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*Submitted by an Inver Hills Community College student as part of a media analysis curriculum
The Axe Effect shows a man spraying Axe body spray, making him into a slimmer version of himself. Is Axe implying that using its product can make men more attractive and thin? The axe body spray is melting away the man’s body to expose a muscular chest, arms, and six-pack.
The model, a male with an “above average” body type, is used to entice consumers into buying the product. This guy is pretty “masculine”- he has a clean shaved face, toned muscles, dark hair, and his skin looks like it is glowing. This ad not only causes negative body image for guys, but for anyone else looking at the picture as well. Axe is showing that the man is not good enough the way he naturally looks, but using the Axe body spray will fix that.
Men also have body image and beauty standards in our culture. The ideal look is young, sexy, and physically fit. A seemingly quick fix to attain this look is using Axe body spray.
Jean Kilbourne is a powerful activist in analyzing advertisements, and she has given countless speeches on the subject. Although she typically focuses on the female “sex object,” she has mentioned how men have recently been turned into objects as well. Jean Kilbourne explains in Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt: Advertising and Violence:
Not surprisingly men’s bodies are the latest territory to be exploited. Although we are growing more used to it, in the beginning the male sex object came as a surprise. Men are being objectified just as women in the media. Anyone looking at an ad in a magazine, bus, or television commercial can see how we are ‘supposed to look’ by the repeated images of similar body types and beauty standards. Even though it has become more well-known that the models have been altered or Photoshopped, the constant reinforcement makes it hard to remember.
Colombo, Gary, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle, eds. Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford of St. Martin's, 2013. 420. Print.
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