Tag Archives: women

WOMEN IN ADS: Effects of framing women in a negative way

 | By Tatenda Gapare

Advertising is seen as the most influential form of socialisation in modern society because it is persuasive and is repeated many times. According to Jhally (1987) advertising displays a preoccupation with gender that is hardly matched in any other genre as men and women are assigned different roles in advertisements. Many advertising agencies frame women in a negative way and all this exposure has significant effects.

Negative advertisements may influence people in society to believe that women are unable to make decisions or exert power in an environment outside home. This is fueled by the representation of women in media advertisements. This might cause negative perception on the women’s ability to perform competently.  According to Chron women can suffer from serious psychological blows from the subtle and pervasive effects of advertising aimed at them.

“Women often appear wanton, passive and childlike in advertisements sending a message that such qualities are normal and even desirable in women. Even more disturbing men receive the message that women should act submissive and wanton and come to expect that in their relationship with the opposite sex,” said Robert Vaux.

Advertisements have encouraged women to be submissive and dress provocatively. These adverts don’t only catch the eye of the opposite sex but it has negative effects on the women as well. According to the destructive advertisement, there are type of commercials that lead little girls, teenagers and women in general to feel bad about what they look like themselves and have a negative self-image.

Framing women in a negative way has many effects, according to destructive advertisements it can create anxiety for both men and women by actively portraying men as hyper-masculine and women as ultra-thin, they can lead to individuals engaging in anorexia, bulimia and over-exertion at the gym in


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.

WOMEN IN MEDIA ADS: Why are women framed in a negative way?

By Tatenda Gapare |

There are various reasons why women are framed in a negative way and the major reason being that sex sells thus advertisers use sex in advertising to help sell their goods and services. . Most of the advertising agencies are concerned with making profit rather than following the ethics. How people feel or how they are affected by the type of advertisements they publish is not their main worry. Mazure and Musasa (2015) show that advertisers are only concerned about delivering a message and making profit.

According to www.thebalance.com/the-objectification-of-women-in-advertsing.html, advertising marketing and fashion industry have created a new type of woman that does not exist in the real world. The women in advertisements are not human, they are a creation of an industry obsessed with perfection and selling products to women that they claim will help them achieve the impossible goal they have set.

Women are framed in a negative way because sex sells and adverts are the cash cows of any company. According to www.thebalance.com/the-objectification-of-women-in-advertsing.html,  this is advertising’s main function, create a need then provide something to fill that need. For example, men drink certain brands of beer because they associate them with those impossible women and women buy certain clothes, food, makeup products in vain attempt to resemble them.

Most of the advertisers use women to sell their products. According to www.ukessays.com/negative-effects-advertising-can-have-on-women-media ,the main message of most adverts is if you want to be beautiful buy this product but the hidden messages are within the advert itself. Companies see models/women as just objects of advertising so that their products are known and they get profit from it.

According to Sheehan (2014), when people are portrayed in advertisements they are actively involved with the product or service being advertised or passively decorating the advertisement. Decorative portrayals show the people in the advertisements as passive and disengaged whereas active portrayals show the person interacting directly with the product. Many advertisements featuring beautiful women and men tend to feature them as decorations. Women are four times likely to be presented visually without a speaking role than males because women are used as sex objects which attract men.