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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s Center Hosts a Conversation About Women in Commercial Advertising

Gabriel Sanchez




‘Consciousness-raising’ is not dead. The concept is based on an idea of the group New York Radical Women, initially proposed in 1967, in which the participants present their own experience of oppression as a woman, thus raising the consciousness of all.

The ‘60s style talks have taken place at nearly every event this fall hosted by the UMass Boston Women’s Center. In the most recent, on Nov. 30, the conversation entitled “Maybe We’re All Just Fine” concerned the way women are presented in advertising.

Jillian Ferreira, the Women’s Center coordinator, led the meeting. Ferreira presented advertisements that illustrated the use of women’s bodies, and directed attention to the important points raised by the women in the ensuing discussion.

“The women in these advertisements, they’re always in competition with each other,” Ferreira said. “The message is, ‘Be the only one he’s looking at; be the prettiest.’” She also said that in many ads “getting attention replaces getting respect.”

The group found that some of the images presented were violent as well as objectifying. A Mr Leggs ad from 1970 depicted a woman turned into a rug, with a man standing over her and stepping on her head.

The caption read “It’s nice to have a girl around the house.” In another ad from 2007, models of Dolce and Gabbana clothes appeared to be committing gang rape.

“It’s really hard,” said senior philosophy major Corrine Jager. “There is the temptation to tell yourself, ‘That’s not me. I would never allow myself to be so dominated.’”

Still, Jager believes that the event was beneficial for the students who attended. “It might leave everybody angsty and infuriated by these things,” she said, “but it’s empowering to be able to see through sexism in the world.”

About the Contributor
Gabriel Sanchez served as editor-in-chief for The Mass Media the following years: 2013-2014; 2014-2015; 2015-2016