He is not a man to die for

by Rydia on September 26, 2016 - 5:27pm

Duncan Quinn is an American company which specializes in clothes and accessories for men. In 2008, they published this advertisement to promote a new collection of their suits. What the company only want us to see is a male model wearing one of the very expensive suits offered by them, while he poses next to a female model who’s laying down on the top of a car. However, the population can pick up disturbing themes out of this image, which could cause a dangerous impact on their lifestyles.



First of all, the picture suggests that men are allowed to be physically aggressive with women. We clearly see a man pulling a woman’s neck with his necktie. The woman shows a very disturbing condition. She does not show any physical motion, which gives the impression of being unconscious or even dead. Her naked body is exposed in front of this man, who has a satisfactory expression on his face. It is clear that this woman is a victim of sexual violence and all the signs mentioned above are the evidence. However, the company is not denouncing this aggression; it is promoting it! In fact, “Advertising not only makes this sexual genre of violent abuse tolerable but also unmistakably glorifies it. Sexual violence has become romantic and chic instead of being seen as grievously contemptible.” (Cortese 85). Women might think that sexual abuse is justifiable if their aggressor fits into a particular category, which in this case would be the wealthy man. After all, “Aggression is a learned behavior.” (Cortese 79).


Also, genders models are established by the two characters of the advertisement. In this case, the ideal masculinity is defined by the men in the image. The way he is holding his necktie represents his dominance and power over this woman and even over her life. His suits and his car show his richness. The unconscious, or dead, and naked body in front of him represents his violence and his sexuality. Femininity is represented in a similar way, but it is seen from another perspective. All of the points mentioned above represent the total opposite for a female. It represents that women must be submissive, obedient, dependent, and sexually passive. However, these characteristics have a substantial impact on the self of woman, “a key component of the passive, subordinate role is that women lack a voice. The sexual objectification of women requires that they remain silent.” (Cortese 58). Without a voice, how do we expect women to be an efficient member of our society if they are not even able to defend themselves?

Furthermore, unrealistic images of women are presented. According to this advertisement, the male provocateur is represented by a wealthy man; his age and his physical image are both irrelevant factors.  In the case of the female provocateur, she is represented by a young, skinny and beautiful woman. Even though her face is not shown, beauty is usually associated with thin women. As a matter of fact, “the provocateur is not human; rather, she is a form or hollow shell representing a female figure. Accepted attractiveness is her only attribute. She is slender, typically tall and long-legged.” (Cortese 59). Women are publically dehumanized and treated as sexual objects, but this will not represent a problem as long as the women themselves recognize this as a problem. They are being conditioned to believe that they will be happy if they fit into these standards, “women are constantly held to this unrealistic standard of beauty. If they fail to attain it, they are lead to feel guilty and ashamed. Cultural ideology tells women that they will not be desirable to, or loved by, men unless they are physically perfect.” (Cortese 59). They are objectifying women as a whole and by doing this, they are taking her rights away. After all, this won’t matter if they are cherished by a man. However, these women will never be free of critics from other and themselves. They won’t stop looking in the mirror, trying to find something else to “improve”. This compulsive thinking will never leave their heads; that is why “self-objectification is hypothesized to be related to increased risk of psychological problems, including eating disorders, bipolar depression, and sexual dysfunction.” (Cortese 61). They will always be slaves of the eyes of society, which will never be satisfied with what they have in front of them.



    The objective of ads has been completely forgotten. It is not late to prove that physical aggression, gender models, and dehumanization are not necessary for advertisement. Personally, I'd only show a picture of the product itself. There's no need to present the image of a man or a woman that can become the model to follow and cause another misinterpretation. This kind of image is supposed to sell a suit and not a lifestyle.

 

Works Cited

 

Cortese, Anthony. “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising.” Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, Third Edition. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008. 57-89.

Comments

It’s obvious that this ad is disturbing. I agree when you say that the male model in this ad is defining “the ideal masculinity” (Rydia), that is defined by society. This man is shown to be a wealthy, good looking, powerful. He is also showing the control he has over the female model, in context, his woman. These characteristics are all part of the famous man box created by society with time.
In class, we discussed how sex, seuxality, and sexuality can be hard to differenciate. Being wealthy also implies that he is able to be a provider for his family, which is also a characteristic of the man box. If they do not have the characteristics of the man box, they might be considered as homosexual, bisexual, and so on, bringing into question the sexual identity of the man. If a man so happens to categorize himself as anything else but heterosexual, he is seen as a weak. The male model in the ad is seen as strong & powerful, categorizing him as heterosexual. By showing that he is strong and powerful, his sexual identity isn’t being questioned. Any sign of weakness, meaning any characteristic a man has outside the man box, is seen as weak.
This site shows how much men take into consideration when deciding their sexual identity: http://www.psychologyofmen.org/sexual-identity-development/