Questioning social norms

Eye-opening event leaves students shocked

Nudity, sexualization and dehumanization left students feeling shocked at Ferris’ 2017 Women’s History Month lecture.

“Sexism and Gender-Based Violence in Print Advertising” was presented by Ferris social work professor Kathryn Woods Tuesday, March 21, at the University Center. Woods showed students some of the subtle and obvious messages that are portrayed in print advertising.

“It’s 2017. We should be past this by now,” said Ferris human resources management senior Victoria Mason.

Students could walk around the room and see advertisements of half-naked women, dead women and women being assaulted in hopes of selling products such as shoes, purses or perfumes.

“Who’s going to buy this?” was a question that many Ferris students asked throughout the presentation.

Foods informed students on the Sexual Violence Continuum, a pyramid that shows the basis to sexual violence and the stages that sexual violence can lead to.

“I find it problematic to hierarchically say that sexual assault or sexual abuse is less traumatic or less problematic than rape,” Woods said.

While some students were not surprised with how much society has desensitized the dehumanization and assault of women in advertising, the presentation left many shocked.

Ferris advertising and integrative marketing communications junior Lucas Gillis was one student who said he didn’t understand how society was okay with how women are portrayed in advertising but wasn’t okay with same-sex, interracial couples in advertising. Gillis is the vice president of the Advocacy and Education for Gender Identity and Sexuality (AEGIS), and he claims to feel strongly about this issue.

“’Oh no, it’s controversial,’ but who deems that as controversial whereas these pictures of dead women or women essentially getting raped is OK?” Gillis said.

Students admitted to feeling ashamed of their society for being unaware of the issues in print advertising.

This event was hosted by the Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS).