How advertising influences public perception of sexual attractiveness

How Advertising Influences Public Perception of Sexual Attractiveness

Advertising plays an important role in how the public perceives sexuality and what is seen as attractive. Over time, advertising images have come to represent the “ideal” standard of beauty, which has a lasting and often damaging impact on people’s perception of their own bodies, as well as the bodies of others.

Advertising Images Set Unrealistic Standards

The majority of advertising images are highly edited or airbrushed and feature models who have been carefully selected for their attractive features. These images send a message to viewers that this is what is considered to be attractive; anything that does not fit this image is deemed as unattractive. This ultimately leads to people feeling inadequate and negatively impacts their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Advertising Contributes to Objectification

Advertising plays a part in objectifying people, particularly women. People, particularly women, are often presented as objects of desire and their value lies in how attractive they are perceived to be. This can lead to viewers viewing them as nothing more than objects.

Effects on Society

The unrealistic and damaging representations of beauty in advertising have far-reaching implications for society. This can lead to negative attitudes towards certain body types, as well as unhealthy practices such as disordered eating, body shaming and body dysmorphic disorder.


It is clear that advertising has a significant influence on public perception of sexual attractiveness. Advertisers should take more responsibility in ensuring that their images are not damaging or unrealistic and that they promote healthy body image.


  • Advertising images set unrealistic standards of beauty.
  • Advertising contributes to the objectification of people.
  • Negative effects on society such as disordered eating, body shaming and body dysmorphic disorder.
  • Advertisers need to take responsibility and promote a healthy body image.

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