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Sexualized Advertisements and Unrealistic Standards

Submitted by Gage Phillips, as part of a class project

In our society it seems to be the norm that all products are sexualized. I found an ad for Cabo Wabo tequila, which has a very obvious sexual message- although there are no words used. This message says to me, ‘Drink Cabo Wabo and I’ll be part of your experience.’ In the ad a woman holding a lime between her perfectly augmented breasts and in text it says, “Take your best shot.” Now we all know how to take a shot of tequila; lick the salt, take the shot, bite the lime. So why does this advertisement have to sexualize a woman to get its point across?

I don’t think this is the best way to advertise their product because of the effects it could have on young and impressionable boys and girls. Young men are taught how an attractive female should act after a few drinks; while young women are taught that what matters are their looks. This picture gives an unrealistic view of the female body: her ribs show, her abs show, and her breasts perky and large. Now unless you have some extremely good genetics, these three traits don’t usually come as a package. That only leaves a couple options, Photoshop and plastic surgery. Giving off this image of a perfect body at unrealistic standards and proportions makes it impossible for girls to achieve. Because of media, they will constantly be questioning their beauty and why they can’t achieve what they think so many other women “have.”

While reading ‘Rereading America’ for my Writing and Research class I came across this text, “Sex in advertising is more about disconnection and distance than connection and closeness.” This advertisement is a perfect example of this statement. Not giving this woman a face leaves out any real connection. You don’t see a person but merely a sexualized object. When you can’t place a face on a person, the emotions of the person become meaningless. Psychological studies show that people feel empathy more when they can see emotions in a person’s face. Without giving this woman a face, they took the ability of the viewers to see any emotion out.

People need to be careful when interpreting advertisements. Ads affect our subconscious- whether we can control it or not.  If companies used realistic-looking people in their ads, rather than unachievable bodies, maybe there would be a change in how people portray themselves, for good.

  1. How realistic of an image do you think this is?
    1. Less than 5% of the population can achieve a body-type like this.
  2. Would this ad have the same appeal if the body part that was featured was different? If feet, knees, or a neck was used to replace the torso?

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