Tom Bored (and fed up of gender inequality)

by BellaB on September 27, 2016 - 4:39pm

             Look at this ad. And I mean really look at it.

 

            Just by looking at this image, it is doubtful that the average consumer would correctly guess what it was selling. If he or she were to guess clothing, they would be wrong. This Tom Ford ad, dating back to the spring of 2008, is actually being used to sell eyewear. Though there isn’t much clothing in the ad to begin with, there is even less of a visibility for the glasses within it. In light of this realization, a very important question must be asked. What is really being sold here? Because it sure as hell seems like a whole lot more than a pair of glasses. In this case, and in the majority of other cases, “Advertising… sells values and cultural representations, such as success and sexuality.” (Cortese 57.)

 

            This ad showcases both the success and sexuality aspects to reel in consumers. Firstly, the woman depicted in this ad is completely naked, serving as, and proving to be a mere sex object in comparison to her clothed, male counterpart. Furthermore, in ironing the man’s pants, she is assuming the role of a stereotypical, submissive woman. The gendered messages being conveyed here are that women are good for two things: their bodies, and for doing the work deemed unsuitable for a man. A man doing such work can only be considered a waste of his time and intellect. What this suggests then, is that men are destined for bigger and better things than women. They possess infinite opportunities, as well as societal support, when they feel ready to pursue success. Women on the other hand, should remain content and busy themselves with the work found in their own homes. This can be understood in simply comparing the actions of the male and the female in the ad.  While the man is reading a newspaper, demonstrating his intelligence and connection to the workforce, the woman is contrived into demeaning, docile housework.

 

            Where the trouble begins, is when the average heterosexual male and female put themselves in the shoes of their respective sex.  When a young man sees this ad, he sees the glamorous lifestyle; he senses an allure of both power and dominance. He sees the luxury in having a beautiful woman do all his dirty work. This leads young men maturing in a media-filled world, to view women in a dehumanizing manner. Well argued by Jean Kilbourne: “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person.” (Newsom.) On the other hand, when a young woman sees this ad, she sees the lean, slender body of the model within it. This might explain why “[…] 65% of women and girls have an eating disorder.” (Newsom.) When a girl or a woman perceives the physical appearances of these models, they automatically feel the need to achieve this standard of beauty and “If they fail to obtain it, they are led to feel guilty and ashamed.” (Cortese 59.) In failing to actively point out what is so clearly wrong with these ads, people continue to be oblivious to the messages being both sent, and absorbed by our society. This, in turn allows for the normalization of gender norms and the self-objectification of women.

 

            Given the opportunity, I would attempt to neutralize this ad in creating a sense of equality between both sexes. Firstly, I would clothe the woman. Secondly, I would remove the iron from her hands and replace it with a book or a computer. This would actively break the barrier of stereotyping women as domesticated beings, and allow her to demonstrate her intelligence and capabilities. Lastly, I would put a pair of glasses on the woman's face because, if I remember correctly, that’s what Tom Ford is trying to sell.

 

 

Works Cited:

Cortese, Anthony. “Constructed bodies, Deconstructing ads: Sexism in Advertising.” 345-102-MQ Gendered World Views, edited by Sarah Waurechen, Eastman Systems, 2016, PP 9-25.

 

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Kimberlee Acquaro. “Miss Representation.” Girls Club Entertainemnt, 2011.

 

Klein, Alyssa Vingan. “TOM FORD’S 20 SEXIEST AD CAMPAIGNS OF ALL TIME.” http://fashionista.com/2014/08/tom-ford-sexiest-ad-campaigns, 2014, PP 14.   

 

 

Comments

Nicholas Gervais , DIego Ayllon

What drew us to this post is the title “Tom Bored (and fed up of gender inequality)” and the small text “Look at this ad. And I mean really look at it.” We agree that sexist ads affect woman around the world, by forcing them to conform to unhealthy body standards. This ad is very representative of the rape culture we live in and is a dramatic example of the privilege that white, thin males have in our society. This sort of ad is also problematic because it sets off high standards of how a woman should look like. This case of micro-aggression makes women unhappy, it is a symbol of oppression and over-sexualization of women. We also agree that the woman should be dressed in a way to empower her. A military uniform with a weapon would be appropriate. This post would need more images/ ads that share the same problems. The argument is well founded with stats with a wide range of views on the problem.

http://www.newsactivist.com/en/articles/gendered-world-views-fall-2016-s...

Yannick Cheng
Emile David
Simon Desranleau

What draws us to this article was the “gender inequality “title. We thought it would be a perfect way to introduce male privilege by addressing to the picture ad. We can clearly see that the women was personified as an object with no clothes, while passing the iron on the man’s suit pants. It gives us a perception of stereotype of man is the one working for the family and the women are supposed to stay at home and do chores. The reason why we thought this is a sign of male privilege, because the man gets to have clothes and look civilised while the women doesn’t. Furthermore, the man in this ad is portrayed to be dominant and is in charge, while the women looks like his slave because he has the women do his ironing for him while he reads the newspaper casually. In addition, we were astonished to learn this was an ad for glasses because there was no indication and our focus was redirected to the naked women. It is the ads like these that promotes rape culture and male privilege.

Yannick Cheng
Emile David
Simon Desranleau

What draws us to this article was the “gender inequality “title. We thought it would be a perfect way to introduce male privilege by addressing to the picture ad. We can clearly see that the women was personified as an object with no clothes, while passing the iron on the man’s suit pants. It gives us a perception of stereotype of man is the one working for the family and the women are supposed to stay at home and do chores. The reason why we thought this is a sign of male privilege, because the man gets to have clothes and look civilised while the women doesn’t. Furthermore, the man in this ad is portrayed to be dominant and is in charge, while the women looks like his slave because he has the women do his ironing for him while he reads the newspaper casually. In addition, we were astonished to learn this was an ad for glasses because there was no indication and our focus was redirected to the naked women. It is the ads like these that promotes rape culture and male privilege.