Andrew Maxey



May 13, 2020

                                 The Detrimental Effects Advertisements Have On Women’s Self Esteem

   The purpose of this essay is to shed light on the detrimental effects advertisements have on women’s self

esteem and body image. Advertisers create an obscured, unrealistic view of the ‘ideal

woman’ which leads to their futile search for an unreachable beauty standard.

    The first example given exerts that women who appear in advertisements are often grossly thinner than

the vast majority of women are in reality.  This sets an unfair ‘bar’  as the images used for such ads are

‘doctored’. To illustrate, Cindy Crawford is quoted as saying: “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” indicating

her own awareness of the inauthenticity of her own image. A photo editor for the magazine ‘Lucky'[Ken

Harris/ n.p] admitted that photos are ‘touched up’ as much as thirty times. This process renders the original

image of the body or face unrecognizable, compared to the original. As the female consumer is unaware of

such deceitful methods, she is determined to exert all her time and effort in pursuit of something that is


    The second example utilized, rendering further proof of the detrimental effect of misogynistic ads, is the

increase in cosmetic surgeries and non-surgical beauty procedures.  Botox and breast implants, for example,

have seen a sharp increase within the decade of 1997-2007. From a little over two million to almost twelve

million cosmetic procedures were performed during this time, which is a 457% increase in one decade. What

does this increase indicate? That such ads have a definite, unhealthy effect on the psychological well being of

women.  To further reinforce this conclusion, A study by Marika Tiggerman and Belinda McGill, after measuring

the mood and satisfaction levels of  participants, stated: “exposure to either body part or full body images led

to increased negative mood and body dissatisfaction while the amount of comparison processing was affected

by both image type and instructional set.”[ The Role of Social Comparison in the Effect of Magazine

Advertisements on Woman’s Moods and Body Dissatisfaction pp 23]

    In conclusion, women’s damaged self-image due to enhanced advertisers images leads to dissatisfaction

with themselves, as individuals, and an obsession with frustrating efforts to obtain the unobtainable. To

combat this scourge, women should be aware of these negative effects and focus on character qualities that

truly make a person’ beautiful.’