Sex Sells

The image of what is “sexy” has evolved and changed over the years. If you go back in time, you can notice that the definition of sexy was women with curves, which showed that they were healthy and wealthy. Marilyn Monroe the most famous sex symbol of all time was a size 14. However, nowadays that definition has shifted and has reached a point where sexiness has become an image of a model with a perfect slim body that fits a size 2. Ads, books, pictures have shown women stereotypically as frivolous sexual objects and it is a well-known fact that “sex sells”.

For example, “Fifty Shades of Grey” was a New York Times bestseller and depicts the life of Christian Grey, a millionaire that is a dominant among other things, and signs a sex contract with miss Anastasia Steele in order for her to “please” him. This book has a succession of two other which go by the name “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed” which describe the various sexual encounters these two fictional characters have.  The movie was released in February 2015 and was awaited by billions of people. It was a huge success and made $569.651.467 worldwide.

Also, Game of thrones, an HBO series based on fantasy novels and premiered in 2011 features sex. Its first two seasons contained shocking sex scenes, incest, prostitutes and never-ending nudity.

Another example can be the Victoria Secret industry that hosts a lingerie fashion show every winter and show women modeling. One model is chosen each year in order to flaunt the “Million dollar bra” which is worth millions.

Many songs featuring sex exist such as “Ass like that” Eminem, “Lets talk about sex” Salt N’ Pepa, “Feeling myself” Beyoncé and the list goes on.
It is believed that children who watch films with sexual content have a tendency to start having sex at a younger age, have more casual sex partners and engage in unsafe sexual practices.

On a more local platform, Lebanese also advertise women with any given product, whether it’s an electoral ad, a clothing store’s ad or else.

Electoral Campaign Poster for Aoun's party.
Electoral Campaign Poster for Aoun’s Party.

This ad is a voting campaign with as a primary discourse “sois belle et vote” with next to it an attractive lady. The word “vote” is written in orange, which is the color of a political Lebanese party, led by General Aoun. Women are a selling product equal to the product they are advertising.
As a Lebanese woman who has lived abroad, seeing this being advertised and not having a reaction towards such offensive commercials is very heart-breaking. All women, and more precisely Lebanese women should be empowered and have a voice that matters rather than be good enough just for being beautiful. Ads, movies, posters, books, songs are degrading women nowadays and are showing them as inferior, unable and unworthy of a voice, of an act, or of a power. Women are shown as sexy objects because sex sells.
Advertising should be more related to daily life rather than a fantasy that creates very high standards for society.


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