Ads fortify toxic patriarchal norms

In the world of corporate, capitalistic greed, it’s a given that sex sells to the masses of individuals when they are aiming to appeal to the public through calculated advertising. This is an apt generalization for the majority of massive companies because any advertisement that convincingly implies a product will make a person more sexually desirable is bound to be successful.

In 2012, a condom advertisement endorsing “Durex XXL” surfaced that portrayed the image of a young, white woman’s mouth with bandages on the corners of her lips. Many of Durex’s ads include only images of specifically selected body parts of white women, including only the mouths or the lower halves of their bodies.

This misogynistic and Eurocentric portrayal of women constructs a poisonous standard of beauty that revolves around objectification and whiteness. A condom company producing images like these is indisputably problematic in that it endorses sexual violence against women, objectifies them as an outlet for male enjoyment and reinforces toxic, hypermasculine ideals.

An advertisement for condoms that features bandages on the corners of a woman’s mouth perpetuates the normalization of rape culture and only recognizes cisgendered, heteronormative relationships. It disregards the legitimacy and existence of sexual relationships that aren’t strictly heterosexual and of people who identify as nonbinary.

This product is hugely marketed to men with images of sexualized women when women also need access to safe forms of birth control and sexually transmitted disease prevention. The objectification that advertisements portraying the sexualization of women is perpetuated by the animalistic desires of the male gaze. By advertising a woman’s bandaged mouth or the lower half of her body, they suggest that the entire purpose of a woman is to act as a receptacle for male genitalia and undermines a woman’s humanity.

The concept of male fragility is constructed notably by these idealistic norms because they affect a man’s idea of self worth. It’s similar to the idea of societal expectations for women’s bodies to be thin, while also maintaining wide hips and large breasts, that causes internal crises of how women distribute their perceptions of value.

Images endorsing condoms for males possessing unreasonably large appendages that result in physical harm to women impose an innate male need for validation that can only be found through sex.

These condoms are marketed to men which develops a problematic frame of mind that men are conditioned to adhere to as they grow up.  Male supremacy manifests itself through advertisements like these because it produces a view of women in their minds where they value them based off of their uses and benefits to their masculinity.

It also gives rise to the delicate phenomena of male fragility because men require that validation from women in order to develop their own positive senses of self. Their fragile self-perception is dependent on the submission of women to allow them to feel powerful.

By means of recognizing these venomous norms and allowing a setting for societal growth, it’s important for us to deconstruct problematic images when we find them. Condoms aren’t remotely the only forms of media that implant destructive concepts and ideals in our mind without our consent or knowledge. Beauty isn’t determined by submission to men, specific body type, skin tone or any other beauty standard companies exploit to make money.

Every person’s individual beauty, accomplishments and validity are determined by the person. It is not the position of the media to instill a sense of insufficiency in them because everything is relative.