I Love Ugly, Not Quite.

by IronOxide on October 3, 2016 - 2:10am

           On December 2015 a New Zealand men’s clothing company called “I Love Ugly” put out some images to advertise their newly started collection of jewelry for men. The problem with these 8 images arises from the fact that the male model who is showcasing the rings by wearing them on his hands is also placing his hands on a woman who is completely naked. This is in contrast to the man who is barely seen but fully clothed. The images are also very racy and vulgar as the woman in certain images has her breasts exposed and her legs spread apart. Another issue is that the female model’s head and face is not shown which adds to the aspect of this ad campaign to become much more sexist and objectifying of women.


            Here we have a collection of images from a men’s clothing company. In this ad we see that the company is using the female body as a way to attract men in order to view their products. There is no use of having a woman completely naked in these ads as she doesn’t contribute anything to the product. The model is merely an attention grabber for men. The female model is being put in many suggestive positions and the man is also holding on to her as if he is in control and has authority over her. This clearly shows the two opposing sides between masculinity and femininity. “In short, masculine images are dominant, intimidating, and violent, while feminine images are subordinate, receptive, and passive” (Cortese, 84). This quote can be related to the ads shown here. The woman is submissive, she isn’t reacting to anything that the man is doing to her, and the man is taking the more dominant approach as he holds on to her and grabs her in various locations. The woman’s face is also not shown, further pushing the objectification of women. According to Anthony Cortese the woman is a provocateur garnering the attention of viewers and he states “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” (59). Removing the face from the ad is the best method to objectify and dehumanise a person. All that’s left is a hollow shell, she has no purpose but to attract the attention of men. Often times the woman portrayed in these ads aren’t even true to real life, they are as mentioned by Cortese “The classic image is constructed through cosmetics, photography, and airbrushing techniques” (59). We are left with a lifeless body without blemishes or imperfections, an unobtainable beauty.


            Ads such as these bring about big problems. The messages that these ads are sending to people are not positive in the very least, it also doesn’t help that these ads can be seen easily by the whole public. The message being sent to males is arguably the worst. Basically this ad is stating that women are merely just an object, one that men should be in control of. It’s saying that men have the right to do whatever they want to women as they are superior to women. The ad degrades the woman and makes her seem powerless, the man is again seen as being dominant. Men who see this ad and are going to project the same thing in their lives, thus hurting more women around them. This also reinforces that the ideal woman for a man is one who is submissive and passive but also has a perfect body. For women, these ads are also reinforcing the fact that they must conform to a certain ideal, an ideal that is seen throughout all forms of media and other commercials. The “perfect body” is the goal that they are going to try and attain. This in turn creates a bigger problem. “Internalizing cultural standards of feminine beauty leads to increased shame and anxiety about the body and appearance” (Cortese 61). This behaviour occurs because of the stress put out on by attempting to achieve this unobtainable “perfect body.” This can lead to more serious issues such as bulimia and anorexia in women.


            Some of the images for this ad campaign don’t even fully focus on the product. The image is zoomed out in order to see the women’s body rather than the rings that the company is trying to sell. The ads would most likely have been better off had they not had a women in the images at all. As this is a product for men it should focus on the man and the rings instead, but now the focus is divided between the rings and the woman. This ad campaign has obviously been viewed at negatively and the company has thus taken down the images from their website and Facebook page. This is reassuring to know that there are people out there who are upset about these ads showing up, and hopefully companies can realise that they shouldn’t need the use of a naked woman to sell their products.


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.

Danforth, Chris. “I Love Ugly Debuts Jewelry Collection With NSFW Campaign.” Highsnobiety, 1 Dec. 2015, http://www.highsnobiety.com/2015/12/01/i-love-ugly-jewelry-collection/#s...





This post effectively describes the faults in our society when it comes to overwhelming abundance of rape culture in the media by bringing up key points such as women being subordinate to men, violence in men and the overall objectification of women.

It seems like you naturally took a utilitarianism approach when analyzing this advertisement as you focused on the consequences of this advertisement on the larger population. Like the definition states, utilitarianism focuses on the outcome of events. Some of the consequences you brought up that result from hyper sexual ads like this one are seeing women as sexual objects, the reinforcement of gender roles, and the unrealistic standards imposed on women. In order for a phenomenon to be ethical under a utilitarian lens, it must bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people. It is evident that this advertisement surely does not meet these standards as women make up fifty-one percent of the world population yet women surely do not appreciate being treated unequal to their male counterparts.

An approach you may not have considered is focusing on the actions of the people accountable for creating these sexists images in the media. This method is known as deontology which focuses on the action itself and not the outcome since it cannot be accurately predicted. Deontology focuses on the fact that there are a set of rules that are inherently applied to society which includes respect towards each other. This objectifying advertisement doesn't give women the respect that they have the fundamental right to. It seems like most advertising firms have a long way to go before becoming ethical under any framework.