Does Sex Sell?
READ THE LATEST VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE (HAS BEEN UPDATED AND REPUBLISHED - 02/2015)
We all have heard the term: "Sex Sells." It's true. We like looking at "attractive" people, but what does it mean to be attractive? Whether they are a little over weight, tall, skinny, dark hair, light hair or anything in between is besides the point it's that we find them attractive, well groomed, or well dressed that we tend to Clammer toward. A Clammer is a marine crustacean that burrows into the depths, which is also how we got the term clammer, or to dig. So let's dig into this topic, shall we?
Violence verse SexIf you study advertising on a global scale you will notice that in Europe sex is a fact of life, but that violence is frowned upon. In Northern America, we are the polar opposite of this trend (though the tides seem to be turning more and more), where violence is in every movie, child's game and book. That doesn't mean that either form of this broadcasting duality is appropriate or amoral, but let's explore the idea of cognitive thinking and how this effects our thought process.
Cognitive thinking, in essence, is how a mind journeys from one thought to the next. The original version of this article was slightly different and part of an essay I wrote in college, you'll notice that it was originally published in 2010. The original article is from 2007. Yes, sex sells but it's not the only thing exploited for advertising dollars, money, beauty, violence, and adventure are all tools we use to explore feelings. This dichotomy has been going on for centuries.
The Subconscious Reaction to Broadcasting, a Cognitive Reaction
I'll save you the trouble of looking up the big words in my title. Social cognition is a term that I learned in my junior psychology class. Cognition is the scientific term for "the process of thought" to knowing. Basically when you see an object, hear a sound, or start telling a story cognition is the process of remembering other pieces of that story.
Cognition is like a spider web of memory and when you remember one thing you often remember another and another. On a deeper level cognition effects your feelings and decision making.
When you see a car coming you know that the object is probably faster than it appears, animals do not have this common sense. You also know that if someone lies to you, you may or may not be able to trust them. You have a memory of them lying to you and how that made you feel or react.
So how does Social Cognition relate to Victoria's Secret, Violence, or SEX?
Think about the last few times you watched a movie with a villain. You probably didn't have very much sympathy for that villain, did you? Think about if that villain was a violent person, a rapist, or a murderer. What feelings did the villain's actions provoke? Towards the end did you hope that person disappeared, was locked up or worse yet, murdered themselves? The way that movies and the media skew our views can sometimes devalue life, our personal image, or time.
Think of the pictures in Victoria's Secret. How many women look like that? I know I certainly do not look like a Victoria's Secret model. I'm not tall enough, thin enough or symmetrically shaped like a barbie doll. In college I may have had abs, but have spent much of my time since then missing them. I'm not saying I think I'm the ugly duckling or even trying to have a pity party, simply pointing out how these images raise or lower the standard of morality.
Just food for thought. I'm not a feminist. I'm not against them either. Just someone, who wonders how our marketing tactics effect things like small girls with anorexia, the columbine incident, or the war in Iraq. I'd love to read your feedback on here or on my twitter account.
Photo Credit Victoria's Secret Magazine
Photo Credit My Painting for Sale
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Originally publish 1/1/2010, additions made 2/8/2015