach for America. The purpose of this event was to educate students on different full-time service opportunities they can join upon graduating from Eastern in which they will not only bring their skills to meaningful work but will build their resumes. Everyone had their own stories and experiences to share with the audience but one story in particular stood out to me and the majority of the audience. Brianna London served with the Peace Corp abroad. She decided to join the Peace Corp after she graduated college because she wanted to take a break before thinking about going to graduate school but wasn’t ready to enter a full-time office job. After her orientation and training period, Brianna was sent to a remote village in Burkina Faso, Africa where she spent the next two years as the only American in the area. She primarily worked with groups of subsistence farmers and craftspeople to develop new business opportunities. She quickly became a role model for women in the village as she worked with them on confidence building techniques and helped them learn a new trade, soap making.  She worked with them to design a quicker more efficient way to prepare food which saved the villagers time and money. Brianna served in every aspect they needed her; some days she was a nurse, a chef, a financial advisor, or sometimes just a friend. Over the two years she was there Brianna learned the native language and made a huge impact in the economy of the village. As much as the villagers learned from her, she learned as much from them. She had to embrace a culture entirely different than her own and the people of the village tried to help her make that transition as smoothly as possible. Brianna now hopes to return to the village and is studying new ways to help them develop their economy. After the Panel, Brianna was surrounded by students who wanted to know more about her story. The bravery it took to move to another country with no knowledge of the area or language and have that big of an impact is something we can all admire and hope to achieve one day. I, like many of the audience, came to learn how to further our careers, but what we took away from it is that we can all do something as brave as Brianna and have amazing experience as well.