I have noticed that many ads that we see either in television, internet, magazines, even in newspapers sell things that we really don’t need. The worst part is most advertisements degrade and objectify the opposite sex, in order to push their product. Commercials flash by us back and forth, and we don’t notice they can vary from insulting to outright criminal. It’s alarming to see most of these images, but we tend to be very passive about it. Jean Kilbourne defines this in her article, “Beauty and the Beast of Advertising”, stating,
“Advertising is an over $130 billion dollar a year industry and affects all of throughout our lives. We are each exposed to over 1500 ads a day, constituting perhaps the most powerful educational force in society. The average adult will spend one and one-half years of his/her life watching television commercials. But the ads sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be. Sometimes they sell addictions. (121)
The media consistently tries to find new and better ways to get us, the consumer, to buy their products for silly reasons. Do we need to endure this? Do we need to buy products that allow men and women to be treated like a mere sex object or worse? The obvious answer would be no, but the companies that sell these products their answer is, yes. So what do we do, knowing that most advertisements present themselves in this manner? It’s strange that we really don’t stop, look, and read between the lines. It would be nice to say that, “We all need to protest and revolt” that way we can all feel better about ourselves. This is an aggressive response and normal response, because most advertisements are aggressive in their campaigns to promote their product. Naturally, the obvious response by society, against these advertisements, would be more aggressive as well. There are many questions and so many answers, that for me a as male would be difficult to approach and have the proper solution. The reason I say this is because to just tell the blunt truth works for some people, but for others it’s just going to make people run away.
(Solving The Problem)
The better approach would be to educate people in showing the meaning behind certain advertisements, in a subtle and critical manner. It can be done in so many ways, and the possibilities are endless.The outlet to do this education is through social networking within the internet. The goal of this is best explained by Douglas Kellner in his article, “Reading Images Critically: Toward a Postmodern Pedagogy”. He explains the goal of critically analyzing media stating,
“The goal will be to teach a critical media literacy which will empower individuals to to become more autonomous agents, able to emancipate themselves for contemporary forms of domination and to become more active citizens, eager and competent to engage in processes of social transformation…” (126)
The creation of the internet has given birth to social networks of YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and the many other types as an advantage for awareness and education. This is our solution to altering commercial media and advertising because it can be tools to teach and educate people behind the reasoning all of these commercials that sell things, we ultimately may or may not need. It can show others that there are different ways of selling a product, by not trying to sell a sexual fantasy or a false perception of beauty. The more we teach, the more we change, the more we change, the world changes, and when the world changes we make a difference.
I refer to the reasoning as to why people buy things that we really don’t need by using Kellner when he writes,
“Consequently, consumer capitalism constitutes a tremendous waste of resources, and force consumers to pay high prices for products that they are induced to think that they need for success, popularity, self-esteem, and other socially desirable qualities. This vicious process of waste and manipulation during an age of growing scarcity of resources is a natural scandal...” (130).
It’s even more so of an imperative to use are social networks, as a way to alter the commercial media that is viewed around us.
I do not like the saying, “Knowledge is power”, because power is a means not an end. One can have all the knowledge in the world, but the question you have to ask is what are you going to do with it? This is what we do with it, and we keep passing it along to others in everyone who will listen, learn, and continue to pass it along. The altering of images in commercials, as seen on websites such as www.about-face.org or http://www.genderads.com, do help by providing the individual to make their own decisions. However, these sites did not come to light until presented in the very social networking site of www.blogspot.com. The very sites we use and enable people to read the posts that we have been writing, and me being able to so makes a difference little by little.
Yes, do go out there and join www.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com, or even www.myspace.com. You have websites to bookmark to show where the information is? I use www.delicious.com, introduced to me and my classmates by Professor Cacoilo. Do a VLOG or show on www.youtube.com about negative ads and teach people to critically think about the commercial images shown to the public, offensive or no. If you just want to start pushing buttons only a little bit try www.twitter.com, it worked for Conan O’Brien why not you. The choice is yours, and there are so many. Now, you have been given knowledge what are you going to do with it? I am doing something with it when you read this. What are you going to do?
(The Solution to the Problem)