Sex, leisure and commodity
The common trend nowadays is the use of sex and leisure in advertising. These two themes draw people’s interest to various products like cars, clothes and jewelry. These themes are what attract people of all ages. People want to dream about the good things in life, rather than face the harsh realities of life. Usually such themes have nothing to do with the products being sold; they are just there to draw people’s attention. It’s easier to remember the product when such themes are included. Sex has been used since the beginning of advertising.
Sex in advertising has been claimed to cause an increase in sales and consumer interests to the products on sale. “She leans forward, exposing an incredible quantity of cleavage. The headline reads, “This is Debbie. She wants you to have this pair in your car. ” The rest of the ad talks about buying the grease gun cartridges she holds in either hand” (Taflinger, 1996). The above image is a perfect example of the use of sexual appeal in advertising. The way the woman leans forward to expose cleavage and her smile all work as an appeal to the consumer.
It is a good example of the current trend
Only those who have money can afford things like a car and expensive women. The above image is similar to Eduoard Manet’s paintings in that the issue of sexual appeal is used to persuade people to buy the product. The main theme in the picture is sex, and not the product being sold. Manet also addresses the modern themes like sex and leisure in his painting. The messages in his paintings are the fact that women are used as sex objects. Both Manet’s painting and the above image portray women as sex objects without personalities or emotions.
Both Manet’s painting and the above image send out the message that sex outside marriage is acceptable, and that sex is a form of leisure. This affects viewer’s perception of sexual conduct. Such adverts have justified promiscuity and sex outside marriage. This has led to a breakdown of traditional family values. Manet also brings out the theme of leisure in his painting in that the women in the paintings are portrayed in a leisurely manner. Men who have money and like entertainment are the ones who are likely to go for prostitutes.
Rich men are also likely to be found in bars drinking and being entertained by barmaids. The difference between the above image and Manet’s Olympia is that his paintings are original. His painting show the beginning of a culture that is common nowadays. The above image depicts a trend that has been there for years in the current world. The difference also shows in that Manet’s painting only show the theme of sex and leisure. In the above image, the intention is to advertise certain car parts. Manet’s paintings only show women as sex objects. His paintings brought out a certain message.
Women were depicted as prostitutes who advertised themselves through the paintings. Manet used his paintings to sell women. To him, women were a commodity to be sold. In the above image, advertisers use women to sell a product. Another difference is the fact that in the above image, the advertiser only focused on the woman’s cleavage. Advertisers use sex appeal but only to a certain level. They put other viewers in mind. The advertisement doesn’t show other intimate features of the woman. Manet’s Olympia shows a picture of a naked woman who is not ashamed to show her naked body.
His painting is pornographic to a certain level. The painting is too open and leaves nothing to imagination. Another difference is that Manet’s Olympia focuses on the theme of nudity while the above image focuses on the beauty and attractiveness of a woman. Advertisers use models and beautiful women to advertise their products while Manet’s Olympia focuses on a woman’s anatomy. During the nineteenth century, such paintings as Manet’s Olympia portrayal of women were viewed as explicit and unacceptable. Women were supposed to be decently dressed.
Currently, portrayal of models and attractive women is seen as acceptable and many women want to appear in such commercials so as to be accepted. This has put a lot of pressure on women to go as far as plastic surgery and implants so as to look like those models. Some women have even developed eating disorders while trying to look like the slim women in adverts and on the television. Today, the portrayal of women is acceptable and admired in the society while in Manet’s era, it was unacceptable and only prostitutes were associated with such images.
Manet’s critiques of the commodification of sex and play shed light on the motives and goals of advertisers in that advertisers use sex to advertise their products. They know that sex sells, so their motive is to use sex and sex appeal to sell their products. They know that people will remember the sexual part more than the advert itself. They associate getting the woman if one buys the product. They are aware that if they just get to the point and advertise their products, nobody will even be interested to know what they are selling. Sex is a natural instinct that cannot be avoided and thus, it easily sells.
It’s like food that people cannot live without. It’s hard to sexually attract women using advertisements that show handsome men. Although they have instinctive sexual desire, their intelligence affects their decision. That’s why advertisers use the theme of romance and leisure. What attract women to men are things like money, power, status and prestige. A man’s body is shown to attract a woman’s attention, but he is shown in a romantic and leisurely manner. The use of sex and sexual appeal in advertising has led to low self esteem in both men and women.
Viewers like to compare themselves with the sexy men and women featured in advertisements. When they don’t succeed they end up frustrated and insecure. The combination of alcohol and sexy images has led to male aggression towards women. Drunken men have been known to abuse women due to such advertisements. The percentage of domestic violence has increased over the years. The use of sex in adverts has led to an attitude of male domination. Men see themselves as greater than women because women are objectified in adverts.
They are seen as women without a say over their bodies and their sexuality. This has led to horrific incidents like rape and abduction. This has also intensified prostitution and strip dancing. Sex in advertising has eventually led to sexual misconducts which have led to sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea. Sex in advertising has eventually caused loss of lives and moral deterioration. These advertisements might be seen as harmless and of no effect but in the end, they lead to various consequences that can never be reversed.