Category Archives: Projects

A Brief History of the Portrayal of Women In Print Advertisements

Ads set out to achieve a specific goal; they “ask us to go somewhere, do something, try something, buy something, accept some single idea, add a new word to our vocabulary, and associate positive images with that word” (Jamieson, 172). In other words, advertisers try to get the public to acknowledge what they have to say and take action on it in some shape or form. Advertisements are published in many forms such as the traditional print version which includes being in newspapers, magazines, hand flyers and many other print forms. 

Other ad forms include radio, television, digital, billboards and in many cases, people can serve as a form of advertisement. People are bombarded with ads on a daily basis while they are shopping, driving to work, checking their emails, and even embedded in the movies and shows we like to watch called product placements. One product placement ad example, according to Steven L. Synder, can be seen in the 1982 Hollywood movie called E.T. In one of the scenes, the little alien was following and eating Reese’s Pieces. Although the alien did not tell viewers to buy it, Synder notes that sales on the item increase within a few months (301).

 Advertisements date back to before the seventieth century. Back then, there were ads that announce the sale of slaves, such as the 1840 ad entitled “Valuable Gang of Young Negros” by the company, Jos. A.

slave ad
#B0072, Slave ad

Beard. Many ads today, as there probably were many years ago, portrayed genders and different races in different ways. When it comes to creative jobs in advertising, women are underrepresented although they make up“85% of all purchasing decisions” (Hanan). With this statistic, there is no wonder women are portrayed the way they are in ads. Based on an analysis of a collection of print advertisements, not much has changed from the 1800s in the diminishing and sexist ways women are portrayed.

For women, appearances are seen as being more important than anything else. This serves to have been true during the 1800s as well. For instance, a print ad by National Cloak and Suit Co. from the 1800s advertised corsets that claimed to give and “preserve the perfect figure.” the drawn model for the ad is a white female wearing one of the corsets advertised. Her waist, abdomen, and hips are extremely small and does not seem to match with the upper part of her body. This distorted image of how a woman should look was considered beautiful. This ad sends the message that this was what women should have looked like during the 1800s. This ad was perfectly executed because it not only told women about the corsets, it showed them how they thought they would look if they wore one themselves. 

pc
#A0204, Corset ad

Some ads portrayed women as unintelligent like a 1952 Schlitz Beer ad. This print ad shows a wife holding a pan of what appears to be burnt food. She is shown crying to her husband who says the “Don’t worry darling, you didn’t burn the beer!” (Edwards and Harrison). This ad is indirectly saying that women are weak and cry over everything and that women are not smart. Although it is obvious that she did not burn the beer, the advertisers wanted to make it clear that women won’t recognize the obvious, but men will.

Schlitz Beer ad
Schlitz Beer ad
ketchup
Ketchup ad

Another ad that eliminated the possibility that women could be smart is, for example, a 1953 ad for Alcoa Aluminum’s Ketchup. The ad is advertising their easy to open Ketchup bottle. The woman in the ad looks surprised, and words at the bottom that read “You mean a woman can open it?” the title for this ad is “Alcoa Aluminum’s bottle caps open “without a knife blade, a bottle opener, or even a husband” (Edwards and Harrison).  This ad says that women depend on their husbands for many things, but now there is a way that women will not have to bother men because they can do it themselves.

Sunglasses ad

 

Sex is often used in ads as attention grabbers (Servedio , 4). Many ads, although not about sex, are somehow able to include sexual phrases or images. One example is the 1982 ad for Papillon Sunglasses. An object such as sunglasses is not sexual in any form, but the ad depicts a man on a sailboat with the advertised glasses and two women in bikinis. The shots are focused on the women’s bikini bottoms. Advertisers made a simple product appear to sex. The message that this sends to men is that all of the cool guys who wear Papillon Sunglasses get half naked women.

 

nasty feet boot adAnother example of how advertisers squeeze sexual things in ads not meant to be sexual is a 80s ad by Nasty Feet. This ad is advertising boots, but for some reason they thought it was right to include a woman in boots with no pants on and a group of men standing in front of her. Below the ad is their slogan, “Nothing Comes Close!” the ad is advertising the sale of boots and the attention from naked women that the boots will bring (Vintage Clothes/ Fashion Ads of the 1980s).

 

Leading into the 1990s ads did not change much.  The same degrading sexual images and phrases from the last decade remain and they did not seem to get any better. 

Versace Jeans ad
Versace Jeans ad

Versace was very famous for the way they advertise their products in sexual ways. In their 1995 ad, it showed a topless woman wearing the advertised jeans. There is also a man laying down on the table-she’s standing over him- wearing the jeans. The women’s pants are pulled down exposing her underwear with the man’s foot pressed on her private area. (Vintage Clothes/ Fashion Ads of the 1990s). This ad is very disturbing, and sends the wrong messages to consumers.The oversexualized image attached to this product probably improved sales, but there had to be other ways to promote their jeans.  

Most of these ads in this timeline show women as “hacked apart” (Servedio, 11). What this means is that only parts of the women are shown. When their bodies are in parts, “women cease to be seen as whole persons.” This implies that women are “less than human;” no head in ads show that women have no brains. Ads with faceless women indicate that women have “no individuality;” if the women have no feet shows immobility “and [she’s] therefore submissive” (Servedio, 11). These ads also shape the perceptions that young viewers may have had. The Versace ad as well as the Nasty Feet ad tell young girls that they should dress or behave a certain way to get guys to acknowledge them at least as sexual objects.

Burger King ad
Burger King ad

Most of the ads from the 1800s to the 1990s focused on the appearances of women. Other ads such as the ketchup ad and beer ad made fun of women by indirectly calling them unintelligent. When you compare these print ads to more recent ads, not much has changed. For instance, a 2013 Burger King ad shows a woman with her mouth open and a seven inch sandwich about to inter her mouth. Below is the phrase, “It’ll Blow Your Mind Away.” Not much needs to be explained about this ad, except for the fact that it is highly inappropriate. 

Just like in 2013, ads in 2016 have not changed. Specifically, a 2016 Tom Ford ad showed a women in two different ads holding a bottle of their fragrance. One ad shows the woman holding the fragrance between her legs, while the other one is shown between the woman’s breasts.

Tom Ford Fragrance ads
Tom Ford Fragrance ads

Their target audience were clearly men, and the best way to attract men, as seen in many other ads, is to have half naked or in this case completely naked women in their ads. This ad also touches on the idea that women are not seen as humans because the woman’s body is chopped to only show what is from the neck down; the most important parts of a nonhuman woman. 

The main difference seen in the most recent ads is that they seem to have gotten more sexual than later ads. Although many ads are extremely degrading to women, whether they are for women or not, these types of ads are working. These ads grab the attention of the public, and they have been working since the 1800s. The female bashing and objectification of women, unfortunately, has been a huge disservice to women. These images shape the minds of millions of girls, teen girls, and adults.

African American Women and Colorism

Women of all races are diminished in ads, but race can play a key factor in how women of color are shown in ads. African Americans are faced with harsh reality of colorism; lighter skin is deemed more acceptable in society. Although colorism affects black men and women, “these biases lead to greater harm for African-American women” (Mathews et al). Colorism is real, and it can be seen in ads that host celebrities. 

Gabourey Sidibe
Gabourey Sidibe

Gabourey Sidibe who stared in the 2009 movie Precious appeared on the front cover of Elle magazine. In the ad she looks lighter than her comparison photo. Many studies have shown that, on the one hand, the brighter the skin, the “higher [women’s] personal self-esteem and social capital.” On the other hand, their darker skin tones can lead to low self-esteem and social capital (Mathews et al). The subliminal messages hidden in these whitewashed ads can seriously damage a woman of color’s identity.

Ads tell people how to think and what they should think about. A Dove ad that shows three women, one dark, one of a medium tone, and the other is white or appear white. The three women are standing in towels with the darkest on the left, medium tone in the middle, and the lightest woman in on the right. Behind them is a wall with two long trips of paper with one that looks broken or damaged and says “before.” The other one says “after” and looks smooth. The Dove ad is advertising smooth skin after using their product. The problem is this: is it really just a coincidence that the darker women is standing in front of the damaged paper while the whitest woman is in front of the smooth clean paper? Below the women is a phrase that says “Visibly more beautiful skin from the most unexpected of places – your shower.” Just what exactly does that phrase supposed to mean? The darker woman is that “unexpected” place the ad is referring to.

Dove ad
Dove ad

The ad is indirectly saying that the darker woman is not beautiful, but she can become beautiful by using the Dove product. These images become embedded in the minds of young girls, and it is at that age that they start to physically and mentally destroy themselves. Although women of color after over 100 years are included in ads in somewhat positive ways, they have not benefited them much.

A lighter skinned woman is associated with being White, which is seen “as a standard of beauty” that can “negatively impact the psyche of an African-America man just as can suppress positive self-esteem in African-American women (Mathews et al). When young African American boys are bombarded with these whitewashed ads of Black women, they grow up to support and continue of colorism. For ads that relate to both White women and Black women, especially the oversexualized ads, young boys will grow to think there is nothing wrong treating women in degrading ways. The young girls will grow to probably be just like the women they see in the ads; they will allow ads to put them in those objectifying positions, and the women of color will turn a blind eye and let themselves fall victim to a culture of whitewashing.

Although there has been some changes in the portrayal of women in ads from the 1800s to 2016, but much has not changed. Ads have a purpose and message to deliver to their targeted audiences. This has been the case since before the 1800s during the sale of slaves. The emergence of advertisements brought along ideas of how women should look and act.

Objectifying ads like the ones from the 80s-90s continued on into the 2000s. In 2016, women are stilled faced with the same misleading images, and whitewashing has become an serious issue as well. Women of color are forced to believe that their darker skin is not beautiful. Ads further damage the images of women of color by making them appeal lighter than they truly are. In some ads where the women are not whitewashed, they are still victims of colorism because they are reminded constantly that their skin is not considered smooth or beautiful.

 

 

 

References

“The Definition of Commercial.” Dictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 May 2016.

“Vintage Clothes/ Fashion Ads of the 1980s.” Vintage Clothes/ Fashion Ads of the 1980s. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2016. http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/clothes-ads-1980s

“Vintage Clothes/ Fashion Ads of the 1990s.” Vintage Clothes/ Fashion Ads of the 1990s. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2016. http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/clothes-ads-1990s

Edwards, Jim and Harrison, Jacobs. “26 Sexist Ads Of The ‘Mad Men’ Era That Companies Wish We’d Forget.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 08 May 2014. Web. 02 May 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/26-sexist-ads-of-the-mad-men-era-2014-5?op=1

Emergence of Advertising in America Database #A0204. “Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920.” John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. Duke University David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/eaa_b0072 

Emergence of Advertising in America Database #B0072. “Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920.” John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. Duke University David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/eaa_b0072

Hanan, Ali. “Five Facts That Show How the Advertising Industry Fails Women.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 03 Feb. 2016. Web. 02 May 2016. http://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2016/feb/03/how-advertising-industry-fails-women

Jamieson, Kathleen Hall., and Karlyn Kohrs. Campbell. “Persuasion Through Advertising.” The Interplay of Influence: News, Advertising, Politics, and the Internet. Belmont, CA, USA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. Print.

Jamieson, Kathleen Hall., and Karlyn Kohrs. Campbell. “What is Advertising.” The Interplay of Influence: News, Advertising, Politics, and the Internet. Belmont, CA, USA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. Print.

Mathews, Tayler J., and Glenn S. Johnson. “Skin Complexion in The Twenty-First Century: The Impact Of Colorism On African American Women.” Race, Gender & Class 22.1 (2015): 248-74. ProQuest. Web. 9 May 2016.

Servedio, Christina L. “Sex in Advertising.” Sex in Advertising. University of South Florida, 14 Nov. 2002. Web. 07 May 2016.

Synder, Steven L. “Movies and product placement: is Hollywood turning films into commercial speech.” U. Ill. L. Rev. (1992): 301.

 

 

Advertisements

Aftercare is Failing Emancipated Youth

In the Summer of 2015 the CASA aftercare program for emancipated foster youth came to an end, as it should have due to its lack of support. Thinking back to when I was preparing for emancipation, I received little support from my unpaid CASA. With emphasis on “unpaid,” I thought that this was the reason I received little to no support. I appreciated the times my CACA took me to lunch, but lunch didn’t solve my anxiety towards emancipation.

When I really needed her, I could not get in touch with her. She was way to busy with school, and she was having housing problems-she was living out of the basement of her parents home. So how could someone like her possible be in a position to assist a youth nearing emancipation?

The current aftercare program is no better. At this time, I cannot go into full details about my current living situation due to a future blog that will be published elsewhere, but let me just say that it’s nothing like it was described. The idea of Program X ( I will refer to it as Program X) was great, but underdeveloped and probably underfunded, as it seems.

Program X is not realistic to the lives of the older youth who are there. Their idea is to provide independence, but a successful program cannot provide independence to older youth in one area, and cripple them in another.

I do not wish for the closing of Program X, but if something is not done soon it will close and many youth will be homeless.

Observation Report: Muslim For A Day

Over the semester, my Intercultural Communication class had to choose one culture to observe, write down our observations, and present them. We also had to back up our observation with research. As a Christian, the one culture I did not want to study was the Islamic faith. I tried to look for cultural events that were happening in the DMV, specifically about any Asian culture, but I found nothing. Time was passing fast and I had to find something; so, I gave in and decided to observe my friend, Dahabina, who is Muslim. I had some major struggles going into this project; I did not want to be influenced by their religion, I was afraid of what other Christians would say, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted among into the Mosque. I didn’t want to be associated with Muslims at all. But after remembering what my professor said about if a person’s faith is so strong they should be able to step outside of their religion and come back as if nothing ever changed, I decided to let go, and become a Muslim for a day. Below are my findings:

Through this Cultural Observation project, I’ve come to realize that the Muslims are probably the most misunderstood group of people in America. However, they don’t let that get to them. It takes a lot of courage to stay in this country, The Land of The Free, and fight for what they believe in. I spent about 2 and a half, or more, hours with Dahabina, wearing the Hijab and having a great conversation about what it means to be a Muslim, and discussing some of the myths, such as Muslims not believing in Jesus. This is absolutely false, and I have known this for some time, but I wasn’t sure how he was still significant to Muslims. To Muslims, Jesus is an important prophet named Issa, instead of the son of God as Christians know him.

I didn’t want to obtain information from Dahabina in the form of an interview, so we just had a casual conversation. She told me about her opinions of Donald Trump; she said that “Donald Trump is ignorant and racist.” She feels that “instead of attacking all Muslims, [Donald Trump] should try to get to know [them] as a whole.”

Muslims celebrate Ramadan, which is a special time for “inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control.” Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslims fast by “abstain from food, drink, smoking, and marital sex” (“Islamic Holidays and Observances”). Dahabina said that dates (fruit) are eaten during Ramadan, along with samosa (fried pastry) and a lot of fruit juice. Muslims commonly break their fast at sunset with these foods, specifically dates because it was the custom of the Prophet Muhammad (“Islamic Holidays and Observances”). I also learned that Muslims can celebrate birthdays and Thanksgiving, but they cannot celebrate “Easter, Christmas, or any religious American holidays.”

I mentioned that I wore a hijab during my observation. When a women walks into the Mosque, they don’t need to have the hijab on, they just need to have it on for prayer. Dahabina explained that in Islamic countries, the hijab is required at all times. The hijab is a part of the dress code for Muslim women, and it serves as protection for women. It is important for the women to “cover their heads when in the presence of non-mahrem men,” potentially marriageable men. Wearing a hijab is not meant to degrade or oppress women, it is “a sign of purity and dignity” (“Hijab’s Protection”). When I wore the hijab, I felt respected by the men and the women. Everyone greeted me with “Assalamu Alaikum,” which I’ve learned a while ago means peace be upon you; it’s basically used to say hello.

Although I felt respected among the other Muslims, I did receive nasty stares from other people. When women wear hijabs, it singles them out to all the crazy and dangerous people in this world, the true terrorists. One incident that I will never forget is when I was walking into the mosque on The University of Maryland campus with my friend and other girls, and there was this White guy outside holding a sign that said “Jesus Saves.” He was shouting, “You are all going to hell” at the top of his lungs. I was terrified; I didn’t know if he was planning to burn the building down or not. I asked my friend if the guy was doing this because we were going inside and she said that he probably was. She said not to worry because this happens all the time, and that Allah would protect them. This is why I said that Muslims are brave; I can’t imagine going through things like this every day.

During the prayer, I observed things that were similar and different to that of a Christian church. One difference is that you must take off your shoes when entering the Mosque. Everyone sit on the floor on prayer mats, with the women sitting directly behind the men. Women who are on their menstrual cycle are not allowed to pray because it is considered unclean. Dahabina explain that it’s not to single women out, and it doesn’t mean that a women is unclean. I still don’t have a clear understanding of this. Just because a women is not allowed to pray on their cycle, it doesn’t mean that they are excluded from the message. They are allowed to hear the message, and observe the prayer, just not participate. I was able to witness them bow and pray; they did this several times before the prayer was over.

The similarities were a little shocking to me. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the Imam, Muslim priest, to deliver the message that he did. The Imam talk about letting situations go and letting Allah take control. He said that worrying will not make anything better, that why they should trust in Allah. Allah would will take on all of your problems. He also talk about confessing sins, and praying and asking for forgiveness. This is a message that I hear all the time at my church, so I was able to understand and agree with what he said. This was also a major turning point for me; I realized that, although Christianity and Islam are two different religions, they are similar in many ways.

This project provided me with an experience that I’ll never forget. Although I had my worries, I let go of my personal feelings and beliefs for one day to step into the life of someone else. It wasn’t easy to do at all, but it had to be done, and I realized that it wasn’t so bad. Through this experience I learned that Muslims still believe in Jesus, but not as the son of God. I learned about Dahabina’s personal feelings about Donald Trump and his statement towards Muslims, and that during Ramadan Muslims have specific traditional foods that they like to eat. I was able to experience wearing a Hijab, and although some people were not as welcoming with their stares, the Muslims welcomed me with opened arms. And, despite having that terrifying incident outside of the Mosque, the actual prayer was great. I observed many things that were different and similar to what I would do or hear in my church. I feel that this experiences will help me in the future to not be so judgmental against people who are different from me, and I have grown to respect those of the Islamic faith, “a person who submits to the will of God” (Difference Between Islam and Muslim).

 

 

References

Difference Between Islam and Muslim. (2009, November 27). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/difference-between-islam-and-muslim/

 

Hijab’s Protection. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2015, from http://www.iupui.edu/~msaiupui/hijab_protect.html

 

Islamic Holidays and Observances. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.colostate.edu/Orgs/MSA/events/Ramadan.html

Love Your Skin

Love Your Skin. It's From Africa
Love Your Skin. It’s From Africa

 

As black women, we are often trying to cover up our true and natural beauty. Black is beautiful, so love the skin you are in. It’s Africa’s gift to you!

Design will be printed on

Teespring Premium Tee – $22.99

*back is plain black

Click Here to Order!

 

 

Size Chart

LENGTH SLEEVE WIDTH
S 28″ 8″ 19″
M 29″ 8.5″ 20.75″
L 30″ 9″ 22″
XL 31″ 9.5″ 24.25″
2XL 32″ 10″ 26″
3XL 33″ 10.5″ 28.25″
4XL 34″ 11″ 30.5″
5XL 35″ 11.5″ 32″

 

Love Your Skin

Love Your Skin. It's From Africa
Love Your Skin. It’s From Africa

 

As black women, we are often trying to cover up our true and natural beauty. Black is beautiful, so love the skin you are in. It’s Africa’s gift to you!

Design will be printed on

Teespring Premium Tee – $22.99

*back is plain black

Click Here to Order!

 

 

Size Chart

LENGTH SLEEVE WIDTH
S 28″ 8″ 19″
M 29″ 8.5″ 20.75″
L 30″ 9″ 22″
XL 31″ 9.5″ 24.25″
2XL 32″ 10″ 26″
3XL 33″ 10.5″ 28.25″
4XL 34″ 11″ 30.5″
5XL 35″ 11.5″ 32″

 

Vote for me to go to grad school in 2017!

Help me get to grad school please!! Dr. Pepper is having a tuition giveaway.

All you need to do is click here and vote. That’s it! No money needed!11537342_957967450911757_375207650244437993_o

Help A College Student Become Debt Free

Meet Jeanne Buan, a student at Trinity Washington University in the Nursing Program. She is a highly gifted and smart student. She loves to write stories and is very good at it. Like many college students, Jeanne has run into some debt, specifically, credit cared debt. She needs your help. This is what she had to say:

 “Hello all. I am a college student in my final year. I am extremely excited, but I am afraid that my credit card debt will stop me from being able to move on post graduation. Please help me pay off my debt”

Please help her out. She is nearing the finish line, so lets help her finish debt free. $5, $10, $20 or whatever you decide to give would be appreciated.

 donatebutton1

The link to her campaign can always be found in the right hand side bar of the site.

*If anyone wants to have their campaign up on my blog, please contact me with a short bio of yourself, why you need the money, and a photo. Contact info can be found on the right hand side bar of this site.