COM360 Alternative Media: Discrimination Against Women in Advertising

This article is written for the course COM360 Alternative Media. I have to say that this course provided different thinking approaches to me about the alternative media. Especially, it developed my critical and comparing thinking skills in topics both of the main stream media and alternative media. During the lectures, I learned that the alternative media offers different organization structure and their practice with their discourse. However, after the all of the subjects discussed in the course, one of them has taken my interest.

The gender discrimination in advertisement especially against women is paid attention to me among the topics. My attention has started during the lecture that mention about gender discrimination and then, as a group we prepare a presentation, and during the process, I analyzed and searched on gender discrimination in advertisement and its effects in the media. At the end, I noticed that we encourage with this matter in our daily life obviously, but mostly we do not care. The usage of woman figure is a fact that encountered in frequently in both world and our country. The placed stereotype of woman is reflected to television programs, newspaper, advertisements, films etc… In media, the woman shows as a consumer as well as an object used in consumption. In my article, I examined the stereotypical usage of woman image in advertisements under two main concepts. These are woman as sexual object, women’s accepted role (mother& wife).

The first issue is that woman is used as a sexual objects in advertisement. In today, the easy way to attract people’s attention (especially men) in a product’s advertisement is the use of woman. The attractiveness of women can make them even interesting product. Therefore, use of women in the media increases more in time. In many times, the newspaper includes photographs that put forward the women body under the title of art or fashion news. In sometimes, the irrelevant news can be offered by women. In this context, it is possible to say that the media increases daily rating account over the women body. In TV series, films, advertisements, magazine programs, woman is mostly featured with sexuality. With this way, women became exploitative of media. On the other hand, it is not noticed that the advertisement, programs etc. are engraved in people’s subconscious ideal woman sizes and a woman become well-groomed, she always looks beauty and thin. I think that advertisements which target group of men, women are seen as the object of the naked and exhibiting their bodies. With this way, advertisement ownerships aim to increase the sales of products. For example, in a shoes advertisement that used attractive woman, it is created perception that if you buy this shoes, you can have a passionate geisha like that.

Secondly, the other important topic is women’s accepted role in society. How it is reflected to this perception to the people? When examines in advertisements, they apply different methods to pay attention to people. Longstanding advertisements are emphasized the ideal woman describes as ‘good wife’ as well as a ‘good mother’. Actually, the advertisement can be change depending on changing life style, values, cultures, etc…When looking at the advertisement of 60s’, most of the ads were focused to show the weakness of woman who accept man’s dominance, and the woman reflected meticulous at the level of obsessiveness and the aim is that the affected to her husband and make household chores during day. In cleaning materials or diaper ads, it is seen that the main figure is ‘magnificent motherhood’ being happy when she cleans the house or find appropriate diaper her baby. Motherhood always is reflected as first rule of the woman by media.

Against all of them, in recent years, with women who show in more business life and becoming more social, the perception of woman as a mother and wife start to change though not so much. In advertisements in which the working woman is also include in media. I last seen advertisement of ‘Selpak’ in these days. It helped to believe that some people start to be aware of the woman. It became a different advertisement. This good advertisement motto is ‘Did not it comes time for you to delete the prejudices? Selpak is about the story of successful women despite of the prejudices with this advertisement. They started a communication campaign that query the bias, and they aimed to create awareness in society. I think that this ads contributes to break down the perception of ‘ideal woman’. In addition, a web page that I searched named ‘Feminist-iz’ that a group of women who is prevented and ignored by main stream media create their own alternative media to create awareness against mainstream media. They share their experiences, free ideas and knowledge with the peoples via publishing fanzin, news, documentaries and videos.

To sum up, with this alternative media course I acquired new knowledge and learned to look at a topic in different aspects. Especially, in process of this topic, I saw many differences between reflected to the people in alternative media and main stream media. With this article, I learned that when advertisement that source of income of media gives a message to targeting group of people, it reflects values and gender roles of this society. There is no doubt that, time is passing and some stereotypes are hard to change in a short term. In parallel with, the advertisement that the main purpose is paid attention by consumers still use the woman as a sexual object to acquire profit. On the other hand, other method to sell products is that the woman express as cultural and traditional model of society. Ideal woman model shown in media as a good mother or wife used in especially household chores or cleaning product advertisements has some purpose in this sector at the end. In all of this, I have to say that this ideas is trying to change and it is tried to create awareness in society in today’s world as in ‘selpak’ advertisement that I have mentioned above.  Hence, the change in gender roles is directly related with the changing in advertising. Because the advertisements are settled in culture and community moves with judgments. So the conversion in the ads, but the entire aggregation it can happen together with the spreading transformation.