An Instance of Moral Neglect

An Instance of Moral Neglect

This is a man’s world. Everything we see on television is heavily influenced by the sexual desire and “God complexes” of men. Women are still treated like property, even though we have won equal rights, and are still discriminated against in the workplace. One reason why these archaic practices are still being observed is simply the negative way the media portrays women. The morally debased practice of  stereotyping, objectifying and vilifying women in the media needs to be abandoned if we ever plan on seeing true equality in this country.

Every day, Americans are exposed to all kinds of media. We read newspapers, magazines and other pop literature, pass billboards on the freeway, listen to the radio, and, worst of all, watch television. Many people do not realize that the super thin models we see in ads are often times not real at all. Many magazines will use Photoshop to combine elements of two or more women to create a “more perfect” woman and further modify her appearance. Olay has run several ads revealing this process over the past few years. All this is achieving is lowering the self-esteem of girls and young women. They spend their whole lives trying and dying to be super-model thin. The sad truth is that it is totally unrealistic. Less than 1% of women have a naturally super-thin body type, leaving the rest of us struggling with our weight. Many young women have fallen prey to destructive eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, and overeating. Thousands of girls die every year from these eating disorders and many more from suicide related to issues with self-image. These deaths are a reaction to a failure to meet and exceed the stereotype put forth by the pop media.

One of the greatest advertising techniques is called merging, or objectifying. It began when ad designers started overlaying texture and photographs onto blank shapes of objects or mirrors. In the beginning, designers simply wrapped picnic scenes around Pepsi cans and merrily printed beaches onto sunscreen bottles, but it wasn’t enough. They have taken it a step further by using women’s bodies and body parts and making them into products. Perhaps one of the most famous is the woman whose lower half is a beer bottle. What is this teaching our children? They seem to be getting the message that women are worthless without men and that they can be used for anything.

In many popular writings such as magazines, newspapers and modern literature, women are written about rather disparagingly. The best stories are not about women who have never done anything wrong and live their lives morally; they are either feel-good stories about women who have made huge mistakes and needed a man to help them repair their lives or about party girls who live completely without morals. Neither of these scenarios creates good role models for girls, but rather encourages them to act out like celebrities and then seek help (from men) later on.

Citizens should be outraged. Advertisers should be ashamed. The damage we have done to ourselves and every generation since the “Roaring 20’s” is irreparable. What we can do is halt the casual sale of sex and idealism in the media. Why is it so hard to accept every human as just that-acceptable? We can not change human instinct or the laws of attraction, but we can certainly change the cultural variables that cause these stereotypes. Yes, this is a man’s world, but it would not be anything without women.

Advertisements