In our most recent COETAIL class, we discussed the different visual aspects of websites and how people process information visually.Visual literacy, which according to Wikipedia is, “the ability to make meaning from information presented in the form of an image.”
This ties in nicely with some of the information my students are presently studying in health class, in particular the impact of media and advertising on the perception of sexuality and male/female roles and relationships. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that sex sells. Unfortunately, some recent ads indicate that misogyny, violence, eating disorders, suicide, and a variety of other unhealthy (dare I say it, immoral) ideas also sell.
I would guess that each of the images above evoke some kind of feeling, emotion or response in your brain.
When the Dolce and Gabanna ad was first released, it evoked such emotion that it resulted in the ad being banned in Spain (followed soon after by Italy, France, and a host of other countries not usually known for their prudish social values), prompting the fashion designers to rail on Spain for being “behind the times.”
This is not, of course, a new phenomenon. Some classics from the past include…
Even my 9th graders can see the problem with the message behind many of these advertisements. And the obvious question they ask is, “Then why do advertising companies do this?”
Unfortunately, and for a variety of reasons, it works.