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Breakthrough, March 1976
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Breakthrough, March 1976 - Page 7. March 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 4, 2015. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4720.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(March 1976). Breakthrough, March 1976 - Page 7. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4720

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Breakthrough, March 1976 - Page 7, March 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 4, 2015, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4720.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Breakthrough, March 1976
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date March 1976
Description Vol. 1 No. 3
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 16 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 7
File Name femin_201109_515g.jpg
Transcript Ad image ad nauseam to women "I want your body. And I want it now." In an ad which appeared almost daily in Houston newspapers over the past several months, a young woman wearing a bathing suit displays her cleavage while she solicits a "body" - "to lose 25 pounds in 50 minutes." "I handle that account. I work directly with Mr. Norman Wells, the creator of the ad/' said Pat Nerrill, a Houston Post retail "i WANT YOUR BODY' IN $0 MINUTES ^£i*g£SSLi2si WsmlamiiBiim sales representative, as she defended the "I want your body" ad. "He (Wells) does have a legitimate weight reduction business," Nerrill explained to women who had come to get answers to the question: "Are Those Ads That Bad?" at the afternoon session of the "Dialogue with the Media" conference at the Rice Media Center, January 31. "This particular ad was one of three we put together in his office one day," Nerrill said. "He asked my opinion and I had to say that 'I want your body' was the most spectacular of the three he showed me. An ad is supposed to do very rapid things in a newspaper. You have only six than 50 percent of the public was poor advertising," asked Gay Cosgriff, a member of Northwest NOW. "It surely doesn't make sense if you make over half the buying public angry." "That's correct," Nerrill said, adding, "but Mr. Wells has his own idea about his business and how he can present it to the public..." "If you let him," Cosgriff added. "This person (Wells) is a good example of someone who knows how to use his money wisely. He's really come a long way," Nerrill said. "I understand Wells is the co- owner of the Zipper Lounge and the My-O-My Club. I think he still has a long way to go," said a conference participant. The conference participants seemed to agree that most advertisers and people who represented them have "a long way to go." According to Dr. Virginia Davidson, a psychiatrist at the Baylor College of Medicine, even professionals-people she feels should know better-are subjected to "sexist" advertising in professional journals and do not speak out against it. Davidson said the greatest abusers are the drug companies. "Here is a woman in a night gown in a seductive pose, indicating her sexual availability," Davidson said narrating a slide show on the image of women in drug ads. "And here is one in chiffon, the little see through, the nudity-all to advertise a sleeping pill. "The younger, sexually attractive women are depicted in medical magazines because advertisers know that is what most psychiatrists and other doctors want to see in their patients," Davidson explained. "Women over forty, are "I'd like to see some ads that don't offend feminists," says psychologist Mary Drouin. Other participants (1 to r) are Cilia Estrada, Marilyn Black and Lynn Parsons. seconds to capture your audience and I told him I found it obnoxious, but I felt it had the most impact." Using women as sex objects to attract consumers and what women can do to stop advertisers from exploiting women were, as moderator Ailene English said from the outset, issues on which the workshop would center. The "I want your body" ad, which is locally-produced, generated a great amount of dialogue among panelists - Post's Nerrill, Southwestern Bell's Karen Roach, Ogilvy & Mather's LaNeil Gregory, and psychiatrist Dr. Virginia Davidson-and the audience, composed mostly of feminists. "But I thought alienating more usually depicted as less attractive, as overweight, with wrinkles, always depressed, and, in need of some drug. The message seems to be how sorry the advertiser feels for the physician who must deal with her." To Davidson, the difference in advertisements in medical journals and that seen by a general audience is that the population to whom the ads are directed-women-never even see the ads. "These ads are for male doctors," she said. "The victims are women who never see them." English pointed out that there are many ads that are seen by the general public and that are regarded as tasteless. "Redbook Magazine recently conducted a survey," English said, "and 73 percent of their readers agreed that women are portrayed in stereotypes as housecleaners and mindless dolls." According to Karen Roach, women are failing to do anything about the way they are depicted in ads. "Women still go out and buy these products," she said. One of the worst ads is Wisk's 'ring around the collar' where women are made to feel guilty for their husbands' dirty neck, but women - who do most of the shopping - pull that product right off the shelves into their baskets. The only way to stop this kind of advertising is to stop buying the that they are going back to the hard sell and this seems to mean that we're going back to stereotyping." To the contrary, said Ogilvy & Mather's LaNeil Gregory. She said a large number of today's ads are informational. "This is the trend," Gregory explained. "The advertisers feel the customer has to know about the product before using it," she said. "You have to remember that nobody advertises for any reason other than to sell his own product. So whatever it takes to sell a product will be done." "And," added Southwestern Bell's Karen Roach, "you need to know we're in tight money times and an advertiser is not going to waste his dollar. So, the only way "It's a matter of priorities," Gregory said. "Right now, mine are to do a good professional job and to be a good wife and mother. Philosophically, I am in sympathy with what you're trying to change but it isn't a priority with me...right now." "I have, on occasion, refused to write some kinds of copy," said Roach. "It was my way of saying the ad was distasteful to me. Y ou can make that kind of personal statement, but it might cost you your job." If a woman is fired for refusing to participate in a sexist ad Roach said, she has to recognize that there are courts and labor boards where suits can be filed and complaints heard. "We are going to have to learn Panelists on the afternoon program of "Dialogue with the Media" discuss the image of women in adversising...(l to r) Ailene English, instructor of sociology, TSU; Patricia Nerrill, retail sales representative, Houston Post; Karen Roach, editor of internal publications, Southwestern Bellr La Neil Gregory, account executive, Ogilvy and Mather; and Dr. Virginia Davidson, psychiatrist, Baylor College of Medicine. products. Sales will then go down. Roach continued, "We should write the company president to tell him we stopped buying his product because we were offended by his ads. I can guarantee you he will do something about it." Nerrill, whose opinions on advertising caused controversy indicated, at first, that she previews all ads before they are inserted in the Post. She said the paper has the right to censor and that ads are "screened carefully." However, in answer to Gertrude Barnstone's question, "What responsibility rests with you people who handle advertising?" Nerrill said her role was to advise the client to reach the maximum audience. "If the ad will sell, whatever it is, we usually use it," Nerrill said. "So it's the advertiser's nickle and they spend it the way they want," Barnstone summed. "It seems to me that women not advertisers need to be educated or enlightened," observed a woman in the audience, "I think we don't recognize that we're being stereotyped in roles." "That's putting the burden of guilt on us. You don't see Aunt Jemima any more. You don't see Frito Bandito. Well, women have been protesting for years too, against the negative way advertisers portray us. It is the advertisers that are years behind and refuse to change. "I really feel pessimistic about the way advertising is going," said Gay Cosgriff. "Advertisers say creative ads are good but they don't sell. It appears to me to stop sexist advertising is to refuse to buy their product." At one point the audience questioned the feminist committment of women in advertising. "We can't assume that every woman in advertising is a feminist, can we?" asked a woman in the audience. "Lots of them are just taking passive roles and making the same decisions about women's images that their male collegues have." "Lots of people just don't care," Gregory said about her colleagues. "They don't think they're doing anything wrong." "I feel the same way," Nerrill said. "Believe it or not, I've never been involved in a feminist argument with a client, not even Mr. Wells.!' "Obviously all of you have made it," said Cilia Estrada, a member of Inner City NOW, "Don't you feel a responsibility to support your sisters? Can't you feel empathy?" "It is hard to describe the feeling I have," Nerrill said. "I am simply not so much aware of the problems you speak of." Elma Barrera, a reporter of KTRK-TV said, "People who feel they have to join a feminist organization to learn what we're talking about are wrong. You don't have to go braless or start wearing overalls. It is simply a matter of supporting your sisters...of working with them and not against them in decisions you make." An attorney in the audience said that as a member of the legal profession, she tries to make her feminism felt there. Does the same hold true for women in advertising? how to use our clout," she said. "I'm lucky I chose the company I did to work for," Nerrill said of the Houston Post. "They've never looked at me as a feminist or a woman. "Yes, I'm just one of the boys," she stammered in response to an audience question. "Ads are sold basically on statistics," she said, "and only recently have we been given statistics on sexism. Now articles on sexism are being written in the trade magazines. Most of us are from the old school, though, and we learned how to give the customer the best for his dollar. My own college education taught me that a little 'sex' in ads was good for business." "We capture people through excitement and sex is a turn on," said Mary Drouin, psychologist. "So if you go into the advertising business thinking you are just going to give information, that isn't the way it's going to be. Motivation comes out of fantasy. Surely, we're not going to be puritanical. I'd like to see ads that don't offend feminists. But, just what kind of sex do we, as feminists, want to see in ads?" Drouhys question went unanswered. It was Karen Roach's opinion that the very people who need the statistics and other information on sexism in advertising do not have access to it. "These are the owners of the corporations," she said, "the people who have the power to change things. But they read magazines which have half naked women in them and, thus, the stereotype is reinforced. It is a vicious cycle."