Since the dawn of time women have been depicted as sex objects. The diverse forms of media and advertising continue to project women as sex appeal symbols. Women are put on display like pieces of commodities or ‘marchandise’. The only variance is that the sexually-oriented depictions of women in advertising and media have contemptibly become more open than before. It is a notorious fact that “sex sells”. One can say that it sells like peanuts. The more nudity or sexual reference depicted, the greater the sales generated in an exploitative and profit-driven media industry.
Despite all the efforts made to address this problem by Gender Links and partner organisations, such as Media Watch some years back, the problem persists. Media Watch had in 2004 assisted with the withdrawal of several offensive advertisements but for some reasons we do not hear these organisations any more, at least not on this issue. Have they been silenced or do they not consider this asproblematical anymore?
Travelling on the bus to the university everyday, I cannot stop asking myself the question “why women, despite being often excluded from work, which is generally regarded as men’s work, are nevertheless used as marketing tools to promote ‘man stuffs’. A typical example is the billboard advertisement “Makita Power Tools Professionals at work” at Venus, Port-Louis.
The woman’s sex appeal is clearly visible but there is no way that tools will become Super Tools if a woman promotes them.
Newspaper ads such as the Dragon Electronics Bellisimadepicting an attractive woman in the foregroundwith a provocative pose, cladin a tight-fitting dress, with a very low décolletage, with her breasts in the limelight. Interestingly, the household appliances being advertised are in the background.
As long as women will continue being used as ‘sexual objects’, it will be very difficult to get rid of patriarchy andsome of the weakest forms of masculinity expression associated with it-such as rape and violence.Such exploitation is unacceptable-45 years of Independence and we are still not free…I only wish that those who speak of values night and day especially the male-dominated socio-cultural groupscould assist in putting an end to this state of affairs.Their daughters, sisters and mothers are also at risk!