The Portrayal Of Women In Advertising

1222 words - 5 pages

Within this essay I plan to discuss the portrayal of women in contemporary advertising and focus around the ideologies of the male gaze according to Laura Mulvey. Laura Mulvey is a feminist film theorist commonly known for her controversial essay, “visual pleasure and narrative cinema” written in 1973. This piece went on to be published in the influential British film journey screen. (Hein,2008) Her written views have achieved to shift the perception of film theories conventional structure known as psychoanalytic, which were written about by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan.

Lacan was to have primarily came up with the theory and was originally identified as the “gaze”. His use was to define the anxious state that derives with the awareness that one could be viewed. He argues that a person loses a sense of “autonomy” upon realizing that he/she is being objectified. Many film theorists used psychoanalytic ideas in their theoretical accounts of the cinema however Mulvey’s influence was to establish the connection between film theory, the beliefs of psychoanalysis and feminism. (Grosz,2013)

Simplifying the meaning of the gaze would be better defined as how an audience views people presented to them however as for feminists it can be looked upon in three ways; how men look at women, how women look at themselves and how women look at other women. Laura Mulvey believes that in film, audiences have to ‘view’ characters from the perspective of a heterosexual male however Mulveys main idea is a belief in which is centralized on the superiority of the male sex; known as phallocentrism. The male gaze can easily be applied or seen in contemporary advertising. The 21st century has opened up new doors to make the way we access things much more easier. The way in which we communicate has evolved, creating loop holes for many aspects of our lives and is often debatable, arguing if the rise in technology is for the greater in our benefit. (Hein,2008) It’s been undeniable that advertisement companies have had more opportunities to use females for the face of branding and objectification.

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a worldwide marketing campaign. The aim of the campaign is to create “a world where beauty is a source of confidence, and not anxiety.” The campaign also wants to help the next generation of women “develop a positive relationship with the way they look.” Throughout their advertisements dove have used a variety of women who have a various range of body sizes, skin colours, heights and ethical backgrounds. Dove uses the colour white significantly often dressing their models in white underwear or clothes. More than so using white backgrounds and backdrops which seem to mimic their usual product colours packaging and advertising theme. White usually symbolizing the message of purity, comfort and happiness or is often seen as the colour of a virgin. The use of the selection of women compared to regular stereotypical models gives the viewer a...

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