Women in Advertising: Then and Now

US advertising agency The Ludlow Group posted a great comparison of sexist vintage advertising to current ads that still have a long way to go.



This Miller Lite ad acknowledges how ridiculously sexist it is by including female characters who are visibly disgusted by the whole scenario. As Feminist Frequency points out, this ironic approach to sexism is popular among advertisers: “It’s really the normalization of sexism through the use of irony. It’s the ‘they know that I know that they know, that they’re being sexist.’”

Does acknowledging that you’re being sexist make it more okay? Or is it just a cop-out to continue using women’s bodies to sell products?

See The Ludlow Blog for more examples from the past and present Sexism In Ads: Then And Now.

A New Wave of Media Activism

The campaign to challenge harmful depictions of women in the media is picking up steam. CNN reports:


Amid the noise, modern-day watchdogs are emerging online and behind the camera to create their own brand of fast-tracked social activism. Documentaries like Miss Representation and the America the Beautiful series start discussions on the big screen and drive audiences to social media to keep it going.

“We’re part of a larger movement that’s been ebbing and flowing over time. But what I think is propelling us is the fact that people are fed up,” Siebel-Newsom said. “They know media is everywhere, and it’s communicating hyper-sexualized, pornified images at an unprecedented rate, and they’re fed up with the status quo.”


Read the full story on CNN.com: Sex, Lies and Media: New wave of activists challenge notions of beauty.

Miss Representation Screening Shows Women are Still Being Left out of the Debate

Women are still being left out of the debate!

This was obvious at the February 29, 2012, screening of MissRepresentation, presented by Media Action and the Carleton and National Chapters of Equal Voice at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

Joining us were several Members of Parliament, including Michelle Rempel, Mylène Freeman, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Judy Foote, Judy Sgro, and Elizabeth May. Ottawa Councillor Diane Deans also attended, and all spoke movingly after the film.

Such a large audience suggested not that the battle hasn’t been won, but simply that the campaign for equality continues. Indeed, the movie’s message was clear: “In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader.”

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics shook the audience and armed them with a new perspective. Following the screening, Media Action officially launched its Rant contest, asking women to offer up a rant on camera, in two minutes or less, about whatever media message, trend, program, or commercial bugs them!

Our job at Media Action is to keep up the pressure on broadcasters, regulators and advertisers to eliminate gender stereotypes. It is to work with media across Canada to ensure that the voices, images and concerns of all Canadian women and girls are accurately and fairly reflected. It is, above all, to educate Canadians on issues surrounding media sexism.

Speaking of “the debate”, we hope you’ll participate in our Video Rant Contest across Canada! We’re giving away great prizes! The winner will receive an iPad2, and two finalists will receive either a Smart Phone or an iPod! See this page for more details.