Advertising Strikes Again

By Lauren Eiten, NOW Field Intern

It is my first day at NOW. I have been waiting for this day since I heard I got the internship. I am armed with topics and ideas, but none of them seem good enough for my first blog post. So like any other twenty-something I take to the Internet. I want to write an uplifting piece about loving one’s self. Disclaimer: This is not that piece. Like any other twenty-something, I am easily distracted when on the Internet, and I stumble upon a whole different issue.

Love yourself. Sounds simple and complex all at the same time but fear not WikiHow has 10 simple steps for you to love yourself better. While I don’t have a problem with Wiki’s tips, I do have a problem with the ads on the page. Immediately, after step 1, “Treat others with love and respect,” appears an ad for relationship advice directed only at women entitled “Why Men Pull Away-10 Ugly Mistakes Women Make That Ruins Any Chances of a Relationship.” Oh, the irony. As if that is not offensive enough, there are two more ads at the end of the article. One entitled “Make Him Addicted to You” and the other offered symptoms for depression, which leads the reader to believe that only sad, depressed women are interested in loving themselves. Why is that? Do men already love themselves? Do they not care to love themselves better? Or are they born and raised in a society that accepts and loves them already and that should be enough for them?

Not only is it offensive that the male-dominated advertising world assumes only women need to love themselves better, but the ads themselves are just plain offensive. I would not be as put off if the ads were for shoes or clothes. Honestly, I probably would not have even noticed. It is, however, hard to ignore these ads. The fact that women need to change or to avoid certain behaviors to keep a man seems contradictory to a page dedicated to loving oneself better.

While this may not be as glaring as a problem as other issues, the problem lies in its subtlety. It lies in the fact that no one in the male-dominated advertising world was trying to be offensive, but that they just didn’t think about it. Before there can be a change in society there needs to be a change in thinking. That is what is so damaging from these ads. It perpetuates the idea that a woman can only really love herself if she catches a man and changes to keep that man.

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