Wednesday, March 18, 2009


rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change, the fourth annual art exhibit in conjunction with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center will run this spring from April 3rd to April 16th.   

Join us on Opening Night April 3rd at 7:00 pm at the Union Art Lounge for live music and refreshments.  

We encourage all artists, writers, poets, and performers to submit work addressing sexism, sexual violence, gender, and empowerment!  The deadline for submissions if Friday, March 20th. 

To submit work send slides, pictures, or make an appointment:
rEVOLUTION Committee:

Join the rEVOLUTION! Speak out and help make change!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sexism in Advertising: Bad Advertisements

This ad adds sex appeal and glamour to a lifeless woman.  This ad is sending the message message that being emotionless and passive-even dead-can be sexy or appealing traits in a woman. This mindset can perpetuate the acceptance of dehumanizing women through rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other forms of sexual violence. KLS's ad, which physically shows this woman lying on the ground, suggest women's role is one that is subordinate.

Images such as this contribute to a rape culture that condones and promotes sexual assault, domestic violence, and other forms of violence against women by glamorizing a dead woman, depicting her in the ultimate form of powerlessness. The man is shown without remorse, conveying the message that it's okay to treat women in this horrific manner. Does Duncan Quinn think images of abuse like this one are sexy?

We find this ad for Bertolucci and the Serena A. Garbo line of watches to be offensive because of the ways in which it objectifies women. The woman in the ad has been reduced to a body; her face is not within the frame. This unfortunate positioning suggests that women are valued principally for their bodies. Further, the background of the picture, many staring men who have surrounded the woman, indicates that the objectified woman exists only to satisfy male sexual pleasure. The absence of the woman’s face means that the reader cannot determine whether or not she even desires this attention—suggesting that the woman’s opinion doesn’t matter. The fact that the men in the ad entirely surround the woman embodies and emphasizes the fact that women have been trapped by the male gaze.

This advertisement both infantilizes women and turns them into objects. The models in the advertisement are most likely in their late teens or early twenties and yet they are dressed as if they are young adolescents. In doing so, Juicy Couture idolizes the look of being young and innocent, and turns the women into objects of desirability, even in a sexual sense. This is evidenced by the bearing of the models’ thighs. The models, especially the one on the left, are given a doll-like appearance, thereby making them lifeless and turning them into objects. The positioning of the legs and arms, the tilt of the heads, the size of body in comparison to the perfume box, and the lifeless gaze of the eyes send the message to young women that they should be just like dolls, which would remove their sense of autonomy and agency.

The woman depicted has her head displayed off the page and is highlighted by text referring the lack of eye contact she should expect to receive when wearing Vassarette bras. By reducing women to mere body parts, Vassarette is promoting sexist behavior towards females by condoning a societal view which values women for their bodies and not their character. furthermore, Vassarette?s emphasis on the unimportance of eye contact uses sex-role stereotypes to portray women as subordinate to men. By focusing solely on attention to female breasts, Vassarette implies that a woman?s role in life is to be merely a sexually stimulating being, not an intellectually stimulating one. This advertisement not only furthers stereotypes, but objectifies women of all races, ages, and backgrounds.

The focal point of this advertisement is very clearly the woman’s breasts. The woman is featured in this advertisement solely as a sexual object. The advertisement creates an unattainable standard of beauty for women as she is very thin and has extremely large breasts and a flawless face. The slogan featured at the bottom of the ad reads, “Believe it or not, this sweet little thing can.” This implies that people should not expect much from women, as though they are merely “sweet little things” who are not capable of any real accomplishments.

This advertisement is demeaning to women by clearly stating that they are not as beautiful or desirable before covering themselves in makeup, doing their hair, and putting on sexy clothes. This ad is further demeaning because of the way it compares women to an inanimate object. In addition, the woman has nothing to do with the advertised product, she is not using it in any way, so she is only there as sex appeal.

Elizabeth Arden's advertisement in Allure Magazine exemplifies the culture of perfectionism that we live in where a woman's body is reduced to an object of imperfections. By using an actual manikin in their ad rather than a human body, Elizabeth Arden only furthers this idea that an actual woman will never live up to the standards that we have placed upon her.

This ad portrays women as superficial, with nothing more to worry about than conquering the urge to indulge in a pink frosted doughnut or denying themselves a popsicle. It also mocks the idea of a strong woman by arming her with a tricycle, pot lid or office chair to beat her temptation. This series of ads plays on the stereotype of young women being obsessed with their figures and says clearly that they are worth nothing more than how they look. It promotes the idea that women are concerned with the unimportant, such as how to “survive a snack attack”. Even as a woman is pictured in an office, her coworkers look on in surprise and grotesque shock as she beats a doughnut with her chair. This gives the idea that women are not to be taken seriously, even in the workplace.

Lily of France eroticizes this model. She is presented in a way that she looks powerless and weak. Also, Lily of France uses this model to perpetuate the unattainable standard of beauty defined by extreme gauntness. The emaciated model represents an unhealthy standard for young girls.

This ad was chosen as one of the worst ads because it demeans a woman and is suggestive of sexual violence. In this ad, the woman is blindfolded and we cannot see her face. The reader cannot tell if this woman is consenting to this act or if she is being forced to do this against her will. That gray area for interpretation is unacceptable and promotes sexual and domestic violence as well as contributes to rape culture. This type of advertising only contributes to promoting submission and denying human rights. We would like to see this advertising strategy change to promote a safe, positive environment and combat violence.

Sexism in Advertising: Good Advertisements

This advertising strategy is  positive because of the ways in which the ad portrays motherhood in such a positive way.  The ad features a woman holding a baby in her arms.  The advertisement is for the ring on the woman’s right hand.  On the side of the ad, there is a message.  The message states “Hold on to those fleeting moments that matter the most.  An important anniversary, a proud accomplishment, a new arrival.  A Tiffany celebration ring captures your feelings for all time.”  This ad celebrates womanhood.  It does not view a ring solely for an engagement, but as a symbol for something positive to celebrate in life.  A ring does not just have to be an indication of marriage; it can be an indication of many of life’s accomplishments.  This ad celebrates the joy of childbirth, womanhood, and all of life’s little celebrations that may often go unnoticed. 

This advertising strategy is positive because of the ways in which the ad portrays women in a positive light.  The ad features a woman sitting on the grass in her running shoes.  Across the ad is the phrase “Be more satisfied with the grass on your own side of the fence.”  It is a very empowering message because it inspires women to be happy with the way they are.  The ad does not portray some unrealistic body type women should strive to have; it just encourages them to be healthy.  Though the ad does show just the woman’s legs, they are not featured in a vulgar or subjective way.  I think it is great to finally see an ad that encourages women to be happy with their body type, whatever it may be.


This advertisement sends a positive message when it comes to women and athletics, because sports are often perceived to be dominated by males.  “Running like a girl,” a statement that is often used as an insult, is both celebrated and mocked in this ad.  As clearly stated, these women would be “running like a girl” because they are infact women.  However, this ad tells women to be proud of their own abilities and to embrace their sex and athletic power.

This ad draws attention to the unfortunately prevalent problem of domestic abuse.  It sends the message that no woman is alone in her struggle against domestic abuse, and support is available to help every single victim.  This advertisement is especially effective in that it provides readers with a way to get involved in this issue by providing a phone number as well as a website dedicated to the cause.  Moreover, the woman featured in the ad is strong and confident, staring directly at the reader.  This image is incredibly refreshing as images of weak, over-sexualized women are incredibly common in most popular media. 

This advertisement was chosen because it sends the message that women of all sizes, shapes, and colors are desirable and beautiful. In our culture today, many woman and young girls are taught through the media that they should be striving to attain the “perfect body,” which translates to being skinny and perfectly proportioned. Body image disturbance not only have emotional affects but can also lead to physical illnesses such as eating disorders. It is important that companies take responsibility for the absurd image women are expected to compare themselves to, and change the focus of advertising to one of acceptance and empowerment. This ad not only empowers women in general, but also empowers women of color. It promotes acceptance of one’s body while also promoting acceptance of all people regardless of their race or outward appearance. By empowering women and encouraging equality, Curvation is combating sexual and domestic violence as well as rape culture. 

The Citigroup advertisement breaks away from hegemonic gender stereotypes.  The ad depicts a woman who is lying halfway beneath a car, with a toolkit next to her, in the process of fixing some mechanical problem with her car.  This advertisement shows that women can enjoy hobbies such as restoring cars, which is traditionally viewed as a male area of interest.  The ad specifically addresses this when it says, “As a little girl, I didn’t play with dolls.  I played with carburetors.”  In addition, the ad does not rank one gender over another, but instead treats both genders as equal.  For instance, the women in the advertisement enjoys to wear high-heels, which is an action typically associated with being feminine, but the advertisement portrays a woman wearing heels and fixing a car as very empowering instead of ranking her so-called feminine and masculine qualities in relation to each other.  Also, the advertisement treats this behavior as normal instead of as an anomaly, which further acknowledges that breaking hegemonic gender roles is common and acceptable.

This advertisement is empowering to women because of the way it portrays a woman of color as a strong and dedicated person.  She is shown being physically active and fit, which breaks the stereotypical idea of women as a sex object or homemaker.  Finally, this ad describes how this woman achieved the goals she set for herself as a child, showing her pure determination and success at what she does.