A Letter to Advertisers

Dear Advertisers,

Your job is to convince people to spend money on either a product, a service, or a charity. In order to do that, your advertisements need to make that product/service/charity appeal to people. If I’m one of those people in your target audience, then you need to make those things appeal to me. Lately, I’ve seen a number of ads that are not just unappealing- they’re downright off-putting. 

Not so long ago, I saw an ad with a photo of a boy playing soccer in his gear. That ad doesn’t do much for me otherwise because my boys aren’t all that into sports. If my boys were into sports, that ad might work. But then I read the writing on the ad and I realized that it’s an ad for a clothing store for girls and my first reaction was “huh?” Do you even sell sporting gear for boys? Do you have any idea what you sell? It made me think that I do NOT want to shop at a store like that where it looks as if the owners don’t know what they’re doing.

Then I saw another ad for a shop for children’s clothing. This time, at least it did look like an ad for a store that sells children’s clothing. But while they showed boys wearing the boys’ clothes, instead of showing girls in the girls’ clothes, the girls’ faces were replaced with doll faces. Do you have any idea how creepy that looks? It looks like something straight out of a horror film. It made me think that I do NOT want to even enter a store that might turn out to be a house of horrors. 

More recently, I’ve seen ads for fundraising dinners in which they showed names of honorees. A few honorees are couples and while the honorees are listed as “Mr. and Mrs.,” indicating that two people were being honored here, there’s only one name listed and the photo showed only one person- the man. Is this man some kind of hermaphroditic creature like Adam HaRishon? I don’t think that creating hermaphroditic creatures is something that is worth a donation although I am curious as to how they did it. In all seriousness, I find this very misleading. Either you’re honoring the women or you’re not.  

Just this past week, I saw an ad asking for donations for an organization that helps Jewish couples struggling with infertility. The ad showed a family of mostly boys with a father and a baby girl whose face was turned away. You know what? I can’t relate to that. I can relate to a family that includes a mother and daughters. And how does this picture even capture the struggle of infertility in the first place? 

What’s the common denominator among all these bad ads? Either you advertisers or the businesses and charitable groups are so concerned with keeping women and girls out of public view that you sacrifice quality. And that’s not good because when your ads are no good, it does lower your income. 

Imagine the effect if women and girls were included… Those ads for girls’ clothing showing girls in the clothes with happy faces would have me thinking that maybe my niece would like them. Ads for women’s clothing showing women in the clothes would have me thinking of something for myself or my teenage daughter. An ad showing a husband AND wife being honored would have me thinking that I can relate to the wife and maybe we should donate. An ad showing a husband AND wife who want children but don’t have them would tug at my heartstrings enough to make me think of donating.    

What’s more, not showing women and girls in public ads is objectifying and dehumanizing. And I’m NOT spending my money to normalize that. 

Next time you put an ad together, consider me and all the other women out there who have money to spend and make sure your ad appeals to us. 

Thank you.

Sincerely,

A Torah-Observant Jewish woman and potential customer/donor. 

About the Author
Meira E. Schneider-Atik is a wardrobe stylist, personal shopper, and writer/blogger. Her goal is to help women feel good about themselves and to dispel the myths about tzniut and dressing well. Her heart is in Eretz Yisrael, but for now, she and her family live in Queens, NY.
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