Gem's and Jewels
by lxve on September 27, 2016 - 5:18pm
Objectification in the media is something we all see everyday. It is in the ads we are exposed to, in the movies we watch and in the shows we enjoy. Women are often portrayed as objects, incapable of owning their own selves. Society has become desensitized to how demeaning this is to a half the population, and the message it sends to the other half.
In an advertisement for Natan’s diamonds, there are two pictures side by side. One has a man holding a closed jewellery box towards what is obviously a woman’s crossed legs. Only her legs. The second picture is the same man holding the opened jewellery box, containing a ring, to the woman whose legs are now open in a way some people could interpret as “inappropriate”.
There are so many things wrong with this ad, but I’ll start with the fact that you cannot see the woman’s face. “The different departments of social sciences disagree on many things, but the one thing they all agree on is that the best way to dehumanize a person is to not show their face,” and that is exactly what this ad did. Both the man and the woman’s face aren’t being shown, the difference however, is that the man is not being sexualized. The woman’s face in the ad is not shown and you do not know who she is or what her facial expressions are, but you do see her body language in response to the diamonds. Facial expressions are important because they often convey what the body cannot or will not say. The reader does not know if she is pleased, upset, or even in distress, but that does not matter. Her feelings do not matter. The woman in question, as far as we are concerned, is not even a complete person. She is an object for this man’s use, sexually and martially. She exists only as he needs her.
Which brings me to my second issue with this advertisement, the content of the ad implies that marrying a woman gives the man the right to her body. She was clearly reluctant to give herself up in the first photo. Her legs were crossed and turned away, the body language of someone who typically wants to be left alone. In the second photo however, when the ring is presented, her legs are now open provocatively. Which heavily implies that women are easily suggestible and willing to give up their morality or even virtue for materialism. at least that the proposal of marriage gives this man the right to her body. This ad also perpetuates the “gold digger” stereotype that is popular for demoralizing women and making them seen as if they are solely materialistic.
This creates an issue because it gives woman the idea that they are only worth something when they are sexually active. The woman’s body language clearly suggests that she uses her body to get materialistic items, such as the ring.
There are many sexist aspects to this ad but there are ways that can showcase the ring and not be offensive. One way is to remove all implications of sexuality all together. Instead of only showing the woman’s legs and the man’s hands, you could show their entire bodies. Showing a proposal is more effective at arousing emotions in people, rather than an overtly sexual scene.
Sexuality is not something that people, woman especially, should be ashamed of, but often times it is turned into something that is taboo and then used to exploit the same people that are demonized for embracing it. This ad turns what is supposed to be a happy event into a sexual encounter and Natan obviously thought this was a great way to sell their diamonds. This ad received a lot of backlash from the media, which is good. The problem here is, why do we live in a society that encourages the use of sex to sell?