Around this time of year, I start cringing a lot when I walk past stores like Hot Topic. I see posters and pictures of Halloween costumes for women: Little Red Riding Hood, a maid, a nurse, etc. The cringing occurs when I see Little Red Riding Hood in a bra and shorts that can barely be classified as shorts, a maid with a skirt that barely goes past the hips matched with a tiny bandeaux, and a nurse with white fishnets and a skin-tight dress that reveals basically everything.
Every costume for teenage girls must be “sexy.” Sexy Fairy, Sexy Witch, Sexy Cat, Sexy Barney. That’s right, Sexy Barney. As in, the big purple dinosaur. It has gotten so bad that a few stores forbid people under sixteen to enter because the costumes are so sexually explicit.
It isn’t just with Halloween costumes either. Commercials for some things as simple as Doritos (yes, Doritos) are turned into ads that basically suggest sex by showing, you guessed it, a naked lady. Do corporations really have to stoop that low to sell their products?
Basic human desires include sex. I get that. If ads slip in a little bit of innuendo, it doesn’t really matter. But seeing commercials selling burgers with the majority of the ad being a woman sensuously eating the burger while the camera closes in on her teasingly removing a sweater as a man watches her from a distance, it goes from a little innuendo being okay and maybe slightly funny to extremely uncomfortable, mortifying, and down right creepy. It gives the impression that all women are good for is fulfilling a man’s sexual desires.
There was a time when marketing was an art that required wit and skill. Now, marketers just think, “Hey, let’s stick a barely-clad lady up there wearing our product and people will for sure buy it!” They aren’t selling their product. They’re selling sex.
When it comes down to it, marketers are taking the easy way by over-sexualizing their product with naked women. Instead of coming up with a creative ad that draws the audience in with cleverness, wit, and information, they draw mostly men in with sexually explicit images while ladies watch in disgust as burger juice drips into a woman’s cleavage.
This has got to stop. I’m tired of seeing women featured in commercials that have nothing to do with being sexy dressed in skimpy outfits and walking around like strippers. Last time I checked, a simple product like shampoo is something you wash your hair with, not something to sexualize.
Companies advertise what is being sold and what people are responding to. If people stop buying things, like Burger King’s Super Seven Incher (featuring a woman’s open mouth next to the sandwich), then companies will realize that the over-sexualization of women for selling their products is not okay.
It’s rude, vulgar, demeaning, and simply gross. I want to live in a world where a company can sell food or a simple piece of clothing without the commercial degrading women into sexual objects.