is advertising harmful or beneficial to society?

Essay by bjandersonCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

download word file, 8 pages 0.0

[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]

Bethany Anderson C1476755

Is advertising harmful or beneficial to society?

When discussing the merits of advertising as a positive or negative influence in society, it is perhaps important to acknowledge the vast amplitude that may be discussed under the topic in hand. In order to come to a satisfactory conclusion, it may be beneficial to localise the discussion to the issues of gender equality and self-image in advertising and whether when measured against the potential influence advertising could have in breaking down gender stereotypes and outdated prejudices, advertising benefits society in embracing gender equality.

Through multitudinous generations, female consumers have been informed by advertisements that the most important aspect of being a woman is their physical appearance and there are numerous ways in which advertisements portray women to support this assumption. Kilbourne (1999) observed that female body parts were often dismembered in images with the focal point frequently concentrated upon the behind, breasts and legs.

When the head of the model is cut off, Kilbourne argues that women are considered merely an object to the consumers gaze. It is plausible to suggest that when a model appears to bear no head, then it can be assumed she has no thoughts, no opinions and from this, possibly considered liable to be treated as nothing more than a vessel. Yet advertisers may argue that if a t-shirt is being advertised to a consumer then the face of the model may be considered to be of less importance than the area of the body that the t-shirt falls upon. Although this is a logical point, questions can still be raised from the dismemberment of females; why does dismemberment occur more often in female advertisements than male? Why is it not recognised to be as harmful to male...