Women feel ‘self-conscious’ and ‘objectified’ by female focused advertising, according to study

A recent study has revealed that most advertisements aimed at women make them feel ‘self-conscious’ and objectified.

The research, conducted by Attest, surveyed 1000 women across three separate age bands in order to determine women’s thoughts on female advertising.

59.2 per cent of the women surveyed felt well represented by female-focused adverts, but 50 per cent of women under 21 did not.

When asked how advertisements make women feel, self-conscious came out on top, with 36.2 per cent ticking that answer, followed closely by the word ‘positive’, which 35.1 per cent clicked. 

Other respondents added their own answers, including feeling overweight, exasperated, fat and sexualised.

When looking at women over 21, results showed they were particularly likely to respond to ads feeling ‘self-conscious’ and ‘objectified’ compared to women overall.

One respondent in the over 50 category said: “I feel they show too many young women and not enough over 55 women except for hygiene products.”

According to Attest, another women surveyed summarised:

“Represent women as real rather than an unachievable entity by displaying different body shapes sizes as well as professions.

“I’m sick of seeing the loving mother or skinny fitness girl in an advert and want to see people like me.”

“Women who aren’t perfect looking and want to excel in a career or simply have fun. That’s how adverts will change things.”

When asked to ‘name a brand that really ‘gets you’, Dove came out on top, with 93 mentions, significantly higher than the second most named, which was L’Oréal, closely followed by M&S and Nike.

The survey concluded: Most brands can do better, but it could be a lot worse.

Overall a majority of women do feel well represented by ads targeted at them, and many reactive positively or feel inspired by what they see.

However by still refusing to include a more diverse array of body types and contexts in most cases, many brands are alienating large swathes of their audience, needlessly making them feel self-conscious, and this is particularly problematic amongst Under 21s, who ought to be a coveted cohort.


Related Posts