Sex In Advertising
An important controversial issue that America faces today is the debate of sex in advertising. Edward A. McCabe and John Carroll are two authors that present opposing arguments about this issue. McCabe persuades the reader into thinking that sex in advertising is no big deal, while Carroll explains why this is a major problem in America. Sex ads are defined as any type of advertising that shows pictures of partial nudity with wording that relates to the body in a sexual way, usually portraying women. Sex in advertising has been around for a long time but has the industry become too sexually explicit?
Sex is everywhere, in almost every advertisement we see. While some people do not even realize it is there, others have strong rejections against it. McCabe admits that some of it is unnecessary and tasteless, but most of us do not admit that it affects us, but it does. The truth is that sex sells by capturing the consumer s attention.
The problems associated with sex in advertising are overlooked. One ad designer said, it s supposed to be funny. People shouldn t take it so literally and seriously. It s just advertising (p 596). But advertising is serious because it affects everyone s lives. It impacts everyone since we learn about society through it. In sex ads, we learn that women are just objects and we can do whatever we want to them. It is offensive to women and causes insensitivity to them. It basically says hey, look at me, I m sexier than you. Women in society start believing this and it results in a lower self-esteem and it could eventually lead to male domination. Advertisements capture the attention of everyone, but what we don t realize is that it also catches the attention of children who are not ready for these types of ads. This is a major problem in the American society.
Most advertising professionals share the same position that it is not a serious issue. But if the advertising business as well as the rest of society becomes aware of this problem, change can occur. Over the last few years, protests over the depiction of women in ads have grown. If society is aware of this problem, it will act against it to reduce this problem.
Another way to solve this issue is to reduce the amount of sex in advertisements since most ads have nothing to do with sex. There should be a campaign or organization to regulate such ads, similar to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Its purpose would be to figure out what ads are appropriate and locate other ads where it is not appropriate. The inappropriate ads would not be submitted for advertisement. Reduction of sex ads will help stop the problem because women, children, and the rest of society would not be affected by so many of the offensive ads. Sexier women would not exploit the average body of a woman so regular women will not carry low self-esteems. Regular people will replace the sexy models so with this, children will not be affected and women will feel better about themselves.
This is not proposing to ban sex in advertising altogether, there will be a moderate amount where it is appropriate. But some might think this violates America s freedom of speech and that the advertisers can put anything in their ads. But there are laws and organizations that limit this freedom such as the FCC. Other people think that it is not a large enough issue to affect all of society and it should not be made into such a big case. But women are stereotyped and degraded everywhere so this will be a start to full equality between men and women.
Other proposals that try to help the problem would not succeed. Some suggest that it should be left alone but it will only get worse from this. More and more advertisers would put sex into their ads so it will increase the problem. Some propose to ban sex in advertising altogether. This would surely get rid of the problem but advertisers would be out of a business, especially advertisements that require sex in them. So becoming aware and limiting the amount of sex would be the best proposal to solve the problem.
Advertising is supposed to get people s attention but it should get their attention in a normal, creative way, and not with an offensive, imitation model that does not represent normal people. McCabe admits that sex in ads are more about chauvinism and cocksmanship than about salesmanship. If these people are professionals in the advertising business, they should act like professionals and think of something creative other than relying on sex as their only option. I m sure they can find a better subject matter than sex to use in advertising. The advertisers are more concerned with sales rather than figuring out what is considered respectable. If they realize that they are stereotyping and portraying women as sex symbols rather than equal members of society, they may just decrease their use of sex in advertisements. With this awareness, along with an effective organization to limit sex ads, the problem of stereotyping women will be put to an end.