Binary Schminary




Leaning over dutifully, a woman in a revealing dress serving vodka to a faceless man represents the expectation that women serve men. The woman in the uncomfortable-looking dress is surrounded by a captivating nighttime view of a city filled with high rises. She holds a sleek cocktail shaker above the martini she presumably served the mysterious man. Her body opens towards him and her leg inches towards him, as if to try and get his attention. The entirety of her being is in a position to serve and please him. She bears the burden of six inch heels, wears a dress with cutouts that make it difficult to wear comfortable undergarments, and dawns a complicated hairstyle all with a face full of intricately applied makeup. Her voluminous hair shines with a reflection attainable only with hairspray and the rest of her body is positioned in a way that the light hits it to show off the full extent of her lean legs and arms.
   The fact that she has all these outside alterations to her appearance is not intrinsically bad, but the fact that the ad puts these things on a woman that is serving a man is completely detrimental to the image of women in the media. Her gently pursed lips sit out of place on her face adorned in sultry eye makeup and bone structure accentuated with the help of bronzer and highlighter. The definition of her calf muscles points to the unnatural bend created in her foot by the six inch heals she wears. Not only is there a martini in her perfectly maroon manicured hand, but there is also one waiting beside a bottle of Skyy Vodka on the coffee table next to man and woman. Since the photo is set in a desolate apartment, the woman is dressed up for an evening of serving the man. The manner in which Skyy Vodka portrays a relationship between in a man and woman places women in a position inferior to men. In the ad, the woman has not gotten dressed up, had makeup placed on her face, and used heat and products to style her hair for a social event. She took time out of her day to get ready for an evening in with a man that expects her to serve him drinks. This image attests to the fact that women are still seen by some people as less than men.

A man stands in elevator with a figurative quarter shaven down to reveal an inner, better man. The outer self dons a content grin and innocent look in his eyes. A festive beanie, thick scarf, and geometric patterned sweater protect the outer man. In a low, extended hand, he holds three Old Spice products covered in soap and water. The inner man does not bother to even wear a shirt. A strap with pockets varying from corndogs to walkie-talkies to binoculars rests on his muscular chest. The only other things resting on him other than clothes are an anaconda around his neck and a makeshift bandana on his head. The grimace in his mouth matches his preparedness to fight at any moment. In his inner hand, a leaky bowl of dynamite infested cereal sits dripping forcefully. The inner man’s arms are decked out in grand muscles and his overall thickness is significantly less than the outer man’s. Scattered around, the inner man’s five o’clock shadow is exaggerated by the bleak and unfaltering lighting of the elevator. The divide through the top half of the man mirrors the differences in size of not only their bodies, but their facial features and bone structure. The outer man has softer bone definition because he is chubbier but the difference in nose structure is significant. The inner man expresses qualities of tough, macho man. His disregard for danger as exemplified by his venomous companion and explosive breakfast create an image of a carefree daredevil. Large muscles and sweat distributed across his body say this man participates in physical activity often and diligently enough for physical results. The primal need to eat stands as a key component of his lifestyle since not only is there cereal in his hand but there is also a stray corndog in his chest strap. The primitive characteristics and rash tendencies of the better man translate into what the Old Spice believes will be found through the use of their products.
   Gender stereotypes are one of many damaging aspects of our society. The two advertisements discussed in the previous paragraphs are only a taste of the many binary biased advertisements on existence. Women, having been historically subject to ridiculous inequality, start a lower point in the world of stereotypes given the many negative connotations towards them. In the past, advertisements were much more straightforward when they wanted women to look or act a certain way and would simply state the goal or purpose they wanted for women. In today’s era, ads found a way to convey society’s laundry list for women through subtle placement of misogynistic ideals. These subliminal messages seep through the minds of malleable young girls and boys and convince them that that is the way life should be. The gender stereotype reinforcement for men is even more subtle than for women. With men, the stereotypes are smuggled through a man’s actions in an ad versus a woman’s image in an ad. In many ads, men are seen simply standing around, rejoicing in their male-centric society fun. Their simple act of being as the default gender is enough for a captivating or convincing advertisement. With a woman in an ad, she always has to be doing something. Never is she still or calm. When a system of norms and beliefs, such as gender roles, are applied to nearly half of the population, individuality and independent though will be stifled. Advertisements are designed to reach a large group of people in order to promote an idea or product and if gender stereotypes get caught in along the way, then they will also be distributed to the masses. No matter whom the advertisement targets, it is hurting the target by instilling set rules of what a strictly followed gender entails.

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