Despite recent advances in media depiction of women, gender inequality still exists in the advertising business. Whether it is the women’s comparison to automobiles in an ad in China or joking about women belonging in the kitchen by Burger King. The presence of women in advertisements by an advertising agency is connected with making ‘the proper’ home decisions in the last decade. However, things are changing slowly but surely.
Role of advertising agencies
With its youth preoccupation and slimness focus, the advertising industry is tolerant of older people and varied body shapes. As a result, an advertising agency plays an important role in shattering stereotypes.
However, recent campaigns by ad agencies in Pakistan show that the narrative is shifting. For example, khadi’s last year’s marketing campaign focused on body positivity and acknowledged plus size models. Likewise, Generation dispelled the age myth by including older women in their advertisements. Nevertheless, many electronic and printing services in Pakistan continue to favor such sexist portrayal of women contributing to various problems in society.
The era of Me Too
Although it appears unconscionable to create a sexist advertisement in the wake of #MeToo, the
mindset has shifted. People are now more worried about who has raised a legitimate voice in the #MeToo movement, and how it can tarnish the corporations and personalities. The fear of being exposed due to #MeToo is greater than the loyalty behind the original idea of #MeToo.
People seldom want to confront the fundamental issue – century-old prejudices – and, when it comes to the distribution of feminist material, many companies are hesitant to tackle so-called “sensitive topics” – things that make people uncomfortable or, worse, might cause a backlash. Furthermore, gender prejudice appears in advertisements — if not blatantly, then in subtle ways.
Limitations of Advertising agencies
According to the advertising agency, many clients choose to avoid the “feminist debate,” preferring to “play it safe” or rely on preconceptions rather than challenge them. However, by continuing to encourage this we are failing the younger generation because we are afraid to make strong comments or rally for genuine change.
World of advertising today
In terms of the platforms available and how people respond to them, the world of advertising today is undeniably different from the past. Despite this, certain attitudes and behaviors inside the sector have remained similar. In this manner, the history of gender discrimination in advertising helps us understand why marketers and consumers act the way they do. I feel that admitting this will aid us in developing a better attitude that reflects the job and working circumstances in the industry.
Has the situation become better?
Women have been objectified and, in some instances, ridiculed or degraded since the inception of advertising many years ago. Despite the efforts of many, it seems that objectification and the
unthinking usage of sexualized women in commercial campaigns are still prevalent in society. In many ways, the situation has become worse. Women’s bodies are made to look flawless thanks to a plethora of software. This is detrimental on several levels.
Barbie Doll Woman
Men are socialized to want the Barbie Doll woman from an early age. This is the lady who appears in lingerie and perfume advertisements. In “Playboy,” she is the centerfold. Women are taught from a young age that they must appear like this lady. They should strive for long legs, flawless complexion, stunning hair, and an unattainable figure.
The issue is that that lady doesn’t exist. Even if she’s a supermodel, she’s the result of hours in the makeup chair and days of picture editing. Every lady has flaws since she is a human being.
Impact of advertising
The fundamental purpose of an advertising agency is to create a demand so that a corporation may fill it with a product or service. Men may consume specific kinds of beer because they link them with objectified women in advertising. Women, on the other hand, may purchase particular outfits, meals, and cosmetics in order to resemble the beer-drinking girl on TV.
Men are socialized to see women as things. It may have contributed to males seeing women as objects at work however this cannot be excused. An Advertising agency and company holders need to come up with better campaigns and strategies so that this culture of objectifying
women can be discouraged. Discouraging the sexist and misogynistic ad culture
will also result in shunning the conditioning of men who believe that women need to like perfect all the time.