Objectification and Degradation of Women in Advertisements

by Brittani Rast



Since the start of advertising, women have been degraded, objectified, insulted, and degraded. Sexism towards women in advertising has been prevalent. It is not as acceptable now, but in the 1950s it was more acceptable for women to be portrayed (and forced to be) submissive, sexual objects controlled by their husbands. Ads directed at women were for cosmetic items, cleaning items, etc. to keep their husbands happy. Many ads showed men being dominant to their wives and other women.

This treatment of women still exists today. Another effect of this is women and girls’ body images. We still see the same use in advertising of women as sexual objects and objectification. However, this goes beyond sexual objectification. Retouching and editing images with software such as Photoshop has detrimental effects on the body images of females. They create perfect women with impossible proportions, flawless skin, and all around ingenuity.

“Advertising, marketing, and the fashion industry have created a new type of woman that does not exist in the real world. You know here very well, but let’s look at her main features:

  • This woman has no wrinkles, blemishes or scars; her skin is perfect.
  • She has impossibly long, smooth, and shapely legs.
  • Her waist so small it would make a Barbie doll jealous.
  • Her ample breasts and buttocks are gravity-defying miracles.
  • She has a head of silky, radiant hair that looks like CGI.
  • Her eyes are dazzlingly bright.
  • Her teeth are beyond white. They are straight, perfect, and almost unreal (Paul Suggett, The Balance).”

Men are conditioned to want this women throughout their lives. They are told they must desire this woman. Women are told they need to be this woman. This happens from an early age. The issue is that this woman does not exist — she is a creation of imaging software, yet we are bombarded with the fake images and are taught to think it is reality. It is damaging to psychologically to both men and women. It is a disgusting practice  that needs to end.




Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism