The term feminist is largely misunderstood in our society, being a feminist means standing up for the rights of men and women. I am a feminist because I believe that men and women should be equal and treated with respect and dignity. Women have come far in history with gaining rights but there is still a lot of inequality. Women are represented in bad ways in the media, there are traditional roles of women presented, and women are unequal in the workplace.
I chose an ad for the drink enhancer Crystal Light. The ad is a picture of a woman from her waist to her mouth. Next to her is clear water pouring into a glass filled with red water, meaning it is mixing with the Crystal Light packet. On top of the torso of the woman are the words “Water your body. Recharge. Restore. Revive. Help nourish your skin from within with delicious, fruity abandon Crystal Light Skin Essentials. This ad relates to my social movement of women’s rights because this ad portrays women in a stereotypical manner. It is also a factor that leads women to believe they need a certain body type. This ad is one that would be seen in magazines or other printed places. It was produced in 2010 by Kraft foods.
The first concept that I will use to analyze this article is who is empowered vs who is disempowered. This artifact both empowers and disempowers women. The woman featured in the picture is disempowered because her face is not shown. It does not matter who this woman is, she is merely being used for her body. The women who buy the product become the empowered ones. The ad says that it helps women’s skin and is good for them as a whole. This leads women to go out and feel like they can change their dry skin and make themselves healthier. The concept of power is interesting because while this ad in one way does empower women, it was most likely constructed by men to lure women into buying this product. Herrick found that “power is governed by rules, though these rules often are not consciously adhered to…there are discursive rules governing who may talk, what can be talked about, and in which settings.” (250) The creators of this ad decide who sees the ad, what the ad says, and whom the ad is aiming to reach. This gives the creators of the ad the power and takes the power away from those who view the ad.
The next concept that I will use to analyze this article is stereotypes in media. According to Wood, “there is an increasing trend in media to portray women and even young girls in highly sexualized ways.” (269) The woman in this ad is naked and is therefore portrayed as extremely sexual. All this woman is needed for is her sexy body because if she looks sexy and drinks Crystal Light, then other women will buy it. Wood also found that “magazines predominantly show women with impossibly perfect bodies, which have often been digitally altered…” (269) The body of this woman is not real and could never actually be attained by anyone. Consumers, however, fool themselves into thinking that they can look like this woman if they too drink Crystal Light. These images of impossibly thin women lead both women and young girls to believe that they are not good enough. It causes women to be unsatisfied with themselves and potentially cause them to take drastic actions to look more like the women on ads.
In conclusion feminism is about rights for men and women. While over the years women have gained many rights and are coming to be viewed more as equals, there is still work to go. Media portrays women in stereotypical ways and also disempowers them. This ad is a great example of how media does this. The woman is used for her body, and is portrayed in a stereotypically sexy way. The creators of the ad have the power, not the woman in the ad or the consumers because they decide what gets seen and where.
Herrick. Discourse, Knowledge, and Power. 246-252.
Wood, Julia T. "The Study of Communication, Gender, and Culture." Gendered Lives:Communication, Gender, and Culture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 1994. Print.