The hidden meaning behind the majority of advertisements that have existed is mind blowing. As a class, we discussed the signifiers/signified in a few Pears' Soap advertisements which were some of the first ads ever created. One ad in particular stood out, which was the picture of two toddlers, one white and one "black." In this image, the white child is scrubbing the black child of the "blackness" as the advertisement claimed something about cleaning the complexion. I'd like to take the oppositional view and ask if maybe the advertisers weren't trying to "erase blackness" like we discussed in class, but maybe the child rolled around in some mud and was taking a legitimate bath. I understand that racism and discrimination was prevalent during this time period, but I hate to think that these people were so blatant in their advertisements. It was normal for civilians in this era to go without baths for weeks and my thought is that it was just a dirty child being washed by a clean kid with Pears' Soap.
I'm also in awe of how dominant the "white man" vs "man" debacle is still somewhat prevalent in our society. For example, in the 2011 blockbuster, Captain America: The First Avenger (which was originally a comic book from the 1940's) Steve Rogers is a frail young man with the heart of a soldier who undergoes an experimental treatment resulting in success and his physical transformation into beau-hunk, the epitome of every woman's fantasy. In order for Steve to gain any respect for his courage, brilliance, and sacrificial being he needed to change his physical self. I believe that this aspect is still in existence; women and men continue to follow the "survival of the fittest model" wherein we are more attracted to the people who look and behave in a strong manner, if I may be so brazen to claim.
These topics still reign in our everyday life, but I am relieved to see their bright appearance dwindle as our media literacy develops.