The Continued Absurdity (Obscenity?) of American Advertisements

American clothing advertisements are absurd. The driving logic of American marketing seem to be: 1) Use sex to sell everything – and I mean everything.


2) Hypersexualilze women in ads. To see just how stark gender differences are in this regard, check out Business Insiders side by side ads for unisex clothing ( To highlight the absurdity of women’s poses, BI has a man duplicate an advertisement by American Apparel.



Amusing? Perhaps. A call to action? Definitely. Corporations do respond to public pressure, especially if their brand is at risk. Disney backed off its Merida makeover in the wake of public protest. Perhaps if there was more push back against how women’s bodies were used in ads, things would begin to change – and not just in advertising. Image


About Double take Sociology

I am a professor of sociology at Florida State University. I research (and write about) social movements, mass media and politics. My new book is "Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America" (2015, Cambridge University Press). Be sure to visit my website at!
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