February 1, 2004

VS. Female Body Image Memes

About-Face is a female-image-oriented organization along the lines of Adbusters. "About-Face aims to combat negative and distorted images of women. And its Gallery of Offenders names names. But the site comes with a caution: 'Extreme sarcasm. Enter at your own risk.' "

When reviewed, the prevalence of stereotypical images of women is overwhewlming. Clearly, in our society, this is considered an acceptable situation. But as surely as it sells mundane products, it distorts our perceptions of women. I find it hard to believe anyone would deny that. Corporations will spend millions on advertising because they are aware of its power to change minds. But advertising is an unweildy cudgel, communicating all sorts of unintended messages along with the intended ones.

I liken it to people's distorted perceptions regarding herbal remedies. If a drug is strong enough to have an effect, it is usually strong enough to have a side effect. Doctors (good doctors) prescribe drugs mindful of the side effects, which often need to be closely managed. The scientific and medical communities deal with reality and cannot afford to ignore the very real relationship between intended and unintended effects.

Advertising is effective. And side-effective.

Posted by James at February 1, 2004 1:14 PM
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