We are constantly bombarded with advertisements every day. The human eye is exposed to over 2,000 (SJ Insights, LLC, 2017) adverts a day. This, in turn, can have an effect on how women perceive themselves and others. Women’s bodies are sexually objectified through the media especially print advertisements. Sex sells and this is advertisements agencies use this to their advantage when marketing advertisements. Girls who are exposed to advertisements which sexually objectify the female body can have an internal effect on their body standards which in turn can have psychological effects.
I will discuss Carl’s JR a fast food company that advertised their burger analysing this print advertisement in relation to semiotics.
Types of Signifiers
Pierce (Peirce,1902) theory discusses the three forms of signs:
The icon is the image itself. The depiction of the women holding the burger has connotations associated with the phrase, this is the concept of the event.
The representation of the image is the women holding the burger while her body is being objectified. Furthermore, the composition of the body and the burger are associated with the quotation.
The symbol of this advertisement is that the bigger the burger the better. However, it is also associated to sexual reference. However, without the advertisement of the burger consumers may associate this image with page 3 newspapers.
The paradigmatic relationship in this image begins with the use of the burger and the association of the phrase emphasising the sexual content of the advertisement. The use of the black car in the background creates a more seductive ambience. Furthermore, the model’s hair swept back gives us fewer distractions thereby enabling the viewer to focus on the body as an object. The focus is intended to be on the product which is the burger, however, the body is emphasised more even though there are two images of the product. Additionally, the advert is signifying that fast food is more appealing than the women’s body.
Syntagmatic related signs
The associate with the language and sexual references is driven by the sexual objectification of the woman’s body. The quote used “She’ll tell you size doesn’t matter. She’s lying” is in reference to the burgers connotation.
However, there is a sexual innuendo towards the size of a male’s manhood. Furthermore, the quote indicating “It’s going to get messy” has another sexual reference. This advert is advertised for western society. This advert would not be accepted in the United Arab Emirates. The different cultural values can depend on what is legally permitted to be advertised in what country.
Narratives and Myths within our culture
The narrative of this advert is the advertising of the product portraying the burger to be palatable for the viewers. The advertisement illustrates to the viewer that the burger is more desirable than the woman’s body. This advertisement for Carl’s Jr presents that within our western culture the size of a portion of food matters. The connotations associated with this advert is the size of a male’s manhood.
A campaign launched against Carls Jr called “CUTTHECARLS” demanding the company end their sexist commercials which sexually objectify women’s bodies.
Women’s bodies are objectified every day through various media outlets. When women’s bodies are used as a mere object no one wins. As a society, we must not feed into the buying and consuming of these adverts that sexually objectify women’s bodies.
Fashionbi.com. (2017). Controversial Fashion Campaigns – How far is too far?. [online] Available at: https://fashionbi.com/newspaper/controversial-fashion-campaigns-how-far-is-too-far [Accessed 13 Apr. 2017].
SJ Insights, LLC. (2017). New Research Sheds Light on Daily Ad Exposures. [online] Available at: https://sjinsights.net/2014/09/29/new-research-sheds-light-on-daily-ad-exposures/ [Accessed 13 Apr. 2017].
Peirce, C.S., 1902. Logic as semiotic: The theory of signs.