Since the beginning of this country’s history, both before, during, and after prohibition, alcoholic beverages have been a universally desired product amongst this consumer-driven economy. More specifically, this country’s beer industry has been one which has proven to withstand the test of time in its desirability standards. In regards to this statement, one may ask themselves how a product can remain as popular as it has throughout these years. To begin, let’s take a look at perhaps one of the oldest beer companies that exists in America: Budweiser. Budweiser, an American Lager, began its production in 1876 and since then has proudly claimed to have not “messed with perfection for more than 133 years” (“Budweiser: Our Beer”). However, in making this blatant statement, it has become necessary to analyze the true ingredients in this recipe for perfection: was it truly just the great tasting beer, or the added taste of their chosen advertisements that have attracted their particular male-based audience? With this, one may conclude that Budweiser has created their success by attracting men through advertising schemes that utilize misogynistic images of female sexuality, leading to the epitome of male satisfaction; that is, one involving both alcohol and women.
An overwhelming majority of Budweiser advertisements feature women whose sexuality has become extremely heightened. Such advertisements, including those shown above, target a male audience with hopes that the idea “sex sells” will persuade them to purchase their product. In the article “Image-Based Culture: Advertising & Popular Culture,” Jhally states “advertisers, working within a 'cluttered' environment in which there are more and more messages must have a way to break through the attendant noise. Sexuality provides a resource that can be used to get attention and communicate instantly" (253). This statement easily explains the exact phenomenon that Budweiser is playing into. By using images of sexually attractive, barely clothed women, Budweiser has successfully caught the eye of their potential male consumers, thus leading to the overall success of their product.
Nevertheless, not only do these portrayals of women merely catch the eye of such consumers, they give them hope that if they buy that specific Budweiser beer, then, in exchange, they too will attract women with similar appearances. This self-satisfying notion produced by most men in this economy must be taken into high consideration while analyzing such a product. Since it is most likely that women will not be as persuaded by these advertisements as men, it becomes even clearer that women are not included in this company’s target audience, yet their bodies are still being exploited in order to sell their product. This, without a doubt, is an example of the common use and overall acceptance of misogyny in this society. In the noted words of Breazeale, “misogyny existed in popular culture long before Esquire; what Esquire demonstrated was that woman-trashing as such could be packaged and sold to a large, prosperous bourgeois audience” (240). In comparison with Esquire now, Budweiser as a company is just as bad in its “attempt to seduce and construct the male consumer” (Breazeale 240) through its demeaning representations of women that, like Esquire, are largely depicted in numerous magazines; the only difference is that their influence has become so strong that it is rarely noticeable to the average consumer, those who have ultimately become subordinate to its underlying messages and, in result, continue to buy Budweiser beer.
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