Aamani Chava, Amanda McGuire, Carly Goldstein, Jessica Rubin
Women’s Studies 101
Professor Pushkala Prasad
The Portrayal of Women in Advertisements
Contemporary society has been praised and revered for its emphasis on equality
between males and females. However, when looking at advertisements from various
popular magazines, the reader receives quite a different message. Images of extreme
thinness, bondage, and the constant portrayal of women as sex objects have flooded the
media. Major designers such as Dior, Dolce and Gabanna, Gucci, and Bebe have
manipulated common stereotypes concerning women and used them to sell their
products. Although women hold positions of power, they are continuously judged for not
conforming to the popular idea of feminine conduct. Therefore, when a reader sees a
picture of a model holding a whip, or trapped in a locked, metal corset, it does not seem
surprising. After all, from childhood, girls are taught what is appropriate female behavior
and how to attract members of the opposite sex.
Women are portrayed as mere objects in most magazine advertisements these
days. In the Christian Dior ad, the model presents us with a ridiculous idea of thinness.
In every single ad, she shows us that being gaunt and emaciated is the look of high
fashion. When we look at ads such as this, we notice the models before we notice the
clothes or accessories they are wearing. If the image presented is one of a skeletal-like
figure, we are most likely to assume that being this thin is ideal.
In the Dolce and Gabbana advertisement, there is a power struggle between men
and women. The men are vulnerable and nude, but the women are restricted due to their
corsets. This picture portrays a type of S&M bondage where the models are shown as