The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Speaker discusses impact of advertisements

By Raquel Diaz/reporter

Each day, an average American teenager sees more than 33,000 advertisements, SE students learned Nov. 19.

In What’s for Sale?, Monica Gutierrez of The Women’s Center of Tarrant County deconstructed many popular advertisements to show how certain brands pinpoint items for certain targets and audiences by the simple use of word choice.

Using billboards and magazine ads, the main question she posed was “What is being sold — a product or an image?”

“Advertisement teams are created to sell a stereotypical message and image to the society,” she said. “Not only do viewers have to buy something they don’t really need but also fit the perfect image being shown constantly through the media.”

Although many ads seemed harmless, what many consider “average” was taken offensively by several students during the interactive presentation.

On average, many ads are stereotypical and dominant toward a certain gender. But, Gutierrez asked the students, isn’t that what ads are supposed to do? Isn’t it the role of a company to sell a product to a certain group popularly known to use it?

Her ad illustrations included liquor, luxury vehicles, high fashion and health products. Many of the ads that contained a high dose of sexual tension, inappropriate language and subliminal messages were not labeled as out of the ordinary. Many of the students took a while to understand what was so wrong with the ad before they finally realized the problem.

A major part of the discussion occurred when Gutierrez showed a particular ad for a department store’s bridal gowns and tuxedos. The photo showed a small woman leaning back on a pillar with a much taller man hovering over her. The photo displayed no romance or sign of love.

“This is a bridal ad. Why isn’t she happy or why aren’t they smiling? Why did they choose this certain position for the ad?” Gutierrez asked.

None of the men saw a problem with the photo. Some said the man was merely gazing into the bride’s eyes as a sign of intense passion for her. The male students agreed the man was not hovering as a sign of dominance but as a sign of love and strength.

The women, however, said the man’s body language presented a form of male dominance over the much smaller and weaker woman. The women agreed the man’s shoulders and stance seemed made him appear somewhat controlling. One female said she felt as if the man were about to hit the woman and wondered why the store chose that photo.

“Advertisers can create an ad that uses no words and just photos to make a point,” Gutierrez said. “But when they do use words, they play with words so that something is not directed exactly toward the viewer, but it can be applied to them.”

Gutierrez’s presentation covered the way some ads demean the value of relationships, marriage and human invulnerability. Since many ads commonly use the woman’s body as objects or tools to help boost sales, the idea of sexualization is exposed to girls at an early age.

The students agreed that young girls should not be encouraged to dress and act too mature for their age.

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