Women As Marketing Tools

By Modupe Akinyemi

Marketing involves all the activities put in place by a company to promote their goods and service and consequently make more sales. The New York Times describes it as “the art of telling stories so enthralling that people lose track of their wallets”. Advertising is one of the important tools adopted in marketing. It influences the way we think and ultimately make decisions on goods and services.

Ads have always been found to contain women in them. No matter the targeted demography, it just appears as though women being in the picture get the job done. While this may not necessarily be an issue, the source of concern surrounds the representation and portrayal of women in these ads.

When you see an Ad showing a leader or a person of power, it is a man! When an intelligent and productive person with a good job, a great cycle of friends, and decent clothing is to be represented, a man is shown! However, when an ad is to portray a stay-at-home parent, office assistant, maid, or cook, a woman is seen. When sexuality is involved, a woman is seen. You find the woman in provocative clothing, with postures and behaviours that summarize her humanity based on her body. This way, the man represents strength, energy, and dominance while the woman is portrayed as being desirable, available, tempting, and submissive.

While it may seem like a good thing that women are more persuading to the audience, we find that the story-line adopted in achieving this purpose is very de-humanizing. The narratives portray women as tools and objects both physically and sexually. Funny enough, most goods advertised are just for marketing purposes, they are usually not usable directly as pictured, however, continuous exposure to these visuals forms an image in the mind of the audience to act accordingly.

Not only do ads place the woman’s value on her body but overtime, advertising companies have been able to create a picture of the perfect woman. She is perfectly shaped, usually very slim with the right proportions of natural ‘assets’ and no shortcoming whatsoever. All she represents is perfection and ultimate radiance! Radiant skin, teeth, hair, nails, etc. Entirely different and far away from the diversity of the natural and real woman.

These pictures have consistently formed images in the mind of viewers on what a woman should look and be like. Unfortunately, the real-life woman is far from it. She has belly bumps, saggy breasts, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation, acne etc. She comes in different colours, height, shape, stature and so much beauty! Sadly, many women forget this and struggle so hard in becoming a TV lady. Whereas that lady is a product of several hours of make-up.

Degrading a woman’s value and worth in the name of advertising may seem harmless until a lady commits suicide for not having the same length of legs like that of a model on TV or a boy rapes a lady because he has continually fed his subconscious with rights to a woman’s body as its suites. Whilst many ads have come to say we support and value women, the sales strategy still sells the woman’s body not her personality, intelligence, ideas, or worth.

Ads are not just ads. They are a representation of our society’s values and a woman’s symbol lie not only in her sexuality or ability to cook but in her abundance of strength, courage, discipline and intelligence. Characters that cannot be expressed through mere objectification in whatever form.

Source: Above Whispers

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