Over the course of a century, many strides have been made to further the cause of women, and the new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation.
The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
These are all well known problems, but there is a specific kind of sexism that is more covert and far less obvious in its misogyny: advertisement. Here is a rather passionate criticism of contemporary advertisement with regards to the portrayal of women:
The average person in the western world sees more than 500 ads every day. Very few of the women in those ads look like people we see in our everyday lives; so, maybe it is time to change the way women are generally portrayed in advertisements.
“Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”
― Cheris Kramarae
Why does it feel so different to see pictures of realistic women? Why aren’t we seeing women we recognise in real life and why weren’t we paying more attention to this before?
Where are the women who swept through the thrust-upon feminine superficialities of the patriarchal society? – Girls who help those who can hardly help themselves. Mothers who want to learn from their children and raise a generation of individuals. Happy, free and egalitarian.
When we condone airbrushed faces and photoshopped bodies, what are we saying about women? – That their strengths aren’t strong enough? Their feelings not deep enough? Their cheers not loud enough? If all the women we see in ads look the same, what illusion are we promoting for our daughters? And our sons?
Maybe we should start by seeing women we can relate to. Ladies with style and personality who are not afraid of their ideas. Experts who revolutionise their fields. Independent and fulfilled girls who thrive on their own merit. Women who are individuals.
Let’s see women doing the things that women really do. Let’s appreciate the beauty of overcoming real struggles. Let’s see more women like those we already know, real women living in the real world.
“A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
― Gloria Steinem
Maybe all we need to do is look around to remember that the women in our lives carry real beauty of all kinds – and that real beauty is all that is worth seeing.