Over the years, advertisements have been a vital factor in the promotion of products and services. It is a pervasive phenomenon that generates income through marketing and at the same time, strengthens the business of selling and trade. On another basis, advertising lays the foundation of persuasion and influence as the subconscious grounds for the so-called purchasing power of its targeted consumers. With this notion promulgates the concept wherein media plays a fundamental role in relaying and disseminating these messages of sale and trade to a large volume of people. Indeed, advertising is not merely on the propagation of profits but as well as an artful presentation of merchandise, requiring the creativity and deep comprehension on the part of the advertising media.
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More than these, advertising has become an important channel to showcase and provide the basic needs, wants and desires in the day-to-day lives of the human entity. It has endowed comfort in acquisition either with the use of print, radio and television; even offering an opportunity to choose among the many variations and options of goods that will suit the buyer’s preferences. There lies the use of communication through advertising that also portrayed a role affecting the economic state of a certain nation.
However, in the decades of time undermines the different issues faced by advertising despite its effectiveness in sales and income generation, and even in bridging the gap between the person that has something to sell and the person that will gain the advantage upon purchase-for it has illustrated various societal issues, especially concerning women. Women have become subjects of negative conceptions in the presentation of this creative and persuasive venture that indeed requires profound analysis to further understand its meaning. Thus, women have continuously been undervalued perhaps severed by wrong images delivered by media itself.
The Axe Product Print Ads
The Axe brand of products has always been participative when it comes to issues concerning women-as the subject of its so-called “Axe Effect” since its target market is men. The cologne brand is blatant in showcasing various images of women that usually falls under censorship-for obscene body exposure, wherein men using Axe can instantly call the attention of women by its long-lasting, powerful and triggering fragrance-considered as the product’s selling proposition depicting that if men use Axe, they will always get what they want when in comes to women, and even sex.
As to this notion lies the portrayal of sexy, flirty or perverted ladies that may be seen in sensual and erotic scenes, more felt in television commercials. But, this kind of aura Axe represents is also manifested in other advertising forms, even in print ads as shown in this figure-an almost naked individual tempting men to cleanse her, where in fact the said body wash is really intended for men use. Her voluptuous and perfectly curved body seemed to be an appetizer in every man’s table, ready to be taken inside the bathroom as to where the product should be used, by what the background says and what the image tells it. Her hands are even positioned as if she is very much ready to take it off, for a more enticing shot and by just looking at it, one can draw lustful assumptions. The dirt covering her body can even penetrate another view, wherein women can be concluded as to either unclean or usually involved in filthy activities most especially when it deals with men. Furthermore, the tagline “Get Dirty” seemed to have supported this observation. It is also of personal interrogation as to what is really the significance of placing more emphasis on this lady’s dirty body rather than the shower gel product-for it seemed like the body is being advertised not the brand.
On another perspective, it is said that Axe also has a “turning nice girls naughty” factor as again brought upon by its advertisements  which is clearly seen in this picture. The said “Axe Effect” is being highlighted in this portrait of a nun, with a clip on her nose as if indicating a threat-a way of awareness to be cautious of what this cologne can do that might even go below the belt-and worst leading her to sin. The sad face shows remorse and regret from the opportunities she might enjoy if it happens that she is privileged to smell Axe. Perhaps there is an indication that she wants to at least take the clip off and experience humanly satisfactions that are clearly against her chosen devotion and vocation. This indeed has the greatest impact of Axe’s ideology in making women turn into something unusual, by having the religious image as its model for she is known of the highest form of nobility and goodness. Certainly, it is degrading on their part since they are usually perceived as holy and almost imperfect as implied by their religiosity and thus stereotyping is implicated.
Moreover, the picture used by Axe commercial opens another impression that women are more capable of sinning, regardless of what culture she belongs and what her role is in the society she lives. Culturally undertaken, men have more acceptable tendencies if in part they have committed sin whilst the women face more societal rage on her imperfections.
Women’s Advertising Images through the Decades: 1960’s
If one is to take a closer look in the first print ad, images of how the instant party doll is being used suggests that women are also seen as “toys” that can be brought anywhere, anytime. If this is an inflatable toy for party occasions, does it only have to be a female with a 40-20-40 statistics? Does that mean that only the men are allowed to be present in parties, and if not, why only make a female doll to be used as an object of fun? Mistakenly, the picture can be seen as a real lady exposing her perfectly-shaped body, seemingly creating a magical tone as she is being held by a magician. The second picture is likely seen as the scenario in the Biblical story of the first indulgence of man-with Adam, Eve and the advertised ham as the apple. The inscriptions held by the devil character, “To build a man trap: fill picnic basket with Underwood Deviled Ham sandwiches” manifests that women are the perpetrators of sin and the source of evil temptations which draws men to their sinful nature. Lastly, the third print advertisement connotes double meaning that is apparent in the inscriptions of “big” and “the first taste will tell you why”, wherein there lies to be a hidden agenda on the expression of the female representative towards a man who unrealistically carries a huge bottle of whiskey.
Women’s Advertising Images through the Decades: 1970’s
These stills describe change in the images of women through the years and somehow elicit proof in the context of how women are viewed from demure and simplicity to liberalism and sophistication. The first picture suggests that change as taken from the perfume’s copy “Things don’t happen the way they used to. But they still happen.” It is somehow supported by the picture making the act of kissing a usual activity that can be done anywhere or anytime, most especially if this particular scent is being used letting women fall helplessly unto the hands of men. The second image educes class and style that can be seen by the women’s status quo; but at the same time also manifests dependence on vices like smoking, alcohol as indicated by the statement “I know the honeymoon was over when he stopped ordering me Chivas Regal.” and even men. In line also with the cigarette commercial, the third print advertisement signifies men and cigarettes as again the object of desire among women. What is alarming is the “No woman ever says no to Winchester.” which either points to the product or the men in general; where the women in different races are of no exception and also allowing polygamy as natural activity.
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Women’s Advertising Images through the Decades: 1980’s
The advent of color made the advertising medium a more creative and effective means of persuasion. Unlike the other years, the 1980’s welcomed a more improved look on print advertisements when in comes to picture and physical quality. However, underlying messages concerning women continue to rise as with the years to follow.
The first image again showcased skin and body that can now have an effect on both the male and female consumers. The same goes with the third picture, that even if there is a more emphasis on the acceptance of having cigarette smoking as a feminine activity, the concept of being slim and sexy both conveys to the female market. Thus the idea of being thin and skinny-both portrayed by the tanning and cigar brands-somehow inculcates a definition of perfection that permit the female viewers to imitate what they see. Meanwhile, the second still reflects discrimination; however no gender biases can be justified since the product is directed towards women. Initially, the primary concern points to the dignity of the worker, painstakingly shoveling the raw material in order to make the final product, and the efforts seemed to be underrated and degraded by her own kind as three legs insensitively stood over her. Racial and color preconceived notions are also taken emphasis.
Findings and Conclusions
Although television is considered as the most effective medium in advertising, this study values the role of print medium as a primary source in conveying different messages that of which the general public is concern. However, despite television’s efficiency, the main grounds of women’s issues do not merely lie on the medium use alone, but of how women are being portrayed and presented. Among these images of women in different time capsules, it is generally concluded that they have become subjects of sexual desires and seductions, although it is not yet fully apparent in the early days, because at some point, women are viewed to be an artificial matter compared to the naturalness of men  , as more portrayed in the fashion scene. This is an obvious indication among presented Axe print advertisements that despite it is directed towards men, there seems to be an unnatural association of women as further seen in the early days of print advertisements although it is not obviously implemented. There seemed to be an urge for domination over men but it is somewhat hidden under a visual portrayal of men as having a more pleasurable gain-as if they are the constant desire in every woman’s dream.
Aside from this, women have continually been affected by their own representation in the media when it comes to weight and health issues. It is mostly indicated that images of being thin and sexy have constantly influenced and replicated the post-modern age of women making them vulnerable victims of bulimia and anorexia  , as most studies have resulted. On another light, the historical factors have contributed on the issue of discrimination that either involves different groups and sectors of women.
Overall, women’s image have been regarded as an important and powerful attribute  to the advertising world as to why it continues to suffer in the real world and living, as an effect in the media’s representation of them.
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