Would You Like Some Object with That Woman?
by dosomerlyf on September 26, 2016 - 3:29pm
In this advertisement, 5 men who fit the alpha-male category are surrounding a woman who is physically pinned down to the floor. The man who is dominating her is shirtless, consequently attributing a sexual connotation to his actions, while 4 other men in provocative clothing stand watching them with a brooding, erotic look in their eye. Starring in an Haute-Couture fashion brand such as D&G, the female model is flawlessly upholding a high-fashion aesthetic; thin silhouette with sexy curves, beautiful face and has skin that shines just as bright as her voluminous hair. She lies on the floor as the public can’t quite decipher her expression; her body language indicates submission while her face remains blank and impossible to read. The degrading manner in which she is being forced into submission while the other men seem to enjoy it, gives hint at a gang rape. "Because of the passive and helpless position of the woman relative to the men around her, (the image evokes) the representation of abuse or the idea of violence towards her," the IAP said, in light of the sexist message this 2007 advertisement conveys, it has been banned from all Italian Publications, according to the national.
In no way can this ad be misconstrued, the gendered message is quite clear; the woman is an absent-minded, beautiful object, deemed to be at the mercy of the hegemonic man’s desire simply to maintain their inherited roles of patriarchal dominance. Just as Andrew Cortese put it “In differentiating masculinity from femininity, images of aggression and violence (including violence against women) arm men with self-esteem, security and a socially validated masculine role.” (Cortese 84) Normalizing violent masculinity is disconcerting as it influences a culture of shaping social attitudes in a way that is detrimental to the women’s physical and mental well-being. The model is dressed up in sexual lingerie, has flirty makeup and strappy heels on; she exists in this picture solely to be the men’s sex object. The unfortunate consequence of “sex sells” is a younger generation who looks up to these fashion brands and models, forever internalizing the fact that being a man’s object is the norm in our society and that striving to conform to these notions, usually “result[s] in depression, eating disorders, and poor academic performance.” (Cortese 76) Being sexy and looking like these women in ads becomes a big concern for young female adolescents; it trivializes intelligence and self-empowerment and instead prioritizes striving to attain men’s approval over their own well-being and self-love.
The most dangerous part of this advertisement is that it not only condones rape culture, it glorifies it. In this image, the women is blank; which can also be interpreted as intoxication (whether voluntary or not). Consent was definitely not the message the advertisers wanted to convey, instead they turned a violation of a women’s dignity into a complimentary banner, meant to turn on the passer by-ers with it’s beautiful models and attract consumers to their brand. This is a concern because this advertisement subliminally sends a message to men that it’s okay to force down a woman without her consent, assert your masculine dominance to assure she has no way out and then pursue to do whatever it is the mind can come up with. According to Benson, Charlton and Goodhart, “One in twelve [men] said they would rape if they could get away with it” (Cortese 81) and this advertisement multiplies that fantasy exponentially.
In my opinion, this ad has a heinous message behind it and cuts deep in the minds of young adolescents. During an adolescent’s coming of age, they shouldn’t be faced with publicity like this that shapes their minds and behaviours.This brand’s target demographic are wealthy, stylish, power hungry people in their late teens and 20’s and this ad does little to successfully draw in these type of people. The first thing I would do to fix this ad would be to elevate the woman and put her in standing position for her to be at the same height as the men, I would put 3 woman and 3 males to equalize the gender discrepancy in the picture, and I would display the most luxurious bags and clothing that they have on these models. This way D&G can capture the attention of their onlookers in a tasteful and respectful way, focusing more on the sophistication and exclusivity of the high-fashion brand than on the raunchy, sexist image Dolce & Gabbana wrongfully displayed.
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.
Rome, By: From Correspondents in. "'Gang Rape' Dolce and Gabbana Advert Banned." NewsComAu. National, 7 Mar. 2007. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.