Sexist Advertising Survey

Hello dear readers, time to stop reading and start writing; I would greatly appreciate if you could take 10-15 minutes of your precious time to participate in the following survey:

Sexist Advertising Survey

This survey is open for everyone, anyone, who would like to share some thoughts on the research topic of “Sexist advertising”. No previous knowledge necessary, all that matters are your own personal thoughts.

Cheers a lot!

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Courses, conferences and competitive papers

Long time no see, dear blog. I am not ignoring you, just having my plate full of work, work and some more work.

So far I have enjoyed my time as a PhD student, even though the course load this semester has been kind of a pain (who’s idea was it to put three courses at once, huh?). Nevertheless, one is completed, one is about 90% done, and the last one has two more hurdles to go, so all in all, everything is under control. For next semester, I am hoping to take a course in CCT (Consumer culture theory), then maybe do some writing course, more methodology, and if I can manage to find a suitable one, take a gender theory course. I have also been greatly inspired by the courses so far and am contemplating how to use Institutional theory, Grounded theory, Discourse analysis and Netnography for my dissertation. Oh the choices! My problem is, and has always been, that I want to do it all, and I want to do it now. I often experience a decision-making-anxiety growing inside when I learn that I have to let something I believe in go, when I understand that I in fact do not have all the time and resources in the world. However, this “itch” of wanting to do everything, has always worked as a source of passion and ambition, and surely, if I did not want to do anything, ever, I would not be doing a PhD at all. I mean, there are other ways of spending my time. So I should not complain.
Just make a decision.

Anyway. This last month has been hectic to say the least, but it has also come with some wonderful surprises and news. The biggest one being that the paper I submitted for a conference in Macromarketing got accepted! I will thus present it at the conference in front of fellow peers and scholars. Needless to say, this news was shocking to me. Basically, this is me opening the e-mail and reading the first few words saying “We are very pleased to inform you that your submission….” :

surprise

And then this is me seconds later when the words really sank in and I got the message:

surprise

I can’t even begin to describe the joy, sense of accomplishment, and then utter, utter terror and panic, I experienced during that moment. I mean, me? I? Really? Holy *insert ALL the curse words*!! I always hope, but never expect, thus such news always get me by surprise. I still cannot believe that I am going to present something I created at a conference for the first time in my life. Hopefully, I will not be a puddle of nerves, lying on the floor in a fetal position. Hopefully, I will manage.

The competitive paper I submitted is about how viewers deal with being exposed to an abundance of sexual, pornographic and violent ads, and in it I construct and present a framework that explains some of the practices that may go into forming opinions regarding the ads. I call the framework the Clutter Syndrome, and if things go well, this will not be the last time you hear about it.

In the words of Morrissey: So wish me luck my friends, goodbye.

Time to get back to work.

Two ways a woman can get hurt

Today we had our last lecture in one of the first phd courses, and I held my last presentation, this time about my field of research: sexist advertising. I presented a chapter: Two ways a woman can get hurt: Advertising and Violence,  from Kilbourne’s book Deadly persuasion: Why women and girls must fight the addictive power of advertising (1999). Here, Kilbourne speaks about sex in advertising and how this is similar to pornography since it is more about dehumanizing, objectifying and disconnecting than it is about reality. Violence is encouraged in many ads, men are shown to be in power, dominant, to take control, heck, take whatever they want, while women are portrayed as never saying no, or at least, not meaning no when they say it. Women are encouraged by ads to be attracted to the hostile and indifferent men, often the ones that in real life would be absolutely dangerous. Violence is also trivialized, and rape is glorified. Kilbourne argues about the objectification being different for women and men: when women are objectified they are so in a cultural context where this objectification is constant, and where there are serious consequences, from economic discrimination to violence. For men, the consequences are not the same since their bodies are generally not routinely judged and invaded, they are not as likely to get harassed, raped or beaten by women, as women are by men. This is eloquently described and summed up:

“When power is unequal, when one group is oppressed and discriminated against as a group, when there is a context of systemic and historical oppression, stereotypes and prejudice have different weight and meaning.”

Now, that is not to say that the objectification of men is any better, all objectification is bad of course. It is always bad to objectify a person. However, it is important to understand that the objectification looks very different when it comes to women and men. After all, we are not equal in the eyes of the ads.

After my presentation we had a very long discussion that was both interesting, fruitful and extremely frustrating and upsetting. At one point, I was boiling, it came after one of my male colleagues said that it is in the nature of women to want to be looked at by men, and it is in the men’s nature to want to look at women. Nature. Nature? Needless to say, this really heated up the debate with him on one side and practically the rest of us on the other with arguments about the social construction of reality. About the fact that women are not born with an innate desire to be ogled by men, that it is not something in our blood, but rather in the way we are brought up, taught by society to want to look pretty, to want to be wanted. It is something that we daily must think about, decide about. It is about the constant male gaze that is surrounding us all. Quietly, subtly.

It is not in our nature. It is in our heads.