Dressed For Sexess
by Batman on February 14, 2016 - 9:40pm
Tom Ford, a notable fashion designer, has built his name in the high fashion industry by offering top of the line designer clothing and accessories. The attached image is an advertisement released by the Tom Ford label. This ad depicts a man dressed in formal clothing with his slicked back hair being combed by a naked woman. His formal clothing suggests he is dressed for work, unlike the woman whose is represented as a sexual object. She is completely nude and wearing a large amount of makeup, is tanned, and has clearly had her hair done by a professional. She is very thin and is combing the man’s hair ever so gently. Although she has no relation to the product being sold, this naked woman plays a key role in the advertising strategy used by Tom Ford. She catches the attention of male consumers and makes them believe that wearing Tom Ford clothing is the only way to be with such a woman. In essence, the message being portrayed is that men who wear Tom Ford will have sex with gorgeous models.
It is images like these in media, which portray the “ideal body image,” that make many women to believe that to be considered beautiful they must meet these unattainable standards. As mentioned in Miss Representation, these unrealistic standards are the cause of the growing percentage of psychological disorders among teenage girls (Newsom). Many young women resort to anorexia and bulimia because it seems like the only possible way for them to emulate the models they see in the media. This is partially due to the fact that the average model weighs 23% less than the average female, and on top of that, images in the media are edited to make these extremely thin models even slimmer (Cortese 60).
Moreover, this ad also conveys messages on the role of women in society and their relationships with men. By portraying a naked woman combing a man’s hair, it suggests that one of the roles of women in our society is to serve men. This is very troubling due to the fact that beginning at a young age, children are exposed to these kinds of images and without even realising they begin to believe that what is being portrayed is true. Ads like this one encourage the sexual objectification of women and, as a result, rape culture. By objectifying women, adverts like these support and even encourage violence and sexual aggression against women. If it is a woman’s job to serve men, then how is it wrong for a man to rape a woman? The advertisement also suggests that a beautiful woman is not only attractive, but also a servant to men, which causes young girls to feel like second-class citizens and young boys to feel like women are an inferior species.
There are many problems associated with this ad, however it would not be very difficult to fix it. The goal of all ads is to sell a product, which is why Tom Ford should put more focus on their product instead of having a nude woman be the center of attention. By either removing the woman completely, or dressing her in Tom Ford clothing, many issues would be resolved. Additionally, she should be portrayed as an equal to the man, rather than a servant, which would enforce messages of gender equality. Finally, a model should be chosen that look like an average person, as opposed to a model who is portraying a nearly unattainable beauty standard.
Cortese, Anthony, “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising,” in Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, Third Edition (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008): 57-89.
Miss Representation. Dir. Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Girl’s Club Entertainment. 2011. Film.
Tom Ford. The Fashionisto. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.