More ageism and sexism in advertisements

8 07 2009

Saw this ad for Ripolin Paint on Sociological Images.  Sociological Images, in the post, also points out some more ads that criticize and mock older women.

The images are not necessarily safe for work or lecture, so they are below the jump.


The ad not only reinforces the unattainable beauty ideal (perky, round, medium sized breasts) but also shows a general disdain for older women and their bodies.

Here’s an equally horrible one for Durex condoms, implying that old people are unattractive and sexually inadequate.  The demeaning attitude the ad takes toward the younger woman is also pretty disgusting.

gender-aging-durex-last-longerThe ads, unfortunately, aren’t surprising in a culture in which we are constantly told that our natural process of aging is somehow unnatural and unacceptable.


Whatever the age, I don’t think I have ever seen a person without parentheses on their face.  Yet, the ad somehow tries to convince us that a face without lines is “natural.”  Then, the ad assures us that the choice to use Botox will be a complete secret, encouraging women to view their natural facial lines as embarrassing and their “need” to use Botox as shameful.

Aging is not just treated as a nuisance, but often as a beast that must be fought.

ageist_ex3This product is not empowering as it might suggest.  The aging process is inevitable, a natural part of life.  No miracle cream is going to magically freeze us in time, and we are sure to feel disappointed and defeated in a society which treats older people and their bodies as unattractive and unacceptable.

Whereas the ageism and sexism in the first two advertisements is more obvious and blatant, we must look at the second two ads in order to understand how our culture permits and encourages such attitudes.  All four advertisements are ageist; all four reinforce patriarchal and unattainable standards of beauty.  Sadly, there are so many more similar ads out there.  Shaming has proven to be a quite successful advertising technique (especially with women).  By sending the message that we are flawed, advertisers seek to convince us that we somehow “need” their product to be socially acceptable.   Age is not a flaw, our lines are not flaws, and our physical appearance is not flawed.  Ads like these are just sickening.



One response

15 10 2009

The Durex condom ad does not depict old people as sexually inadequate, it suggests that the male reading the ad is sexually inadequate. That’s why he needs their product “Preforma” — to last longer.

And for the record Durex can have all the ads they want depicting old people with boils on their faces as unattractive or attractive and it won’t change a single man’s sexual attraction towards old people with boils on their faces.

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