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ISSUE 117 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/30/2004

Pledge a grievance to sexist advertising

By Sarah Hastings
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 30, 2004

In 1965 in Griswold vs. Connecticut, the Supreme Court struck down the law stating that the use of birth control by married couples was illegal. This court decision led to the legalization of birth control and paved the way for a surge of womens freedom.

The introduction of the pill gave women the right to control the timing and number of children conceived. Along with this came the idea of womens sexual freedom. As the idea spread, women began using their sexuality to their advantage.

Women at that time believed the introduction of the pill to be a huge step for womens liberation. It gave women the chance to use their sexuality to show their independence and equality. But have we taken this too far? Do we realize the way society exploits womens sexual freedom in advertising? Have we taken our freedom to express our sexuality over the edge? We, both men and women, need to come together to stop the exploitation of women through advertising.

With spring approaching, Ive noticed that many girls are starting to wear less and less. Walking around campus the other day I saw girls with skirts that barely covered anything and shirts showing more than was necessary. As I looked around campus at the clothes that are in style, I started asking myself why we wear these clothes that barely fit us.

As I thought about it, I realized that most women wear them because thats what they see in magazines and on TV. Advertising is not the sole reason for our action,. however, its one of the biggest influences on us, and it deserves more criticism.

Advertising that uses seductive women to sell their products is everywhere. Beautiful women are used to sell everything from cars to toothpaste. Advertising for movies is a prime example of how womens sexual freedom has been abused. The preview for The Girl Next Door, shows a pretty young woman, wet from the rain. She is knocking on her neighbors door, saying, Im all wet. Mind if I come in? Her white T-shirt reveals her red bra.

This type of advertising is sickening to me. I find it unbelievable how easily we accept this exploitation of woman in movies and advertising. Advertising agencies have shown that they believe the only way to get a man to check out their product is by showing a scantily clad woman.

Unless you hide yourself from society, every day you see the way in which women are used as sex objects to sell products. When will we realize that weve gone too far? If women are supposedly free, then why are we still allowing this abuse to continue?

The Declaration of Sentiments, one of the first organized steps towards womens liberation, occurred 156 years ago. As the National Womens History project states, The Declaration of Sentiments was a plea for the end of discrimination against women in all spheres of society.

We, both men and women, again need to come together to end the discrimination against women happening right now in our society through advertising.

Contributing writer Sarah Hastings is a first year from Cape May, N.J. She majors in sociology and anthropology.

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