I'll start off by semi-introducing that image on top. I combined a screenshot from a Baby Alive TV commercial with a magazine ad for birth control. These images provide messages that contradict each other, and further down I'll explain why I did this. Here's a link to the Baby Alive ad: www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8ej6FyNkq4
Now that you've watched that, I'll begin with a little story.
I can’t quite remember what opened my eyes. I suppose it might have been just the right amount of ingredients at just the right time that changed my perspective on both sexuality and the media. For the past four years or so, I have developed a passion for topics related to sexuality as well as disecting the influence that different types of media have. Very often I find myself thinking and talking about how the two relate to each other. One interaction that comes up a lot is how advertising and marketing use sexual themes to sell their products. But this is nothing new. However, instead of just knowing about it, more people are developing an educational effort, like through media literacy curriculum.
I started to explore this combination in college while I was simultaneously taking courses in psychology, sexuality, and art. More recently in 2017, I got the opportunity to attend a media literacy conference. Since the term media is so vast, this conference’s main topic of choice was politics and the news. Understanding how and why media is created is an invaluable skill for all people to have with the ever-advancing technology that plasters in-your-face media of every kind. It is so important to have critical and analytical thinking skills for the messages we are being sent, whether it’s from the news, television, porn, books, or social media. And I can guarantee you there is always a message involved, even if it isn’t meant to be negative or manipulative.
Below this post I’m going to share some photography I did by combining images – two separate advertisements per photo. Most of these are from ads I found in magazines and they all focus on women. (I plan on doing a series of these, sharing other collages I have made that also focus on men and their gender norm influences). The images contradict each other, they provide contrast. My idea was that this can lead the viewer to think about how advertising is created and how it influences them. These ads especially relate to gender norms/sexuality/physical appearance/self-esteem.
While looking at what I put together, as well as advertising you come across in your everyday life, you can ask a lot of questions to become more educated and sort of fight back against consumer-obsessed culture, like:
What is the purpose of the ad?
What is it trying to make someone feel?
Who are they marketing towards and why?
Is it trying to push buttons or create new insecurities to sell a product?
A doll that has been around for quite some time, marketed to girls. Placed alongside an ad for birth control pills. Girls are taught to strongly identify with the role of mother/caretaker/people pleaser. Becoming a mom (and dad) happens all the time, but the message that's here of having such a desire to do this one day - even though this is a fake baby - is pretty heavy for a young person to absorb
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