Damn girl, you’re a fine piece of meat

Sex sells in any form of advertising because it immediately engages the audience and establishes a shock factor aiding towards the consumers ability to retain the images and messages being promoted. This tactic is employed to provoke action from the audience but studies have proven that often the sexualised images are retained and not the brand message which is commonly not the objective of these sexualised campaigns.

Increasingly it is women used within erotic promotion particularly when associated with animals. Females are frequently advertised as a piece of meat reiterated in the image below advertising Pamela Anderson in association with PETA who increasingly use sex to sell their messages.

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Pamela Anderson promoted as a piece of meat – degrading towards females.

Although PETA’s message is clear in this print advertisement indicating there is little difference between the organs of animals and humans so why save one over the other? The image itself clearly objectifies females promoting Ms Anderson in a seductive position. It is evident that sexual equality within promotions isn’t present. If sex sold to everyone marketing content containing both genders would be more prevalent. Lisa Wade a writer for Society Pages states “we’re selling men’s sexual subjectivity and women as a sex object. That is, the idea that man’s desires are centrally important and meaningful, and women’s are not because women are the object to men’s subjectivity.”

PETA’s main objective is to promote animal rights but advertising women as a piece of meat undermines their main intentions and tarnishes brand image. It is suggesting the only way they can gain their target audiences attention is to advertise women in sexualised positions devaluing them as humans beings. Additionally the promotion of positive body acceptance is frequently overlooked by PETA as well in these campaigns. Even though animals come in all shapes and sizes the females promoting animals rights are often young, petite with large breasts. This implies that the advertisements are predominantly targeted towards men and are presenting a concerning message towards females – that being vegetarian is the only way to be skinny and beautiful which was how several females surveyed in Gaarder’s study reacted to the campaigns. Body Image pressures have become a growing issue in our current society as the need to be ‘perfect’ and retain a certain figure especially for females has become increasingly publicised and endorsed by influential figures such as Kim Kardashian whose body has clearly been altered through surgical procedures as indicated below.

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That booty is clearly not a squat booty

By more organisations employing these strategies this impacts on how women view themselves and the expectations placed on them. Several studies have indicated “women exposed to sexist TV ads perceived that their actual body size was larger and that there was a larger discrepancy between their actual and ideal body size (preferring to be thinner than one’s perceived actual body size).”

This raises numerous concerns with PETA’s marketing goals reinforcing a connection between thinness and a vegetarian lifestyle. Furthermore it also reiterates the negative stereotypes inflicted on males suggesting that the only way to gain a males attention about a serious issue is to first dangle a naked or semi-naked female in front of him indicating how little respect PETA places on males and their social awareness resulting in cheap, sexualised material to promote a serious message. Coincidentally advertisements frequently depict males as idiotic creatures further emphasising this claim as Sydney Morning Herald journalist Charles Purcell recognises males are depicted as morons in advertising suggesting they are the stereotypical blue collar working man unworthy of respect and feeble minded in terms of investing.

Numerous studies have indicated that brand information is less likely to be recalled when promoted through erotic advertisements, therefore indicating that PETA’s promotional strategies more than likely do not achieve their intended purpose of protecting the rights of animals. Instead it seems they are tarnishing their brand reputation amongst several female consumers, devaluing women and promoting inequality within their sexualised tactics.

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It’s good news week…

Suffering is becoming a common formality in our lives. It surrounds us on a daily basis – in the media, on the street and even internally. We cannot escape it, we cannot hide it therefore the only choice we have is to recognise it. Our society, however has blurred the lines between identifying suffering for sympathy and highlighting it for entertainment purposes. Death and suffering has become seasonalised, Jacque Lynn Foltyn (National University, California) indicates dead celebrities are more popular than live ones and any unsolved mystery about the gruesome murder of a pretty young female is a sensation”. 

It is the media’s duty to inform us on disheartening events that are occurring across the world but tabloids, in particular magazines, tend to over exaggerate the promotion of death and suffering for commercialised purposes. 24/7 news have enabled tragic events to be publicised instantaneously often prioritised in news features for their ‘special-ness’ as they evoke interest questioning society’s sense of morality, ‘murders, disasters and car accidents are chief among the headlines. Death and loss is sensational. It is entertainment’’.

These events are often broadcasted in a frame that resonates “triumph over disaster”  to reduce the shock factor presented and try to establish a positive element to the story when it is far from that. The media company’s are more concerned with society’s reaction to these stories rather than the coverage of the incident itself, hence the increase in public mourning which is often fuelled and amplified by the media. Individuals who normally express grief behind closed doors are becoming less common, rather people are uniting in mass to express loss to further emphasise the tragedy of the event.

This can be seen in a number of occasions but in particular the terrorist attacks in Paris last year. Technology has allowed public mourning to transcend all platforms. On Facebook individuals were encouraged to change their display picture to the French colours to indicate respect and mourning although it resulted to nothing in terms of actual financial or health support but it made us feel good right? Like we were making a difference. Through social media platforms tragedy is a 24/7 reminder and a key promotional tool. By supporting those affected businesses can increase their positive brand image. Major corporations place emphasis on this tactic knowns as ’cause-related’ marketing such as KFC supporting Breast Cancer Australia, it shows they are concerned and morally aware but in reality a level of it is fuelled towards their own financial and ethical gains.

Death is not the only melancholy subject promoted for personal gain, poverty is present in reality and continually amplified through marketing platforms. Evidently it is the charities themselves that often resort to emotive tactics such as celebrity endorsements to enhance their brand image and gain further donations. This was seen when Jack Black was brought to tears meeting a homeless Ugandan boy when representing the Charity ‘Red Nose Day’. At the beginning he promised he wouldn’t cry but proceeded to later in the video. This evokes empathy from the audience making them more inclined to donate as a familiar face is endorsing the charity increasing their level of trust. To an extent, however I believe Jack Black expressing ‘real’ emotion was a deliberate promotional tactic of the charity as it resonates ‘true’ human qualities. This is reinforced by studies which suggest judgments to personally help were positively related to pity… it appears that, in situations that are less emotionally arousing, there may be a direct relation between attributions and helping“.  Reiterating the use of emotive tactics gains pity from the audience thus increasing their willingness to donate because they feel guilty and obliged to.

As humans our common response to this continual advertising of death and tragedy is empathy, we begin to place value and emphasis on our loved ones and living conditions but in turn we are recognising ourselves rather than the issue at heart, therefore does that make us selfish or grateful? This is where the lines become blurred. In a sense ignoring it makes us naive to the situation but promoting it also questions our intentions for personal gain. Death and tragedy cannot be escaped but I do believe we can recognise it without making a promotional spectacle out of it.

Selling our identity through a selfie

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Source    There’s more to life than the iconic selfie

It is believed that selfies have created a narcissistic society, Premuzic states “Showing-off has never been easier, and ironically, more celebrated”. Through celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Kayne West the acceptance of self-promotion and shallow views have become widely acknowledged and distributed across various social media sites like Facebook and Instagram often being accompanied by a shameless selfie. As fans we pine over their lifestyles trying to replicate their choices whether based on food, fashion or even opinions aiding towards self-delusion and loss of identity.

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Source  One of Kim K’s more controversial and revealing selfies posted on Instagram

I for one am someone who loves a shameless-selfie, my Instagram account is full of them and if selfies weren’t widely promoted by others particularly those with status I probably wouldn’t post them either. Premuzic emphasises that we are more connected than ever but careless about other people, only concerned with their opinions of us. We waste time as a society capturing the perfect angle of our dinner that night, or roaming around our home for the ‘best’ lighting for our selfie, let alone the wasted minutes we dedicate in choosing the perfect filter and layout for our Instagram account ensuring there is a decent percentage of food, friends, fashion, travel and selfie images. We want to appear like we live a decent lifestyle even though a majority of us are broke university students often chained to a computer trying to meet that final deadline.

Evidently it begs the question are selfies controlling our image or losing control of it? To me selfies regardless of location or purpose are impacting on our identity. We are losing control of who we are and basing our images on the way we want others to perceive us. We are creating our own personal facade, its an escape mechanism and a way for us to redefine our lifestyles.

Hanna Kransnova of Humboldt University Berlin and co-author of ‘Envy on Facebook’ states “A photo can very powerfully provoke an immediate social comparison, and that can trigger feelings of inferiority. You don’t envy a news story”. As an Instagram user we often see ourselves in competition with our friends, our selfies are controlling us through our need for continuous self-promotion furthering us from reality and ourselves.

Status is no longer based purely on wealth or knowledge but rather popularity on social media aiding towards a hierarchy determined by visibility and attention, as reiterated by Alice E. Marwick author ‘Leaders and followers: Status in the Tech Scene’. This self-illusion is even witnessed in the technological scene of San Francisco. Individuals are more than willing to promote their vacations, exclusive events and perceived wealthy status achieved through their occupations rather than admit their often average income to their followers.

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Charlie Baker  was a regular girl until she shared her passion for fashion and art on Instagram soon gaining a name for herself and over 450,000 followers

Tidenburg and Cruz, authors of ‘Selfies, Image and the Re-making of the Body’ make an important point when they state “Images play an important role in how we experience being in the world and increasingly, due to the ubiquity of online interaction, how we ‘shape’ our world”. The iconic selfie is no longer a simple ‘self-portrait’ it enables us to redefine how we are presented to friends, family and society. The selfie owns us, and coincidentally once posted it is owned by the world-wide web. Conclusively it is clear we no longer have control of our true identity to an extent because we have become more interested in how society views and perceives us rather than how we view ourselves.