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October 23, 2011
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Black Women in Advertising by AlexandraDal Black Women in Advertising by AlexandraDal
Reblog on Tumblr [link] . You may download and post on other sites as long as you credit me (Alexandra Dal), link back to my deviantART page (my watermark doesn't count) and do not alter it.

Pitt Artist Pen on vellum, scanned and colored in Photoshop CS5.

On a related note, I almost fainted when I saw an middle-aged interracial couple with a child in a cell phone commercial a few months ago. I thought interracial couples could only be depicted by young, sexy, clubbing models in ads for alcohol. Edgy!
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Smiling-Mad Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014
Sad but true!
Zombie-Sue Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2013

You forgot to highlight her light skin lmao. Women in advertising must be in that, when-drawn-skin-is-more-shaded-than-highlighted phase, you know what I mean?


A long time ago I saw an ad for jewelry I think? it featured a man and a woman dressed in yellow (like, really bright yellow) dashing across a city, presumably to eachother. Finally, when they get to eachother, he and the woman pass one another very naturally, without recognition, and the man kisses another man behind her lmao. They played on my expectations in advertising VERY WELL.

Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I remember that one. That was really cool of them.
TootsieFaloola Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'm not black , but you are completely right
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I was going to say, "black women get speaking roles!" Then I re-read the part about air freshener and it reminded me that black women only get to talk in cleaning product commercials, if at all.

So everything in here is spot-on. But do you really blame advertisers for not wanting to scare off their great big white customer base that is timid and easily scared off by anything "black"? They're not trying to uplift of denigrate anyone. They just want to sell those yogurt cups and air freshener sprays.
So what I'm saying, is do you think more of the blame for black women not being allowed to play generic roles like white people do (and also not being allowed to be "too black") is the fault of the advertisers who make the commercials in the first place, or is more of it the fault of the people watching TV?

And do you think this bias is all conscious and deliberate, or do you think there's enough of this going on on unconscious levels for that to matter too? :shrug:

P.S.: I HATE McDonald's "urban" commercials.:thumbsdown: Their kid's commercials are so much better.
AlexandraDal Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Student General Artist
It's definitely deliberate. Casting calls will specify "light skinned" blacks and companies are constantly getting outed online and having to apologize for requests of "not too dark" or "with Caucasian features" when casting. On the flip side, companies have no problem employing the older, overweight, "sassy" dark-skinned black woman caricature for laughs.

I keep hearing lately that the largest consumer group in the US right now is Hispanic mothers, so companies can't even hide behind the "We're representing our customers - who are mostly white!" line anymore. A friend of mine recently went to a big retailer's office and they even had a sign up saying "REMEMBER: The niņo is king!" -- as in, remember to appeal to the Hispanic child! But if they are trying to appeal to their largest customer base they're doing a poor job of it. The only time I know I'll see anyone Hispanic in ads is in commercials for taco shells, salsa, and fried chicken.

So I think some of the blame is on white viewers who can still only stomach "white-acting" people of color in khakis, but that's no excuse for advertisers considering that the US is on the cusp of being "minority majority."
fujoshianimechick Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I really wish that there were better representations of Black women as well. Or Asian women who are not nerds or tourists. Essentially, I wish that minorities were portrayed as diverse as actual human beings rather than a mold of a person.
StrawberryR Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
What's wrong with having natural hair? Black women are constantly told their natural, kinky and curly, hair is wrong and not "good hair" and to make it straight they have to use all these chemicals or shave it off and wear wigs. D: I don't see how having natural black hair in advertisements is bad when that's just how they look. Why would we want to encourage making yourself look like a different race? I mean, if it's not good for her to have a ton of white friends, why is she supposed to have white hair?
AlexandraDal Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012  Student General Artist
"Natural" is in quotes because the women usually have (non-threatening but still "ethnic") soft spiral curls rather than distinctly black kinky or coiled curls -- as in, advertisers want their black women to look "black" enough to appeal to black consumers, but not toooo black -- might scare off the whites!
StrawberryR Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ohhhhhhhhh. Okay, now that I look at the drawing again, I see what you're talking about. So now it's like mulatto hair instead of black- or white-hair. Jeez. Advertisers are so weird.

Thanks for explaining that for me. <:3
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