Death to Dead Women In Ads!

by Hallie Marks

You know that sexy, passive, voiceless woman, the one you see daily? She’s always selling something, and you can’t tell if it’s the products she’s surrounded by or herself. Not sure who I’m talking about? She’s in thousands of ads that we see every day; she is nearly every woman in advertising. One of the most extreme cases of female passivity being portrayed in the media is as a dead woman. Women often become objects or sums of their parts: breasts, legs, feet, lips, or any individual body piece. Worse, sometimes their entire being is objectified, turning it into a lifeless body. When we see images such as these, we don’t often react because they have been so normalized. These images can be harmful to women and girls as well as men and boys, even if you don’t realize it. The subtle objectification and passiveness of women in ads can embed itself into the subconscious.

One woman, Lisa Hågeby, created a project called Stop Female Death In Advertising as her degree piece at Beckmans College of Design in Visual Communication. Lisa compiled a mass amount of ads containing images of dead women and encourages submissions at her site.

Hågeby theorizes that the reason for these images is the backlash due to a rise in female influence and independence in society. She notes that this is a historically recurrent issue and reaches out to those who create these commercial images and asks them to move away from this trend. Hågeby not only wants creators to stop featuring female death and passivity in ads, but for viewers to take note of such images and react appropriately, even though we have almost become desensitized to them.

Women: just like dead animals

Shop ’till ya drop, am I right?!

Many companies have the philosophy that advertisements are used to sell products, and the people in the ads cannot distract from that. This is a common point brought up concerning models on the runway: models are tall, skinny, and curve-less in order to not distract from the clothes. In essence, they become moving hangers. Though on some twisted level this makes sense, it dehumanizes women and turns their bodies into objects.

I didn’t realize gang-bangs were in this year too…

Women are beautiful, complex, and diverse. So can we please start portraying them as such in ads and the media? Kthx.

Thanks to

All images from

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