Stereotyping and unconscious bias caused by advertisement

Last weekend was International Women’s Day. You might have seen some data in the news about women’s situation, progress and current challenges, across the world. Two videos came my way, that impressed me. Both highlight the issue with objectification of women – and men – in the media.

I am aware of media’s use of stereotyped images and the objectification of women in particular, but seeing these videos I was shocked by the mere masses of messages we are hit by and how it influences children and teenagers. They basically get brainwashed to believe in something that doesn’t exist; models that are computer images, not real women. Or board walk models that die from anorexia. And it becomes international; the white, thin, blond, blue-eyed woman is the role model across the world – which basically means there is no chance whatsoever for most women on this planet to look like that. What does that do to young women’s self-confidence? No good at all. The various advertisements tell you that as a woman you are not worth anything unless you are pretty, so you better run to get some cosmetic surgery! Men are also increasingly feeling this pressure, but there is a huge difference.

Children and teenagers are more vulnerable to these images, but we are all bombarded by media everywhere we move, it is therefore only logical that we become influenced somehow. Some more, some less, but the videos referred to below, show that it is probably “more”, as the cosmetic surgery business is flourishing.

What worries me the most is the stereotyped images of women being passive, sexualized, objectified – being done something to. Men are most of the time positioned in more real positions, showing strength. Not particularly helpful images for women who want to succeed at work. Several of the advertisements glorifies violence, and often by men unto women. Considering the world-wide problem of violence against women, I think we as consumers should speak up.  Enough already!

I would encourage you to see these brilliant videos:

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