An Ad for Shoes or Women?

by Westluke on September 27, 2016 - 5:33pm

           In this shoe advertisement, a young woman is gripping the selling product while being completely naked. The shoe being the only coloured aspect in this black and white image clearly portrays as the most dominant feature in the advertisement. Thus, stating that even the male orientated object itself is more important and dominating than the young woman modelling in the image. The camera angle gives the viewer the perspective of looking down since the way the shoe is displayed gives an illusion of looking down at our feet, therefore, conveying the message that women are below our shoes. Thus the advertisement showing, that wearing John White shoes make men capable of dominating women and that only high end shoes can achieve that since women that fit ideal beauty standards are only greedy for money. This is a gender role assumption that is commonly expressed through media, making men believe wealth is the first priority women look for in men.


            Even without the presence of a male, this advertisement still achieves the male dominance over women, and they succeed that through a male-targeted object, somehow humanizing the shoe more than the young woman. This is extremely problematic because of how normalized it has become in society. Violence against woman is a huge representation in this advertisement. The shoe is stepping over the woman as if she is a rug, while she wraps her arms around the shoe in a gentle manner. The camera angle gives the viewer the perspective of stepping, or more extreme, stomping on the woman while she seemingly embraces the violence occurring to her. Thus, conveying the message that it is stylish to commit abuse against women and that the safety and cleanliness of your shoes is worth more than the safety of women.


            The entirely naked woman in the image is illustrated as submissive and accepts the violence that is put against her, creating a message that aggression is part of human nature and male sex and for that, it should be accepted. Evidently, violence against women is an issue because of how common it is and to glamorize it, impacts not only us but children also. The woman being in the black and white background impersonates that she is nothing of importance since she blends with the background while the shoe has all the focus. Her head being cut off demonstrates that the female body is the only value a woman can give; therefore, her mind is not needed. The woman possesses all the unrealistic ideal beauty standards the media exhibits. The model has large breasts, a small waist and flawless skin. There is not a single hair on her body, a female standard related to porn since hairless vaginas became an absolute necessity for women in order for them to have sex. This ad being targeted to men, not only promotes unrealistic standards to women but also to men, embedding in their brains that all women should look like this. The woman’s nails are even done, showing that the woman is as polished as the shoe, clearly stating the equal standing between women and objects.


            It is evident that advertisements in today’s age are a huge problem in western culture. They’re goal is not to express their products in the best way they can, but to catch peoples eyes by using controversial subjects to the point of it being normalized in today’s society, “people try to do more shocking and shocking things to break through the clutter” says an expert from Miss Representation. For instance, objectification of women, violence against women and gender roles are all elements displayed through the John White advertisement in order to draw viewers and talk. I would fix this ad by completely removing the woman considering that John White only sells shoes to men hence the irrelevance of having a female model in the ad. I would keep the white and black background since its draws the eyes and dominates the ad without being degrading to women. I would enlarge the writing that says “made by hand” and add an description of the material being used for the shoes since good quality material is a luxury many people look for including myself when buying clothes, shoes and accessories.


Works Cited


Miss Representation. Girls' Club Entertainment, 2011. DVD


What drew us to this post at first was the title. Before we even started reading it we were already intrigued. While we were reading your article, as women, we realized that in reality women are used to make profit, while this shouldn’t be the case. The fact that the woman is posing naked on this ad made us feel like this girl was portraying women in society and that we should be submissive and feel inferior to men. As you mentioned with the shoe stepping on the woman, it shows male dominance over women. This also reminded us of a talk we listen to in class from Tony Porter were he explained that in society, men are brought up to believe they’re superior without even realizing it, and in some cases, this can be very devaluing to women. He also speaks about how men are told they are supposed to protect women because women can’t do it by themselves, and that can be very pressuring for them as much as much as it is offensive for women. Overall, we think that you’re article was very well developed and it made us think about how society portrays women.

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