Cosmetics adverts tell women they’re inadequate

1.Advertising language tells women they are always below an imaginary standard: Dr Helen Ringrow

1. Advertising language tells women they are always below an imaginary standard: Dr Helen Ringrow

Advertisements for make-up encourage women to see themselves as flawed and needing to be fixed, according to a linguist at the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Helen Ringrow, of the University of Portsmouth, found the underlying theme in advertisements for women’s cosmetics was their bodies need constant work to fix problems including dry hair, lack of glow and poor skin.

She said: “The language used tells women their faces, hair and bodies are always falling below some imaginary standard. It makes women feel they’re never quite measuring up, never quite right.

“It also creates problems we never knew we had, such as selling us deodorant which makes our underarm skin tone appear more even.

“The multi-billion pound beauty business thrives on making women’s bodies appear to be a flawed commodity which cosmetics can fix.”

‘The Language of Cosmetics Advertising’ by Helen Ringrow

‘The Language of Cosmetics Advertising’ by Helen Ringrow

In addition to using sex and the promise of youthfulness to sell products, the industry’s advertising also relied heavily on scientific language.

While women are bombarded with claims about products, they may, of course, be sceptical about those, Dr Ringrow said.

Dr Ringrow, of the University’s School of Languages and Area Studies, released the results of her research in a book, ‘The Language of Cosmetics Advertising’, published by Palgrave.

Dr Ringrow’s research examined cosmetics advertisements in the French and English issues of Elle and Cosmopolitan magazines. Cosmopolitan magazine has a circulation of 280,000 in the UK, and 380,000 in France; Elle magazine has a circulation of 170,000 in the UK, and 380,000 in France.

2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Why is this article concluded with data about the circulation of two magazines? Why are these magazines singled out? Either make a point or not. Do not imply it by tacking data to the end of articles.

    • The two titles were the subject of Dr Ringrow’s study. Unfortunately that sentence was edited out of the original story. We will put it back in.

Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message

UoP News © 2017 All Rights Reserved