Media is one of the most interesting, yet the most dangerous inventions people have created so far. Being a great tool for information, or education, it also plays a destructive role of the conscious of those who constantly view the messages which are conveyed through various types of media. Media constantly addresses such influential messages through advertising. Advertising is one of the ways which using psychological, linguistic, and visual techniques that create the need for a specific product and make us buy it. Among the different ways of creating the need, the contemporary marketers have found that the sexual imagery is the best-selling technique, which equally works for both genders. This essay aims to determine the usage of sex and sex appeal in advertising, as well as discuss its effect of the population.
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In her essay Joyce Garity (2003) discusses the issue of extreme sexual exposure on TV. Today, sexual appeal is used by most commercials, TV-programs, videos, films, etc. Being the part of the self-image, which is extremely important in today’s society, sex appeal is evaluated as the expression of superiority, success and popularity. Striving towards looking or acting like their favorite star, only suggests the support of their individuality and social status among the others. In such a way it is obvious how the marketers create the need in us to buy their product, so we could look “Just like her!”
However, beauty is not the only aspect that is touched by the issue of sexuality on media. The messages, conveying their meaning, alter the perception of young minds regarding the sexual life. Not only casual sex becomes more and more available as a lifestyle, children learn and try sex previously to when they learn about the responsibility and the risks it implies.
In such a way, both adult and young mind get affected as the result of the marketing approach to use sex as the sales technique. Adults are fantasizing about becoming their idol, as they perceive that acquiring similar image they will acquire everything that is implied in the message. They trust the message and start to believe that with these jeans every man would want to date me, and be with me. Children are also brainwashed by the sexual messages they see on the television. The author implies that due to the lack of appropriate Sex Education classes, children grasp the wrong meaning of the sexual relationship. Garity (2003) writes: “Studies show that by the age of twenty, 75 percent of Americans have lost their virginity”, implying that meaningless sex is normal. Both girls and boys are under a threat of getting pregnant or catching a VD because of the lack of knowledge about sex and its true meaning.
To sum up, sex in advertising can be viewed not only as a profitable technique for sales, but also as a weapon against human consciousness and exposure to less responsible lifestyle. On one hand, exposing the viewer to the freedom of expression sexual intimacy on the television teaches the population to be more accepting and tolerant to the social dynamics. On the other hand, overexposure to sex images causes the youth to behave carelessly in regards to the sexual and intimate relationships, distorting their perception of these terms. As a result, many individuals get trapped by striving towards “plastic” perfection refined by the computer programs to look ideal, others expose themselves to the risks of venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and lonely retirement due to random sexual life without any protection.