Ad I’ve noticed – #1

October 21, 2012

Before I start waging my war on the ads we’re seeing, I’d like to do a bit of research – with you. I’m going to quickly discuss ads I’m seeing now – airing across the country, into family homes – and then (hopefully) gain some insight from you – see if there’s a reoccurring pattern in what our media outlets are unveiling to us and what messages they’re circulating.

I’d like to use you as a gauge. I – like everyone else – am not immune to seeing things a little less-of-centre at times and willingly admit this. It is all about perspective, after all, and I am deeply curious to learn whether we’re on the same page about this issue,  that is deeply concerning to me.

Before I start, I want to explain that I don’t have cable TV, just free-to-air. I don’t turn on the telly until the evening, but really (especially in this ‘down season’) – I don’t watch much. This isn’t to say that the TV is switched off. It’s generally left on, in case we stumble upon something engaging to watch.

This means that as I’m cooking or writing, I do, on occasion, notice the ads. Obviously, when we think about ads, we automatically think of product selling, but there are also the ads for the TV shows themselves…and it’s the content in these ads that are also of great concern.

I’ve written previously about how TV is dumbing us down and how – as a capitalist, obsessed society – we’re possibly heading down a path towards The Seven Deadly Sins.

Well…isn’t it possible? If the answer is, “Yes” then what do we need to do?

I think the ads we’re being exposed to (children and teens especially) – together with a WHOLE smorgasbord of other factors and contributors – are changing the neural pathways of our brains. Conditioning us. More urgently, conditioning the way our youth perceive reality.

Ad #1. TV show – Glee.

Now, I’m not a fan of this show – ever since it started to drip in the hyper-sexualised behaviour of the girls; on top of knowing that their main fan base are young girls. I wrote a post about another ad for Glee a while back (with the clip attached). They are not promoting healthy messages, which is a shame considering the reach they have.

The new season is apparently about to start and we are, of course, getting bombarded by the promotional tsunami that seems to come with the start of new television show seasons.

I wasn’t able to find the clip of the ad that’s being aired in Australia, so I’ll just describe the simple, yet dangerous, messages I think the ad is delivering to young girls and women.

Two things.

One: Kate Hudson plays a new character in the series as a dance instructor at what appears to be a high end place in New York (NY Ballet?), that the main girl Rachel now attends. Kate’s character appears fearless, bellowing how the majority of them are going to fail etc. etc.

She walks up to one of the new students and says:

“Hi. What’s your name? Muffin Top?” (when some fat sits over the top of your pants)

“No, my name is-”

“No. You’re name is Muffin Top. From now on it’s rice crackers and ipecac (a drink that makes you vomit). Cut off a butt-cheek. You have to lose a few pounds.”

And the girl is slim. Plus it really bothers me that it’s a fellow woman being so callous.

Message: If you look at that girl and they’re saying she’s fat (which she’s not) – what am I?

Subliminal message received. Neural pathways are now shifting, due to negative self thoughts about weight and self esteem. Check.

Many will argue that that’s the way it is in these sorts of high pressure dancing institutions and the show is representing realism. Oh, now they’re calling the realism card? That’s a tiny morsel of ‘realism’ compared the heightened misrepresentation that oozes from other issues within shows such as this.

Two: In the grand old tradition of building a female star (whether it be an actress or a singer) as an innocent, wide-eyed virginal type of girl – there comes the time when she must toss all that aside, along with its innocent followers and admirers, and become ‘nasty’.

Rachel now has to be taken ‘seriously’ and must shed her chaste appearance and prove she’s someone to be reckoned with. So we hear Rachel singing, not once but twice during the ad, the following line of the song she will perform on the show (once with a visual showing a tough and sexy Rachel):

“I’m not that innocent”

A line from a Britney Spears song. How apt – a fellow innocent-turned-nasty girl…along with Christina Aquilera, Miley Cyrus…and the list goes on.

Message: Noone will take me seriously unless I sexualise myself to gain attention.

Subliminal message received. Neural pathways are now shifting, due to negative thoughts about not looking sexy and hot enough to gain attention and recognition – the only way to get it. Check.

Why do they do this to one famous, female young star after another? To add to the fan base.

In the documentary, Missrepresentation, we were informed that the main people who watch TV are women…so it doesn’t matter what you show them, as it seems they lap up everything that’s presented to them – especially the younger ones.

However, the ones who watch the least TV, are males between the ages of 18-mid/late twenties? Something like that. So shows are predominantly motivated to getting their full attention – and how else can you get a young, hormone ridden boy/teen/male to watch your show?

Sexualise the girls.

So the bottom line is that they don’t care who watches, just as long as they are.

Anything for a buck, right?

Question #104: Do these examples set off alarm bells, no matter how small, as to what’s being subliminally taught?

Here is a lovely image of the actress who plays Rachel (Michele Lea), contributing her efforts to collecting that new fan base for the network and share holders, by posing for GQ magazine.

We have a long way to go, ladies. Can’t have a picture like this without the woman’s consent.

And consent they do.

Deep Breath.


15 Responses to “Ad I’ve noticed – #1”

  1. Hannah Tuton said

    I think that this was one of your best posts!
    I am, and always have been, offended by the Lynx ads. Every single one of them, including the most recent one which I could not find a link for, states that if a man sprays Lynx on himself, mulititudes of women will fall over themselves to have sex with him. It is absolutely humiliating and degrading to women. Of course these ads are supposed to be funny, but I am not laughing, because they ultimately contribute to a perception of female sexuality as cheap and easy.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Lynx ads are filth. Completely agreed. The company that represents them (and sooo many other products) is called Unilever. The irony of all ironies is that they also represent Dove and created the Dove Campaign to make women feel good about their bodies.
      The only way to attack companies like these is not buy their products – like Omo, Hellman’s, Rexona, Lux, Lipton…just to name a few. It’s the only way.
      Maybe I need to start an anti-Unilever campaign…hmmmm…

      • Hannah Tuton said

        Gosh- so many ordinary products I wouldn’t even think about…But I suppose a boycott is only worthwhile if letters and campaigns accompany it!

      • questionsforwomen said

        Maybe my next drive…

      • Hannah Tuton said

        I was just thinking about it. What mixed messages Unilever is sending out about women! This link is for the Rexona “Women are strong” campaign. Of course you already mentioned the Dove natural beauty campaign. Then there is Lynx.
        I think an anti-Unilever campaign is a fantastic idea. Need a campaign buddy?

      • questionsforwomen said

        Sure!! 😀
        I’m doing this ad one first and then let’s go get ’em! x

      • questionsforwomen said

        I forgot to add, Hannah, that one of the Lynx promotions was to promote the Lynx Lodge where men could go and be ‘serviced’ to their hearts’ desire by ready, willing and able women. I remember the ad on TV with girls in lingerie and bikinis looking sad because the men hadn’t arrived yet.
        It was an absolute shocker.

  2. Hannah Tuton said

    Oh- and about Glee- even if in the episode they condemn the way Kate Hudson’s character spiels to the “overweight” female student, the damage has been done due to the airing of that select scene in the ad. Every one of these comments eats away at a girl’s sense of worth.

    • questionsforwomen said

      EXACTLY! Hear hear!
      So, so damaging and I have to be constantly on the alert because my girls can hear it (as well as all the other tripe).

  3. Gravitas said

    Hey QFW community. I believe getting a campaign like this to work, you need convince men that the ads are damaging, but not for the obvious reasons. I don’t buy Lynx products and have seen the ads, but don’t find them offensive. Why? Because I view it as ‘tongue in cheek’ and a pisstake on the ‘ordinary’ guy that gets all the girls because he uses Lynx – of course it’s ludicrous – admittedly I’m not sure all men would see it that way. An anti-campaign where women wouldn’t date men who wore Lynx, that took the same ludicrous approach would probably work. However, I find the ads more offensive that make women (and all of us) look stupid, rather than those that women would regard as objectifying women. Just sayin’. PS. I don’t find the pic of Michelle Lea offensive either. I just find everything about it silly, which may be worse.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Hey Gravitas. Firstly, I think the majority of men would see it the way you do – just a bit of fun – and I get that. I actually do.
      The problem lies within the saturation of such concepts and images reaching the developing minds of our youth. For me it’s that simple.
      The concerning issue is the fact that neural pathways are actually altering for this generation in staggering ways. A recent report was discussing the colossal impact of Facebook on the neural pathways of people of all ages (especially the youth for obvious reasons) and how it has literally changed the way people socialise – pretty much to a point of no return.
      The current paradigm of media saturation is having a similar effect. Do I think we need a nanny state of nuns walking around speaking in hushed tones? Hell NO! But in my ever-chasing dream for balance, I think we have to pull back the reins. Now.
      Do we have to convince men of how the ads are damaging? That would be GREAT!…but…thus far, whenever there is a conversation about this sort of topic, men seem to only react/respond from their personal perception; from their much older age and based on experiences of youth that DID NOT have the saturation of media that our kids have today.
      It’s unprecedented.
      What about the young men who (as statistics say) by the age of 15, 100% have seen porn? And are then kept in a heightened state of (possible) excitement by showing similar (although tamer) images EVERYWHERE they look (on top of the porn they’re looking at on the net)? Older men need to bat for them because their minds are formulating a very narrow perception of sex and the role/s women play within that. If we’re only showing one hyper-sexualised look in ads (tv, billboards etc), music videos, tv and movies – then we are heading down a dark road.
      So I think it would be AWESOME to have the guys on board, as long as they see that it’s an issue getting close (if not already) to being an emergency – otherwise, when IS the moment we say it’s gone too far? It’s not a bit of fun anymore when our kids…KIDS…are absorbing all these images like sponges, then growing into hormone-riddled teens and finally fully cognitively developed adults by around 23/24. There are a lot of years up until that point and my nine year old can already see AND UNDERSTAND certain ads on TV.
      Hope you’ll join me.
      PS I AM offended by the picture of Michele Lea (put I am NO prude) – but purely at HER for posing in that manner when she is on a show targeted at tweens and teens (supposedly to be an inspiration). I just found it on Google – ANY young girl can see it. And for what? Money. What…doesn’t she make enough? Shame on her.

      • Gravitas said

        Perhaps it is worse of me to be so dismissive. NB: To correct you a little, I think the Lynx ads are ludricrous and tongue-in-cheek (ie not to be taken seriously), I never said I thought they were “a bit of fun” as you suggest – I am, perhaps like many people, ambivalent about them, because I see them as irrelevant. Now that’s not to say, I won’t act, in some way, if I am offended by an ad or activity. The whole purpose of advertising is to change behaviour eg Lynx makes you more attractive to women. I believe, and what I was trying to suggest in my post, is that activism works best (but not exclusively), in our new media-savvy society, with an approach that is realistic, clever, resonates with its target audience with the potential to go viral. Imagine getting a creative group together whose raison detre was to bring reality to advertising (probably one already exists, but not to my knowledge).

        On another point, there are as many dangerous male ‘role models’ out there too – just look at professional footballers. I regular speak to my kids about the realities of what they see on TV, especially the stuff that I think alters their train of thought towards unrealistic or inaccurate perceptions – they seemed to get most disturbed by the news. Most of it seems to soak in, but we can only do our best. PS I still think Michelle Lea looks ridiculous, silly and irrelevant – I do agree it was a bad decision to pose like that.

      • questionsforwomen said

        Sorry for my wording with ‘a bit of fun’ – it’s my way of seeing ‘tongue in cheek’ – I mean the men in the ads are SO ordinary looking. It adds insult to injury in a way.
        I did get what you meant, but thank you for clarifying.
        My main ‘offence’ is the fact that ‘M’ ads (for example) are playing through ‘G’ shows…as well as the fact that some are a tad sexist.
        I completely agree about the male role models and am writing about that soon…I have the start of too many posts! Finding pockets of time to write are scarce, with full-time work and two girls under 10 to contend with – but I’m very keen to get to you guys. What gender and age are your kids?
        I would looove to see a creative group, like the one you described, rise up and counter-act. That would sit in a box of awesome.
        Lovely chatting to you again. Always refreshing.

  4. Gravitas said

    thanks for letting me voice my opinion – I have a boy and a girl. Saw a great doco on ABC this week about the development of kids – it was like 7-up but Australian and called “at age 7” – very revealing of the ‘hard-wired’ differences between boys and girls. All very sweet kids. Maybe for another topic? Bye.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: