In the Carl’s Jr. ad above, the author is trying to grab the audience’s attention using actress Kate Upton eating a “southwest patty melt” in order to advertise the burger to us consumers. The ad is targeted at young male men believed to be in high school or college. This is a commoditized desire and appetites that they are trying to sell to young men. Hamburgers and naked women are easily eye catching especially to hormonal teenagers. The layout of the ad is very busy, there’s music that seems to be from the 50’s playing while we’re watching Upton pose provocatively for the camera. Even with all this going on, a man is explaining the taste of the burger to us and everything it contains. However, no one is focused on the burger, but more of the fact of how Upton is eating the burger. The images included in the ad are highly provocative positions. Upton seems to be taking more and more of her clothes off as the ad goes on. She seems to touch her body in extremely sexual ways and gives the camera seductive looks every time it zooms in on her biting into the burger or her holding it up to the camera. The ad seems to be missing a man’s true desire of Upton. The language used in the ad is very easy to follow. For example, “the classic just got a whole lot hotter”, referring to the jalapenos and jack cheese the burger contains, however, also referring to Upton’s sexualized positions. It does not use words that men could not define, in order to grab the attention of young audiences. The symbolism of this burger is that if you were to buy it you can have everything, the car the girl and this lifestyle that the commercial is trying to portray.
In today’s media, women are often seen as highly sexualized objects used for the sole purpose of entertainment. “A predominant message from a variety of media in the U.S is that women are sexual objects controlled by men’s desires” (Ward). These women, similar to the ones featured in the ads for a Carl’s Jr. commercial are often extremely fit and give off this body image many women can’t always achieve. This leads me to the question of, “sexually objectifying portrayals of women are a frequent occurrence in mainstream media, raising questions about the potential impact of exposure to this content on others’ impressions of women and on women’s views of themselves” (Ward). The exploitation of women’s sexuality may be leading us down the pathway of commoditized sex. “where girls get their ideas from what counts as sexual experimentation and how these ideas are marketed and influenced by a multibillion dollar industry” (Lamb). We see how young women’s bodies are highly sexualized to extreme standards all over the media endorsing looks that some women cannot reach. Victoria’s Secret angels and Carl’s Jr. hamburgers are more than a product, but are commoditized desires. They are appetites trying to be reached by women and men.
Moving onto the methods of persuasion, starting with pathos, I believe the ad contains strictly an emotional appeal to the topic. The emotions that are being raised are advancing the claims and the wants for this commoditized desire. Men are ultimately blinded from their logos and ethos when exposed to seductive women. They are thinking with the wrong head. Moving onto ethos, the character of the writer and the trustworthiness of the writer seems to be way far off. I believe ads with soft porn are hard to find credible and have no moral character surrounding their company. I believe the attention they are getting whether it be good or bad does not matter, as long as the company is getting attention. Lastly, logos, this argument has no good reasoning or reliable evidence. The makers of this commercial seemed to grab two things that men enjoy and put them together into one commercial. Sex sells and the company realized that fairly quickly. Assumptions being made that we need to be aware of is that women are more than sexualized objects used for our entertainment. Men also need to be aware that just because a women can undress herself does not mean women don’t deserve respect because a woman does not have to modest in order to be respected.
The advertisement I believe does not give off an effective conclusion. It is belittling women into hypersexualized commodities for the sole purpose of entertainment. It also can be shown to prove that men are immature and can have their true intentions altered by the quick look of a women. After critically analyzing the ad, I believe this shows how are society is truly accustomed to the hypersexualization of women and their bodies that we can freely advertise a new hamburger every commercial with an even more provocative message to our young female and male audience. The message given off to our young group is that women propose their bodies like this in order for males attention. That we must have males attention to be respected.
With certain advertisements broadcast to such young women and children, could this be an underlying issue on how they should view their body image? These types of body images on young girls can bring self surveillance to women considering that body image is unattainable and unhealthy for girls. In an experiment, young girls were exposed to dolls and the way the young girls associate body image is found out early. “5 and 8 – year-old girls [were exposed] to Barbie dolls, Emme dolls (with more realistic proportions), or no dolls. The 5-year-olds who were exposed to Barbie reported lower body esteem as well as a greater desire to be thin than did the girls in the other conditions. This immediate negative effect was not evident among the 8-year-old girls but the reaction of the younger girls suggests that a foundation for body dissatisfaction may have already been laid” (Murnen).
We can see the negative side effects hypersexuality in media has placed on the self esteem of not only women, but younger girls as well. This may ultimately lead to depression and competition between women trying to obtain the best body image around. In better sex education, children can be taught how to value their sexuality and understand the representation of their sexuality. “If we believed that we were sexy and funny and competent and smart, we would not need to be like strippers or like men or like anyone other than our own specific, individual selves” (Levy 200). The pressure of conformity onto younger girls to look as sexual as possible is leading to gender inequality and gender separation because women are viewed as incompetent and highly sexualized distractions.
After analyzing the ad, it is clear that it highlights a sexist gender bias in our society. Gender bias is being discriminant towards one gender based solely off of one’s sex. In the workplace, there is an underrepresentation of women in the STEM field. At Yale, a study was conducted for gender biases. Two applicants John and Jennifer sent out two similar applications for a STEM job. “Despite having the exact same qualifications and experience as John, Jennifer was perceived as significantly less competent” (Watts). Gender stereotypes ran deep, she was offered less money than John, 4,000 dollars on average, which is thirteen percent less. This finding supports thats “gender bias is often an outcome of an implicit cognitive process in which pervasive gender stereotypes shape our judgments.” (Watts) An implicit bias is the unconscious attribution of particular qualities to a member of a certain social group. The implicit biases towards women are pushing men to believe that women are incompetent of work and should maintain the “dumb blonde” stereotype.
In order to change the hypersexualizaiton of women in our culture we need to alter sex and the underlying messages of porn. In the TED talk, “Time for Porn to Change” by Erika Lust, she explains that porn is our generation’s version of sex education. “Many children turn to porn before they participate in any sexual experimentation” (Lust). Sex education in American doesn’t teach or get along messages that should be taught to hormonal teenagers. “As of 2005, federal funding was denied to all public school sex education programs except for those advocating abstinence until marriage” (Levy 199). Sex education in America does not cover controversial topics such as abortion, or ways to prevent certain mistakes. Sex education speaks about condoms and how ineffective they can be making sure to specify the failure rates. Abstinence only education tries to scare teenager into not having sex, although sex is natural and will be expressed. In order to fix these topics, we should teach children comprehensive sexuality education, which is age-appropriate sexuality topics. These are ways teens get healthy tips and open mindedness on sexuality as a whole rather than turning to porn to try and understand sexuality. Considering porn is catered to a male audience, the messages it gets across are “bad, wrong, and chauvinistic.” (Lust) In porn, women are not only viewed extremely sexually, but they are shot at angles that put the power to the males. Porn is a product for males which means all the power is held to them while the female sits there happily to play the role of the submissive while in reality this may not be natural.
After analyzing the ad, it is evident that the hypersexualization of women has become normalized in our society today. In order to fix this problem, it is time we educate ourselves with better sex education and reform the way that we see porn. If we were to open our eyes to a more body positive and open idea of women in porn we wouldn’t end up with ads so chauvinistic and hypersexualized.
Lamb, Sharon. “Porn as a Pathway to Empowerment? A Response to Peterson’s Commentary.” Sex Roles, Mar. 2010, web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=95a42fee-c34e-496c-9ed7-79943359f099%40sessionmgr101.
This article explains how women feel empowered through their sexuality and “porn-influenced expression of sexuality can be seen as a step in the direction of sexual empowerment” (Lamb). I used her research on ideal feminist models in my paper. I believe this source is reliable because her and Petersen, two known feminist, have been peer editing their research and countering their research together.
Lamb, Sharon, and Zoë D. Peterson. “Adolescent Girls’ Sexual Empowerment: Two Feminists Explore the Concept.” Sex Roles, 11 May 2011, web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=ad201bfc-b80f-4f96-9ae8-657e627b374e%40sessionmgr103.
This source debates the perspective of Lamb and Peterson regarding the sexual empowerment of young females. It speaks if women feel sexually empowered because of subjectivity or objectivity. I used this source to explain the effects of adequate sexual education and media. I find this source reliable because Lamb and Peterson worked together to debate and explain the empowerment of adolescent sexuality.
Levy, Ariel. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. Black Inc., 2010.
This book explains how women in today’s society are highly objectified and how they not only objectify each other, but themselves. This book gives anecdotes and personal anecdotes, in order to explain empowerment through sexuality. I used this source to explain how women ultimately feel empowered through their own sexuality. I find this source credible because Levy is a published author and a known feminist and I believe she has knowledge on sexual empowerment.
Murnen, Sarah K., and Linda Smolak. “Social Considerations Related to Adolescent Girls’ Sexual Empowerment: A Response to Lamb and Peterson.” Sex Roles, 7 Oct. 2011, web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=ad201bfc-b80f-4f96-9ae8-657e627b374e%40sessionmgr103.
This article compares the perspective of Lamb and Peterson, two feminist and academics, debating the topic of sex positive feminist. I used this article because I like the research they proposed on the unattainable body image and what women go through because of this. I find this article credible because it has been peer reviewed on ebsco.
TEDxTalks. “It’s Time for Porn to Change | Erika Lust | TEDxVienna.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Dec. 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9LaQtfpP_8.
This Ted Talk is about porn in the eyes of males, chauvinistic and wrong. Lust explains that it is time to reform porn, in order to fulfill our child’s ideas of sexuality and enhance sex education. I used this Ted Talk, in order to find a solution to hypersexuality in media. I find this source reliable because Lust has a degree in gender studies.
Ward, Monique. “Media and Sexualization: State of Empirical Research, 1995-2015.”Routledge, 2016, web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=15&sid=dde022e0-91e7-4c75-9e09-838b61e730d8%40sessionmgr4009.
This source is about sexualization in media and goes very in depth on the topic. I used this source in order to open up my essay’s topic by explaining hypersexualization is through a males eyes. I also used this topic to prove that women’s standards of themselves drop. I found this source reliable because it has been peer reviewed on ebsco.
Watts, Alexander. “The Clayman Institute for Gender Research.” Why Does John Get the STEM Job Rather than Jennifer? | The Clayman Institute for Gender Research, 2014, gender.stanford.edu/news/2014/why-does-john-get-stem-job-rather-jennifer.
This website gives background of a study done by Yale University on gender bias. It explains how a male and a female could compete for the same job position with the same qualifications, however the male will be chosen over the women. I used this to further my argument on gender bias in ways more than our media. I find this source reliable because it was an experiment done by Yale University for research.