Monday, October 13, 2008

Sex, Lies and Advertising - Gloria Steinem

Ms. Magazine

This excerpt entitled Sex, Lies and Advertising, written by Gloria Steinem does not really live up to its name. Although it is about advertising and the difficulties that Ms. Magazine experienced in dealing with what ads to accept for their magazine, it does not really have to deal with sex. Ms. Magazine is a women’s magazine which not only discusses topics related to women, but also politics and feminist news. In this article, Gloria Steinem does discusses lies in relation to advertisers and their lack of interest in putting ads in Ms. Magazine. Gloria goes through different examples of the difficulties of allowing and not allowing specific advertisements in Ms. Magazine. Ranging from makeup ads to car ads, these examples are difficult to accept but a little funny at the same time.
One example that is really interesting and impacting deals with attracting ads for consumer electronics. The saleswoman of Ms. Magazine set out to convince advertisers to allow advertisements for electronics in Ms. Magazine. The response was negative. The executives refused saying that women have no interest or knowledge of electronics and if they do, they are only learning about it from their husbands and boyfriends. I found this particularly offensive because I know some men out there who have no idea how to use electronics and I know some women who know how to use and who love to use electronics more than any man I have ever met.
In all, this article is interesting because it discusses the difficulties that Ms. Magazine had to go through in dealing with advertisements. Particularly interesting was the fact that advertisers refused to put ads for electronics in Ms. Magazine because women apparently do not like to use electronics. I am curious as to how much this particular issue has changed throughout the course of almost 20 years since this article was written in 1990. Possibly because technology and electronics have become extremely prevalent in society today more advertisers are willing to put ads for electronics in Ms. Magazine. I wonder what Gloria Steinem would say about the difficulties of advertisements today?

I chose to display this comic because it depicts an interesting point. The website I found this comic on points out some interesting ideas as well. The person who decided to post this comic discussed how women tend to laugh or hide discomfort to mask embarrassment or even anger. The person who posted this makes a great point when they write: “Make a racist joke to a minority, and chances are the person will call you on it. Make a sexist joke about females, the woman is expected to laugh. If she gets annoyed, then it means she has no sense of humor.” I have found this to be true in some of my own interactions with individuals who make sexist jokes. Women are expected to laugh it off and if they get offended then they’re stuck up or dry.
This shows the difficulties that Gloria Steinem writes about in dealing advertisements in her magazine. A lot of the difficulties faced had to deal with the fact that some executives don’t take the ‘women’s movement’ seriously and therefore did not take Ms. Magazine seriously. I have a great respect already for Ms. Magazine and I’ve never even read or seen Ms. Magazine. But the fact that they were able to keep their magazine in support of the women’s movement despite difficulties shows that the individuals involved in the creation and popularity of Ms. Magazine deserve our respect.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ever hear of the female sex? That is what the title refers to, also sex is a big part of advertising, and the objectification of women and men to sell products is common, so your criticism about the title is way off.