2018 is approaching rapidly. Like the beginning of every new year, one can reflect on their accomplishments and failures from the years passed, and determine how they can improve. Looking back at how the world was only 50 years ago, one can see how much it has changed. Society’s standards have shifted tremendously and technology is developing rapidly. However, a problem still persists. In fact, it is camouflaged in everyday life. All around us, sexual objectification towards women exists. This can be presented in many different ways. It can be experienced individually, or inflicted on women through social standards. For example, the sexual objectification of women is present in video games, movies, music, and in advertising. This can exist subliminally or obviously. Unfortunately, sexual objectification of women has been a very big factor in how society, both men and women alike, view other women collectively.
Sexual objectification of women is so common that it has been normalized. So, the Community Healthcare Network and a group of teens united to raise awareness. On August 16, 2012, “Objectification of Women -PSA Commercial” was released. It’s introduced with a shot of a woman’s lower face. The camera proceeds upward slowly, raising suspension. A startled face appears. Before you can process, the frame switches to reveal the middle portion of a female body, dressed in only light blue undergarments. She moves very slightly, restricted of any sudden movements. Three diverse men appear and begin circling her. Then, the camera reveals another woman’s body, focusing on her breasts. Again, the camera slowly proceeds up to her face, revealing a brown skinned woman wearing a mono expression and light blue undergarments. Her under-eyes are a slight purple tint. Another woman appears, this time with white skin. The next scene reveals that the three diverse women are fixed onto pedestals. The men surround them with peeled eyes. One man has a hand on his chin, like he’s making a decision or judgement. In the background, a song plays. “You are my biggest reason of why I have capsized and my butts been demonized but I swim for the shore but my heart can’t take no more”, sings a high-pitched voice. One of the men peeks his head in close to observe the women’s breasts. He completely violates her personal space, but she does not react physically or verbally. Her only response is an eye roll. The music starts to fade away slowly and a man says, “Oh man that’s sexy”, referring to the women on display. Followed by another crude comment, “Aren’t you a sexy little thing?”. As he says this, the video reveals a women’s feet and a paper sign next to her. The sign reads “Please Do Not Touch Display”. A man obnoxiously says, “Well I would take this one home right now if I could”. Another man follows saying “huh, I have something like this at home, just smaller. it’s a fine piece of work”. As one of the men sticks his hand out to poke at the woman on the display he says, “well this one could still take a beating and run smoothly”. The woman then accidently tips over and breaks. The only thing that remains is broken glass and light blue undergarments. The men turn around, avoiding responsibility, and walk away blindly. On the screen, it writes “When women are seen as objects, it’s easy to treat them that way. It’s time we saw things differently”. Then, the word “Things” is scribbled out and changes to, “It’s time we saw WOMEN differently”. Lastly, a logo is displayed reading “Community Healthcare Network; A video for teens by teens”.
Sexual objectification is defined as “a gender oppression exerted by men on women, whereby an objectified sense of worth for women is contingent on their body and/or sexuality” (Teng Cheng Poon Zhang 77). Different techniques are used in this commercial in order to inform the public and spark change on the subject of objectification and sexualization of women. One technique is the video’s composition. Three women are put on display like objects. They’re portrayed as pieces of art in a museum. Four men circle them like predators. They consume the women’s beauty and individuality. This serves to show how men prey on women in an animalistic way, demeaning them. Their individuality and self-worth plummets and reduces them to mere objects. Women are often put on pedestals and looked at as something that is only worth fulfilling a man’s sexual desires. A woman’s thoughts, feelings, and words are invalid at this point. One place where sexual objectification of women is specifically present is in advertisements. Research on the role of women in advertising by David Chacon Gordillo has concluded that “one of the most common practices in advertising continues to be the portrayal of women as sex objects without personality nor identity. The woman’s body and physical beauty are used just to satisfy the man’s desires” (403). Some real word examples of this are in the following Natan Jewelers, Arby’s, and Playstation Network advertisements. All of them sexualize and objectify women by manipulating the female body and bribing viewers with sex to sell their product.
Sexual objectification also goes hand in hand with dialogue. In the commercial, the men gawk at the women and speak inconsiderately. They say scrutinizing things about the women standing before them as if they can’t hear. The men use words like “it”, “this one”, and “sexy” to refer to the women. This is a way of sexually objectifying them. They are literally being referred to as objects instead of human beings. Also, the lyrics of the song used in the background of the video sends a key message. The song says “…. but I swim for the shore but my heart can’t take no more.” Women may feel like there’s no way to escape sexual objectification. They go to war with this every day. This is exhausting for the heart and soul, hence their tired, purple eyes. They try to fight, but have no real say. The fact that they do not speak through words but only through eyes, speaks volumes in this commercial. The women move their eyes to watch, and one even rolls her eyes, but that is all they can do. This serves to show that women are exhausted from this constant battle against equalization. All they can do is watch, hence the restriction on free movement. The rolling of the eyes shows that nonverbal cues is the only result to expressing their feelings. A slight eye roll can express annoyance or being fed up.
This way of treating women can cause their attitude towards men to change along with physical and psychological damage. A study in the field of social psychology examined the effect of sexual objectification on women’s intention to affiliate with men. They concluded that “women were less willing to interact both with the man who objectified them and with a male target who shared a similar background with the objectifier” (Teng, Chen, Poon, and Zheng 84). Based on the spill-over effect, Fei Teng, Zhanseng Chen, Kai-Tak Poon, and Denghao Zheng predicted that “sexual objectification decreases a woman’s affiliation intention toward a perpetrator and that this effect would be spilled over to another man who belongs to the same group as the perpetrator” (78). So, social psychologists present a new problem rooting from sexual objectification of women that builds this psa’s relevancy and credibility. Another effect is the objectification theory. This says “sexual objectification of females is likely to contribute to mental health problems that disproportionately affect women (i.e., eating disorders, depression, and sexual dysfunction) via two main paths. The first path is direct and overt and involves Sexual objectification experiences. The second path is indirect and subtle and involves women’s internalization of sexual objectification experiences or self-objectification” (Szymanski, Moffitt, and Carr 8). The negative effects of sexual objectification are endless and harmful. One simple comment can go as far as to cause a woman to view herself in a hateful way. The effects can escalate to cause self-objectification.
This commercial uses appearance as another way to deliver their main message. The way the women appear in the video speaks volumes. The purple under eyes suggest that they’re exhausted and “beat”. They wear only undergarments. Their hair and makeup is not done presentably. On the other hand, the men are fully clothed with both material and dignity They are not portrayed as sexy. Despite this, the men are circling them and practically devouring them. The women are stripped of clothing and left with nothing but a mere bra and underwear. This is completely demeaning. The Community Healthcare Network represent the cast in this fashion to nonverbally show how women are sexualized every day, and men are the perpetrators. This also shows the distinct line of inequality between men and women in society today.
The Community Healthcare Network also uses a mix of pathos, ethos, and logos to successfully deliver their message. From the very beginning of the ad, pathos is used to catch the attention of the audience. Their primary audience is men. Specifically, men who objectify women. The strange and almost funny sounding music in the background immediately intrigues the audience, causing them to question what is going on. The random shots of the women’s body and startled faces also raises questions and hooks the audience. The authors of the video use diverse men and women so that the audience, no matter wat gender or background, can identify with the actors. This helps them to apply whatever is going on to their personal lives, which is a play on emotion. From beginning to end, the video is an emotional rollercoaster. The viewers may not grasp the concept automatically but towards the end, it hits like a brick. It gets serious very quick. This is pathos because it is playing on the viewers emotion to deliver their message successfully.Ethos is used mostly at the end of the video. Following the escalation, is an information page giving the name of the organization and their website and email. This gives the video credibility because the audience can see where it came from and what their point was. The characters also give credibility through ethos as well as pathos. The diversity of gender and color allows the audience to identify personally with them. This gives credibility because the viewer literally puts themselves in the shoes of the actor they choose to identify with. Logos is used specifically through dialect. Words like “sexy” and “It” cause the viewer to associate sex and objectification. At the end of the video it writes “When women are treated like objects, it’s easy to see them that way. It’s time we saw things differently”. Then the sentence changes to say, “It’s time we saw women differently”. At this point the message is delivered successfully. They use logic to end the video with only three straight forward sentences. No more imagery and subliminal messages are being sent at this point. The intention of the commercial is revealed
This commercial hold great value and relevancy to society. It serves to unmask sexual objectification and eliminate it. The Community Healthcare Network uses a mixture of composition, dialogue, appearance, ethos, logos, and pathos to successfully inform the public on this issue. The rhetorical analysis of this video lead to the discovery of new information in other branches of study. This helps one become aware of the impact it can have on society and post objectification effects on women. This video even gives the audience the knowledge and ability to recognize sexual objectification in everyday life such as advertisements. The overall point of the commercial was to inform the public, focusing specifically on men who objectify women and anyone who has been around it and dismissed it. The Community Healthcare Network delivered their point and effectively revealed the issue to society while also providing a solution.
David Chacón Gordillo, Pedro. “La Mujer Como Objeto Sexual en La Publicidad.” [“The use of women as sex objects in advertising”]. Comunicar, vol. 16, no. 31, Oct. 2008, pp. 403-409. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3916/c31-2008-03-026.
This article Studies the effects of using women as sex objects in advertising. It talks about the sexism in advertising it depth and its effects, outcomes, and characteristics. I am going to use this to support my essay because it is credible and helps me prove my point about objectification and what it does. It is also a This is credible because it is an academic journal. It is also a scientific approach at this topic.
eng, Fei, et al. “Sexual Objectification Pushes Women Away: The Role of Decreased Likability.” European Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 45, no. 1, Feb. 2015, pp. 77-87. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/
This article is about the role of decreased likability for women after being sexually objectified by men. It conducts research and concludes that women are likely to have a decrease in likeability towards objectifiers and even men who look similar to the objectifier. I am going to use this as one of the effects of sexual objectification. It is credible because of the source European Journal of Social Psychology.
Szymanski, Dawn M., Lauren B. Moffitt, and Erika R. Carr. “Sexual Objectification of Women: Advances to Theory and Research.” 39.1 (2010): 6-38. Sage Journals. 22 Sept. 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.
This article proposes the objectification theory. IT also conducts research in 3 different studies about the sexual objectification of women and its effects. I will use this to support my essay because it talks about effects from a clinical psychology standpoint. It is credible because the authors have the following credentials: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Objectification of Women- PSA Commercial. Prod. Community Healthcare Network. N.p., 16 Aug. 2012. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
This video is a public service announcement bringing attention to the objectification of women in the world today. They use a commercial and subliminal message in order to get their point across. This is what I am doing my rhetorical analysis on. It is credible because it is published by an organization and backed up with separate research from other sources that proves what they’re trying to get across is very much a problem that is relevant and present in our world today.