Women in Media Advertisements

2000: Millennium Development Goals, 2008 : SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, 2016 Sustainable Development Goals …the biggest question is whether or not  the media has made an attempt to follow these measures, has there been  any change on how women are framed in media advertisements?

Women as sexual objects in media advertisements | By Tatenda Gapare


Pic was taken from Scorch London

Advertisers are only concerned about delivering a message and making profit. According to Mazure and Musasa (2015), they do not care how women are framed in media advertisements. Most of the adverts portray women in a negative way and this tends to make people in society have a negative attitude towards women.

Over the years, there have been attempts globally, regionally and locally to address gender inequality in and through the media with various instruments put in place such as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) . Both these measures came to an end in 2015 and new measures like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were put in place to support the gains made in the fight for gender equality and equity. What remains the biggest question is did the media make an attempt to follow these measures, was there any change on how women are framed in media advertisements?

According to Women in advertising, the exposure of women occurs about four times as often compared to the exposure of men’s bodies in magazines. Women who are sexualized are more likely to appear as purely decorative objects in men’s magazines compared to women’s magazines.

 Women in advertisements are portrayed as people who are obsessed with beauty, concerned with trivial issues, dull, childish, dependent on men, not knowledgeable especially on technology and are seen as sex objects. This is seen in many adverts were women feature to promote certain products which does not even concern women, they are used to promote male products for example, the male circumcision advertisement.The Pinda musmart/Ngena kusmart/Get Smart male circumcision campaign which won the Advertising campaign of the year in 2014. This campaign was launched in 2013 and it featured female celebrities like Fungisai Mashavave and Thabani Gambiza. The theme for women was ‘he did it for me’ (Herald). Women are objectified and seen as sex objects and objects to be used for profit. To them (advertisers), sex sells so the more they put sexy women the more their adverts are taken serious and the more the cash they get.


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