Consumption Ideology Constructed on Body and Sexualization in Kids Wear Advertisements

Consumption Ideology Constructed on Body and Sexualization in Kids Wear Advertisements

Rabiya Saltık (İstanbul Kavram Meslek Yüksekokulu, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5733-3.ch021
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In this chapter, children's advertisements are problematized. The victims of advertisements are not only adults but also children. The identities of girls and boys, those used in children's clothing advertisements, are worrying because in these advertisements girls and boys are separated from their children identities and identified according to their sexual roles as men and women. The chapter makes a semiology analysis of an advertisement and reveals the identity of the child who became a sexual commodity.
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Children are the live messages we send to a time we will not see. (Neil Postman)

The era that we live in, advertising has become an integral part of our lives. In addition to advertising on radio and television, newspapers or new media, streets and even public transport became advertisement space; our daily lives have been circulated by advertisement boards and live screens. Today it can be conveniently said the entire human life is shaped by the advertising industry.

Consumption is a dynamic process that encompasses all segments of the society, regardless of age, gender, material status or social class. In postmodern era, consumption which is not regarded as meeting a need by people; not only on adults, but also on children who will create the future of the society, is effective. The most important instrument for sustaining consumption ideology is undoubtedly advertising industry that surrounds every part of our life. Advertisements that ensure to capitalist values to continue, serve the current system; not only the adults, but also the children are targets in advertisements which are constituted for increasing the consumption. The advertising industry does not only promote children to consumption when advertise products that they meet children needs like eating-drinking, entertainment or clothing; but also serve to reproduce the capital order raising a loyal consumer group. When it comes to children, the advertising industry, which is supposed to act responsibly; harm children with the advertisements that look after capitalist benefits.

Many ethical values ​​are ignored in the advertisement for children in order to increase consumption. Especially, the problem shows up with the generations who indigenise the dominant sexual roles, eliminated from child identity, become “miniature adults” by child actors who are used in kids wear advertisements. Kids wear advertisements which position girls and boys as men and women, do not hesitate to attack the child's body and even use those bodies as a sex object. The impact of this situation on children's mental, physical and psychological health is not important for the industry.

In the scope of the study, the consumption society and the consumption ideology which constructed through advertising, will be discussed firstly. Right after children’s advertisements, their effects on children and the form of construction body and sexuality as the main problem in children’s advertisements. Finally, the body and sexualization problems in children's advertisements will be examined through the “Children with the Style” commercial film which is recently released by the Koton brand and recommendations for the problematic area will be listed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Miniature Adults: A definition used for children who look like adults.

Sexualization of Childhood: Removing children from their children identities and positioning as sexual stereotypes as men and women.

Sexualization: Positioning a person with only a sexual identity.

Semiotics: A science that researches the indicators.

Consumption of Body: The body becomes a commodity to be consumed.

Institutional Pedophilia: A definition used for the advertising concept that exploits the child's body.

Advertisement: Promotions to increase the sales of a good or service.

Consumption Society: The term used for modern societies and expressing that these societies are increasingly being regulated around the consumption situation.

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