Hi. My name is Jessica Hartman, and I am a magazine-aholic. Piles of magazines litter my dorm, everything from Vogue to Lucky to InStyle.
One day I was flipping through one of my newest magazines and a certain page caught my attention. It was a picture of a naked girl lying in water that covered only her breasts, thighs and the small of her back, leaving her buttocks and shoulders exposed. At the corner of the page in very small writing was the name of a perfume.
I thought to myself, “What the hell does this picture have to do with perfume?”
Immediately outraged, I asked some of my friends about it. The general response was, “Well, it got you to stop and look, didn’t it?”
Unfortunately, they were right. Companies like the one being advertised count on the fact that sex shocks people, and this shock gets them to stop, look and even remember their product. This is why sex sells.
“Nowadays you need a bare bottom even if you’re just trying to launch a handbag,” said fashion designer Giorgio Armani in an article by Meenakshi Sinha.
If the product is any good, shouldn’t it sell itself without having to stoop to the low of making a naked woman sell the product instead? Some advertisers are very adamant about the appropriateness of nudity to sell their product. And why shouldn’t they be: It works.
“If you don’t like it, just close your eyes. After all, it might look beautiful to someone else. Why should a moral brigade police your thoughts, likes and dislikes?” said Prahlad Kakkar of Genesis Advertising.
However, some advertisers agree that the use of sex in advertisements is getting out of control.
“What I hate is that those who use nudity are also the ones who tend to misuse media. With borders being pushed further and further everyday, I don’t know where one should draw the line between nudity and art,” said Sunil Shethi of Sunny Advertising.
Why is it always women?
A few pages later I saw an ad selling Calvin Klein underwear for men, and the man was fully clothed with a half-naked woman by his side. Wouldn’t this be more useful in selling women’s underwear?
Whatever the product might be, it seems there is always at least one scantily clad woman in the advertisement in a subjective position, looking weak and vulnerable. This is supposed to be sexy, or so we are taught to think.
I pride myself on being a strong, independent woman, and ads like this disappoint me. We are living in a man’s world and pictures like these only set women back further. It’s not like the advertisement I saw that day was selling condoms or something sexual; it was selling perfume that has nothing to do with a naked woman. I find ads like this to be extremely unnecessary and discriminatory.