Using Women in Publicity Images by Jeannine Cook

In Palma de Mallorca, my home happens to be adjacent to the major regional hospital. The big event at present is that this hospital, Son Dureta, is being phased out and all activity is now transferring to a huge new hospital on the outskirts of Palma. Son Espases, this hospital city, is nearly complete, and consequently, as patients transfer and the staff sorts through the complicated geography and activities, there is a major advertising campaign underway about its launch.

One of the most promient hoarding advertisements about ¨Son Espases - one of the best hospitals in Europe¨ shows a very beautiful woman, her head covered with a surgical cap and a mask over her nose and mouth. Ready for the surgeon to start wielding the knife, in other words. She has wonderfully beautiful eyes. Behind her is a fainter silhouette of a similarly garbed woman.

My reaction initially was, what on earth has a beautiful woman got to do with the quality of a hospital and its services? My second reaction was irritation. Only in a male-dominated situation could it be concluded that a beautiful woman was the best way to sell a hospital! Really!

Images of women are of course habitually the choice way to advertise watches, clothes, accessories, even cars, and alcohol in Spain – but somehow it seems to me that it is time that women start protesting at some uses of their images. I wonder what other people think of using beautiful women to sell hospitals?