Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blog Post #2-- What's Cheaper? WOMEN OR BEER?!?

When products such as alcohol, cologne, and video games were intended to be bought by men for men, the use of women’s sexuality was exploited in order to advertise the product. Therefore, it is apparent that the products were designed to intrigue heterosexual men even though the products can be universal despite the sexual preference of the buyer. The discussion that follows represents a masculine point of view and clarifies that provocative women are used to sale products based on cultural embodiment of fulfilling the desires of how men will view themselves if they purchase the product.

Sut Jhally, author of “Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture,” notes several relevant aspects about advertising. Jhally affirms that advertisements produce false notions of “real people” and therefore, viewers believe a hierarchical status is achievable (250). Thus, advertisement suggests that if the person buys a certain product, such as cologne, the man will be able to attract at least one extremely sexual and beautiful woman. As a result, the hierarchical status is achieved because American culture has currently deemed “beauty” to consist of highly desirable flawless features, as depicted by the men’s advertisements (Kilbourne 260). Therefore, a man who is looking at the P.Diddy advertisement may think that the cologne will bring him one step closer to being similar to P.Diddy in the advertisement who has apparent “control” over a beautiful woman that is pinned against a wall. Or, as the Tom Ford cologne shows, full and sultry breasts will want to be near the man who is wearing the scent. However, take note that the picture does not portray the face of the woman, because her face may imply a personality which is irrelevant to achieving a superficial hierarchical status of beauty because it is not the men who need to look beautiful (remember men only need to smell good, hence the cologne) it is the beautiful woman attracted to the men which in return represents a powerful man. Thus, females used for male advertisements does degrade women because it is the perfection of female’s curvy and fit bodies that is being sexually admired based solely on specific American cultural standards of “beautiful” bodily proportions.

Jhally also makes reference to the fact that as advertisements have progressed in American culture since the mid twentieth century, few words are needed to represent culture if a strong visual image is available for the viewer (250). Nevertheless, male advertisements that are similar to feminine products require many words and explanations to justify that the product is still masculine. For instance, facial products and cleansers by Clinique made especially for men—hence the title “Clinique Men”— are bottled in dark, neutral containers, with clear and simple explanations of the reason why the product is necessary and should be purchased (Kirkham and Weller). Accordingly, beer is a masculine drink and needs no explanation to justify the product since it has been drunk by men for decades. Furthermore, there is a connection between how products are being advertised and how men identify domains in life based on the ads. Beer also sends the message of enjoying the “good life” while consuming the drink, and is tied to “eroticism,” as well (Jhally 251). Thus, beer and sex become united through a masculine point of view as an outcome helix of one leisure activity. Since sexuality also gets attention instantaneously, there can be miniscule debate that most of the beer ads feature sexually desired thin women because men want to associate those aspects to pleasure. Therefore the “sex” that is selling in all of the advertisements is related to images of women who represent sexual pleasure which leads to acquired power for men as they achieve a hierarchical status in American culture.

Works Cited

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Jhally, Sut. "Image-Based Culture." Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003. 250-251.

Kilbourne, Jean. "The More You Subtract, the More You Add." Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003. 259-260.

Kirkham, Pat, and Alex Weller. "Cosmetics: a Clinique Case Study." Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003. 269.

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