Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rate advertisements for sexism

Jan 03, 2013

I CAUGHT the late-night screening of the movie You, Me And Dupree on free-to-air television on Christmas Day.

The 109 minute-long movie aired from 12.45am to 3am and was interspersed with advertisements.

What I did not expect was the repeated airing of a few advertisements that drew attention to the female body and offered breast enhancement, weight-loss programmes and hair-loss treatment.

One advertisement, which focused entirely on close-up images of a model's exposed cleavage, and flaunted her presumably augmented breasts, was lewd and subliminally pornographic.

Another showed the drastic weight loss of a young mother and her progression from being an oversize to an XS size.

The message suggested that excessive weight gain as a result of childbearing is crushing to a woman's self-esteem.

It did not offer any information on the health risks of obesity, or the benefits of staying healthy.

In yet another commercial, a young wife is visibly distressed when her husband tells her that her crowning glory is thinning.

Her crisis was not over a life-threatening illness but the fear of looking unattractive to her husband.

Sexism was the common thread in all these commercials, with in-your-face messages that a woman's self-esteem can be repaired simply with breast augmentation, weight loss and hair-loss treatment.

While it is important for every person - man or woman - to keep good health and hygiene habits, I was offended by the sexual objectification of women in these messages.

Ironically, while the movie carried a PG-13 rating, there was nothing to warn me of the sexist contents in TV commercials that could be offensive to me as a woman.

For a long time, Singapore has had legislation that prohibits tobacco advertising and limits the screening of alcohol commercials.

In the wake of the recent heinous gang-rape in New Delhi and the global outcry for the protection of women against violence, maybe it is time our media and advertising regulatory bodies also look into the content, presentation and impact of print and TV advertisements to rate them for sexism, ageism and all forms of discrimination against women.

Eve Loh (Ms)

[Yes, the answer to hyperbole in advertisement is.... hyperbole in your complaint against them!

Yes the advertisements were tasteless... however, using the gang-rape victim to "sell" your point was also tasteless. Yes, every little bit of social and cultural conditioning may well add to the overall sense of oppression and devaluation of women, but it is a loooooong jump to the conclusion that an advertisement working on a young wife's fear of losing her hair would lead to indiscriminate, inevitable, and a proliferation of gang-rapes in our society.

Or ads on breast enhancement and weight-loss.

Moreover, these ads were aired in the late-night slot where the authorities have rightly exiled these tasteless, baseless, and valueless advertisements.This is almost the same time slots as those ads selling those products, "as seen on TV".

Advertisements on late-night TV serves a purpose, it provides breaks for you to refresh your drink, take a toilet break, check your email on your iPad, messages on your iPhone, and sms on your mobile phone. Only people with no social life, and a weak sense of self, pay close attention to those ads and get upset by them.]

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