In class we have discussed how the media doesn't single-handedly reflect society (like a mirror) but further distorts, exaggerates, and constantly redefines reality. Gill makes an important point when talking about how we classify images in the media as “positive” or “negative” and how complex these interpretations can be. He states, “The meaning of the image does not reside in the image itself but in its interaction or negotiation of the context in which it is produced and interpreted (34). On page 39 Gill presents the reader with a picture and a following caption that states, “positive female sexual autonomy or sexual objectification?” Ads often give us only a fragment of the feminist discourses displayed in the media, and the reader plays an active roll in generating and filling in the rest of the story.
Different interpretations of the ads can occur between different groups of people. Some might argue that diet pill ads for example, illustrate women in the 21st century to be individuals who uses their beauty to achieve power and independence. Because the woman in the ad below is the center focus of the ad, some would say that these diet pill ads are empowering and show women as being independent from their male counterpart and able to live a lifestyle of personal expression and happiness. In addition, because this female appears alone, some might use these women as examples to illustrate the importance of expression and how women don’t actually need men to make them feel “beautiful” or happy. On the contrary, I would argue these ads do something much different. These ads send a powerful message to women — that only the thin will be successful, happy, and in charge of their life.
Organizations like NOW (National Organization for Women) play an important role in recognizing and publicizing “the unrealistic beauty standards and gender stereotypes promoted by the media, Hollywood and the fashion, cosmetic and diet industries.” They have specifically done this by continuing to celebrate “Love Your Body Day.” Below is an example of a poster submitted to NOW to promote Love Your Body Day. Check out this link for more poster examples and information about Love Your Body Day!