Objectification of Women in the Fashion Industry
by schoolboychu on February 27, 2017 - 5:20pm
Objectification of Women in the Fashion Industry
Alexander Wang is one of the greatest designers today with styles ranging from edgy streetwear to stunning evening gowns to a variety of different handbags. He is currently the creative director for his own brand Alexander Wang. With his outstanding credentials, he is also hosting his own fashion show in this year’s New York Fashion Week. In the fashion industry, aside from quality itself, marketing is the most important tool to become and maintain a successful brand. In order to make an advertisement memorable and be bought, the creator needs to push a certain amount of social boundaries. Sometimes, they are overdone and when that happens, the focal point is lost. In this case were talking about Alexander Wang’s denim line.
In this ad, Wang pushed its limit of presenting his new collection to something completely different. In this picture, we see a girl touching herself with Alexander Wang’s jeans pulled midway down her thighs. This picture depicts a very gender-biased message: in order to feel sexy in these jeans, they must be undone and off. This is throughout most of the pictures taken for this collection. In this article written about the denim collection, “But his new denim ads, which feature not only a naked woman but one who appears to be touching herself and are meant to “provoke,” read more like yet another cheap attempt at using the female body to sell a product than anything else.” (Feldman 2014) The article further proves the point that the fashion industry uses various forms of one single tactic: objectifying women. Although these ads are meant to attract attention, they’re mostly seen as inappropriate.
These ads are extremely harmful to our youths. In “Miss Representation” a Netflix documentary about the ads and how women are portrayed. One of the things mentioned is the need for young women to have strong female role models and the serious lack thereof in modern media. (Newsom 2011) In this ad made for Alexander Wang’s denim, it objectifies the female body. Without showing the face of the model, it subconsciously allows the viewer to place herself in that woman’s position and by extension, objectifying herself. Since the ad itself is quite erotic, depicting a woman masturbating, it sends the blatant message to viewers: that women are meant as objects of sexual desire. If the world were, to be honest with itself, this is detrimental to our young women. Young women look up to these luxury brands and adjust themselves according to how they can be appealing and attractive to men. If a young woman were to look at this advertisement and tell herself that being naked and touching herself was the only way to attract attention, it would be highly inappropriate.
Personally, I would avoid to the nudity entirely. I would want to feature celebrities in the denim. Just like in this year Calvin Klein ad where they had celebrities wearing their products. Having a celebrity or someone you aspire to wear the very same jeans you could buy yourself makes them that more enticing. This effect has been proven. It is called the Kanye effect. It is coined such a name simply because Kanye himself is involved; whenever he wears something, the demand for that product increases significantly. Therefore, for Alexander Wang’s denim, the naked woman can be replaced by a famous role model, someone such as Kerry Washington, Tracy Ellis Ross or even Beyoncé. There is a huge difference between sexy and objectifying. Each of these aforementioned women has been known to do sexy very well and have all been portrayed as strong-minded women. Featuring women like them in his ads, Wang would have not only included beautiful women but women of role model quality.
In conclusion, the thought behind the marketing of a big brand needs to be extremely thorough. These ads reach a wide audience; many are magazine-reading young girls. The portrayal of the female body to young viewers can have a serious impact of self-esteem as well as self-worth. If women can’t be portrayed as anything other than objects of sexual desire, then what else can she be? Big corporations including Alexander Wang need to be aware of the kind of social impact their ads have on the public, especially in the generations to come.
Feldman, Jamie. "Alexander Wang's New Denim Ads Are More Offensive And Tired Than 'Provocative' (NSFW)." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 03 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
Newsom, Jennifer S, Regina K. Scully, Geralyn W. Dreyfous, Sarah E. Johnson, Jessica Congdon, Eric Holland, Svetlana Cvetko, Caroline Heldman, Condoleezza Rice, Dianne Feinstein, Dolores Huerta, Geena Davis, Gloria Steinem, Jackson Katz, Jane Fonda, Jean Kilbourne, Jennifer L. Pozner, Katie Couric, Lisa Ling, Meenakshi G. Durham, Margaret Cho, Martha M. Lauzen, Nancy Pelosi, Pat Mitchell, Rachel Maddow, and Rosario Dawson. Miss Representation. Sausalito, Calif.: Ro*co Films Educational, 2011.