Our world today grows together with us in many ways. As technology spreads out, our world becomes high-tech. As fashion updates all the time, our world becomes modern. As generations change year by year, our world is reborn. But what made such changes? These are results of new products made by sellers and bought in the market by buyers. What made people buy such products? What is the main basis of buying such items? Is it by its quality? Is it by its quantity? Or maybe because of the way it is presented to the public? Yes, it is because of the advertisements. We can’t deny the fact that advertisements have made a big contribution to sellers and have brought great influences to the world. Having a big star or even a newbie in advertisements help selling products, it may be through their sellable faces, talents or simply their presence and humor.
Ads can be found in different ways. We can see them in newspapers, magazines, posters, fliers, televisions and even in billboards. The most visual form is billboards, not only because they are big, but also because there are a lot of them especially at downtowns. Of course, such ads are not just shown in the public in an instant, they go through the hands of many people that include the government and the society before they can be published. Why do they have to go through such processes? It is to make sure that everything that are published to the public are safe and do not violate any law anywhere.
But what are the side effects of these advertisements according to the society? One good answer is:
“We're just too gullible sometimes. Sometimes people just don't understand what they really need and don't need and as soon as they see some flash ad for a new TV or cell phone they will make a beeline dash to the local store to purchase the product, only to find it lying on the floor and covered with dust a few weeks later. If you really need/want some new product, you really shouldn't require an advertisement to alert you to that fact” (Ask)
For me, the greatest side effect is that these advertisements can influence people of any age, gender, and race. These ads might contain things or facts that can upset or even insult people because of its message or maybe because of how people take and understand it. They also show and influence people to use, follow or purchase such products that are not advisable for certain ages and genders. The most influential form of advertisements is TV commercials. Statistics show evidence how dangerous commercials are to people, specifically children.
“In 2009, the Nielsen Co. reported that children's television viewing had reached an eight-year high. Children ages 2 to 5 watched TV for more than 32 hours a week. Kids ages 6 to 8 spent 28 hours per week in front of the tube, most likely because they were in school, explains Nielsen” (Uzoma)
See how dangerous commercials are? These commercials influence children many things in a wrong time and place. But we can’t just prohibit children to watch TV since many things can also be learned by children. Maybe avoid them in watching commercials? Nah, that’s a hard thing to do since commercials come randomly.
But as I said, ads go through processes to check if it can be published, but why do some ads that violate rules are still shown? How did they pass the tests? Why aren’t they rejected? For example, this image from a company called ‘Budweiser’ that has beer as its selling product. This image shows a female adult, lying on the ground of bottle caps, maybe these details alone are okay, but then there’s more to it. The girl was 100% naked, meaning she’s naked from head to toe, and only the bottle caps, with the company’s logo on it, are covering her private body parts. And to think that she’s supposed to promote the beer product! Usually, people would look for the product, right? The other issue here is that the bottle of Budweiser beer is at between the girl’s legs. How perverted could that be? Was that image supposed to promote their product, or was it to turn on the viewers?
Clearly, they have violated some of the rules in advertising. In a certain reliable source, they have listed advertising policies, where in Budweiser have violated. And the policies that they have violated are:
- Partial Nudity and Nudity
- Gross Depictions
And together with these issues on advertisements, our main topic: “Human Sexuality” comes in. So, how de we define ‘Human Sexuality’ and how does this connect with the current issues of advertisements? Certain dictionary sites would say:
“Human sexuality is how people experience the erotic and express themselves as sexual beings; the awareness of themselves as males or females; the capacity they have for erotic experiences and responses.” (Human Sexuality)
But the church says:
“We recognize that sexuality is God's good gift to all persons. We believe persons may be fully human only when that gift is acknowledged and affirmed by themselves, the church, and society. We call all persons to the disciplined, responsible fulfillment of themselves, others, and society in the stewardship of this gift. We also recognize our limited understanding of this complex gift and encourage the medical, theological, and social science disciplines to combine in a determined effort to understand human sexuality more completely.” (The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church)
Both may have different meanings, due to conflict between Science and the Church, but this is what I have understood:
“Human Sexuality is a gift of ability from God on how people show or express themselves as sexual beings with responsibility and with discipline”.
Therefore, we are given the responsibility to show ourselves in a matter where everybody appreciates and accepts us. In relation to the advertisements, we should be responsible on what to show to the people for we can influence many people in many ways. Human Sexuality also teaches us to respect ourselves because our bodies are sacred for they are given to us by God; we should display our bodies to the people in a way that you yourself respect your own gift so that people will also show respect back to you. Like they say: “our actions reflect on our attitudes”, meaning, if we want respect from people, we should start from ourselves. Just like the girl in the picture, do you think that when she leaves her house everybody would look at her like a normal person? Of course not, they would either be disgusted or look at her as a sexual symbol; all these are because of what she shows about herself.
Just like what our parents usually teaches their children when they reach a certain age: “our bodies are to be respected, and they are only to be shared to our spouse”. Parents teach us to share ourselves, visual or physical, only to our future partners. The girl in the picture may not show any form of sexual act (yet), but she shows too much skin to the public just to endorse. This topic is not only about the ad that I saw, this is for all of the ads that contain things that are not suitable for all audiences. This is not to stop certain ads that show too much skin of a person, because there are products that really need to show off some skin. For example, lingerie products, they require to remove tops and bottoms to show the quality of their product. What I’m trying to say is, as long as you can take responsibility of you actions then there is not problem to it. The ones responsible of our actions are not our parents, nor our friends, nor the cops, nor the society, but us ourselves.
As a woman, I respect my own body because my body symbolizes the product of my parent’s love. If I were to share myself, it would be with someone I love, then I would pass on this lesson to my children and hopefully, this would influence many people. Once we make a mistake, we can never take it back. The only thing to do about it is to accept it and move on. Right now, you’re probably thinking that people learn from their own mistakes, right? But why do we have to make such mistakes when we can avoid doing them? Why wait to make it when we already know what happens next? It’s true that people become better men and women for others when they learn things in a hard way, but then we can become a lot better when we influence others in not doing mistakes.
But even you, whether you’re a man or a woman, our bodies deserve to be respected at all times. No one is requiring us to wrap ourselves too much; no one is requiring us to be super conservative, because it is up to us on how to dress ourselves. We have our own lives on our hands, but our bodies are not ours forever. We should learn, as soon as possible, the things that we should and should not do, because we are all professionals.
The world may have updated us through different exposures, but the world can never change the facts about our own sexuality. The world can change as much as it wants, but the world can never change us. The world changes because of us, the world’s future depends on us. It’s not really true that the children are our future, because even adults or even senior citizens can change the world by doing their own legacies that can live for a long time.