Stereotype is generally a generalization about a group of people that other people make based on their personal experiences or limited knowledge. In the advertising industry, stereotypes conform to a visual pattern of appearance and behavior that is easily recognized and understood to communicate to the audiences. Sometimes stereotypes are deliberately set up to stimulate demand particularly in women and beauty business. Producers create needs by using images of ideal women which are unattainable for all but a very small number of women then the stereotype is reinforced to customers by the presence of advertisement. On the one hand, this strategy seems to have a powerful effect as beauty industries are continually growing. On the other hand, research indicates that exposure to images of unrealistic ideal female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem, and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls
Dittrich reports that the average person sees between 400-600 advertisements per day, and one out of eleven of these advertisements contain a direct message of beauty. Guillen and Barr track a magazine for adolescent girls over 20 years found an increasing majority of advertisements and articles promoting weight loss, while Hertzler and Grun examined 117 magazines and found and implication that women need to be slim, as well as fit and young, and to use cosmetic products in order to be beautiful (Smith, 16). In cosmetic and diet product industries, stereotypes are used in advertising to reinforce the importance of a thin body as a measure of a woman’s worth. “Advertising delivers a commentary to women that, to secure their fascination and preference of men, they will relinquish the approval and sisterhood of women and that the sacrifice is worthwhile” (Cortese, 25). By presenting an ideal image of ‘perfect women’ which is difficult to achieve and maintain or even unattainable, they are assured of growth and profits. The past five years have witnessed the increasing sales of cosmetic products, products that are claimed to have drug-like benefits including acne treatment, anti-aging, skin care, hair care, and other professional skin protection, among women. Industry data indicates that these products “have more than doubled in sales over five years” (Chao, D6). "Gender images hit at the heart of individual identity" (Cortese, 52). Many women are used in advertisements to sell items for body. Many of these products are specifically to enhance one's beauty and by doing this, she is more in control of herself. In one an advertising campaign about woman body lotion, a woman is shown at different points in her life. First as a young girl happily roller skating with friends, then on her wedding day in her gorgeous, white wedding dress with her husband, and then at swimming pool in a two-piece swimsuit with their daughter. The secret to her ‘happiness’ is revealed as the Nivea My Silhouette lotion she applies to help her skin look ‘fit and firm’. It suggests that using the product regularly will lead to a reduction of fat on targeted body parts such as thighs, hips, waist and stomach. Then end with the slogan “Beauty is feeling good, Beauty is Nivea.” At first glance it seemed cliché and similar to other ads that reinforce the stereotype of women as a beauty object and consider image to be of major importance. However, upon closer look it also implied that if women can maintain their beauty, they will have it all—a happy life, the perfect marriage, loving children, and a rewarding career. Kilbourne concludes that it is the real tragedy that many women internalize these stereotypes, and judge themselves by the beauty industry's standards.
While women who are considered to be beautiful are slimmer, average women are heavier than they were (Pipher, 56). As National Association of Social Workers (2001) reveals that today’s models weigh 23 per cent less than the average woman.