question: why are women used for advertisements

I have wanted to do this post for quite some time and it has been bothering me. I’ve asked so many people the above question, but they’ve either laughed out loud, smiled or replied: ‘I don’t know’.

If I was female, I believe I would be an activist, and one thing I would contend with is the idea of using semi-naked women to advertise every imaginable thing.

This is a totally honest to goodness question: is there any justifiable reason why women are used for television advertisements – with their assets as the prime focus for whatever product on sale? Is there a history, story, folk-tale behind this or was there something that happened ages ago, that sort of caught on everywhere – and unawares?

See, everyone watches TV: men and women. But why are women are used to advertise everything nowadays: men’s clothes, even men’s underwear, electronics, mobile phones, computers, cars, houses/real estate, drugs, fashion, entertainment, food, company’s products and services, etc…any product and any service – in general.

Question: In advertising-related courses in the University, is the female-gender a defined part of the course, as in do Advertising professors teach students: you have to use a woman to advertise this and that? or its something that they(advertisers) find in the industry, for which they just play ‘tag along’? And why semi-naked-women, most especially?

For example: I really can’t understand the relationship between an almost naked woman and tooth-pick or ear cotton-ball cleaners.

blogville: do females feel embarrassed, or generally uncomfortable with such or am I just old-school and simply taking things too far?

Lets talk: what do you have to say?

16 thoughts on “question: why are women used for advertisements

  1. this is 1 question I usually ask my self and of cos, I don’t get a satisfactory answer…like you, I honestly don’t see the need for a half naked lady in a toothpaste advert…one conclusion I’ve drawn though is that the advertisers are appealing to our senses…men for example, are attracted via sight…so, seeing a beautiful (and for good measure, half-nude) lady in a commercial, is far more likely to get a man to see that commercial, than if it were a mere picture of the paste and a voice telling of it’s superbness…ladies on the other hand, like to compare each other, so, a lady watching this same advert for example, would quickly analyse the hair, make-up, clothes(or lack thereof), nails, skin, etc. of the lady in the commercial, with a mental note to get same done for herself…

  2. Agree with the comment above – also have to add that it just seems to work, so it’s bound to take some of the effort out it for the advertising agency – can’t think of a new gimmick to sell product X – a half nude lady will do the trick!

  3. I agree with everyone else. I think this goes back far in history where half naked women have always been exploited – prostitution is the oldest profession.

    I also think that by using women, companies generate the most “word of mouth” advertisement, be it good or bad. When a guy sees an ad with a half naked woman, he will tell his friends how hot the ad is. When a woman sees the same ad, she will tell her friends how degrading that ad is (because women apparently hate on other women, it’s called jealousy).

  4. This is an interesting discussion and question. I think that the basic answer to this is-sex sells. Women are used to advertise many products because it captures the attention of both sexes. However, both sexes are attracted to this type of advertisement for different reasons. Men-they are more likely to pay attention to an advertisement with a good looking woman rather than an ordinary can of paint or tool. Women-they believe that they will look like the woman who is advertising the product once they use it.

  5. how true… women are no longer been regarded as a being per se but a mere accessory to boost up sales. as what the owner of the hooters said: Women and Beer never go out of style. how sad!

    and even in the academe, no matter how they insist gender equality, discrimination is still apparent much more so with commerce courses. God…somebody has to expalin what is it meant to be educated.

    you have a good blog here sir. please link me in your blogroll. thanks.

  6. I am tired of this issue myself. It is so annoying. There was this giant bill board on the way to the Island, it was for OSRAM bulbs then you see this very yellow girl on it. I mean what is the connection? Sadly that is the norm in the advertising industry.

  7. This topic is as old as my grandfather Cyclo Has this to Submit “Sex in advertising is the use of sexual or erotic imagery (also called “sex appeal”) in advertising to draw interest to a particular product, for purpose of sale. A feature of sex in advertising is that the imagery used, such as that of a pretty woman, typically has no connection to the product being advertised. The purpose of the imagery is to attract attention of the potential customer or user. The type of imagery that may be used is very broad, and would include nudity, cheesecake, and beefcake, even if it is often only suggestively sexual” we must do all our campains to discourage this attitude by the media , i think our media can use the effects of the products to do the advert instead of Nudity and the rest of the stuff .

  8. as far as Africa is concerned women r meant for the kitchen, washing ,child bearing, looking good for the men folks etc… it is painful that female achievements in the world are still being downplayed but hopefully with added exposure on the ills of stereotyping dis wld stop. my graduation thesis is on a case study of the female gender in advertisements and hopefully with enough info. i would be able to add to existing literature on gender stereotyping.

  9. that is true there is no need of women in such things to be mentioned along with the ad. and that has been confirmed in the Holy Book Quran 14 hundrend years ago, that we must respect the women. but now adays they are used for 50p item.

  10. I’ve often wondered this myself as a women and I often don’t want to watch movies, television or listen to music because of the gender stereotyping. Whenever you see anything that is supposed to be depicted as sexy or related to sex in any way there is an image of a women trying to act seductive, why not a man ever? Women and women’s bodies in general are often used as logos in an array of different ways. I also dont understand why when women pick up a woman’s magazine there is a woman on the cover, even for magazines dedicated to sex, like cosmopolitan. for men, almost every magazine marketed toward them has a woman on the cover as well, from tatto magazines, to cars, health, sports, you name it. I just dont understand why it is always women that are advertising themselves to men in ways like playboy/maxim magazines, etc. strip clubs, halloween costumes, pornography, lingerie, why do women always have to be seductive and sexy? and why do they do this to themselves? women are seen as a joke to men in many cases, and this is all because of the ways they have portrayed themselves. it is frustrating because if women chose not to pose in 5o cent’s video while he calls her a slut and says many degrading things to her, women would be taken more seriously, yet they choose to be depicted like this, thus giving us all a bad name!

  11. To answer your last question, “do females feel… generally uncomfortable?” I for one feel very uncomfortable – as well as completely appalled, disempowered, depressed, inadequate, and insecure – about the exploitation of women in the media. What’s worse is that these media messages trickle down into society, so a woman – in many cases – is judged solely on her body; her thoughts and opinions are irrelevant.

    And you’re not just old school and taking things too far. It’s a serious problem in our society and it needs to stop!

  12. women are part of society, so there is no big deal if they are been used in advertisements. other thing is there are many common products used by both gender. so if there is presence of women in ad, that should not be shocking. we need to see this from the lace of creative guy or advertising agency. they are used for purpose. e.g. imagine the ad of bike were its shown that a guy is sitting behind a guy, would it make any effect. rather a beautiful lady sitting behind a guy. though it is men product but women are linked somewhere to the product.
    many times i am asked that why men are not used in ads of sanitary napkins and women are used in condom ads. though sanitary napkin is women product and condom is male product. reason is sanitary napkin is very private to women alone, but in condom both are involved..

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  14. The reason is simple. The two tools devil uses to destroy world are (1) Envy/covetousness and (2) Lust. You want to keep peoples’ eyes on your product, TV, music, etc, get ladies to dress half naked i.e. at least revealing some erogenous part of their bodies and you’ll get other women longing to do the same (Covetousness) why because she sees her boyfriend,lover, husband,fiance or someone she already has crutch-on, getting distracted by the naked/ semi-naked ladies.
    The other reason is that while we try not to be labeled by people as promiscuous/lustful individuals, the people making the adverts know that lust of the eyes, sexual lust is what virtually every youth indulges in. So, whether or not anyone admits it, that’s the truth. TAKE THE STATISTICS OF HOW MANY PEOPLE THAT HAVE INDULGED IN PORNOGRAPHY, then you’ll know what I’m saying.You inclusive.

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