If You Like It Then You Should Of Put A Ring On It
by 1010710 on February 24, 2017 - 5:10pm
The Objectification and Sexualization of Women in Natan Couture's Advertisements
Many companies use sex to sell their products but often cross a line and objectify women. Natan Couture is a high-end fashion company known for their expensive female clothes and jewelry, particularly their diamond engagement rings. This company, founded by Edouard Vermeulen, prides itself on “honoring traditions and respecting fashion” (Natan). Despite this quotation being advertised on their website, it is evident given their various campaigns that the respect this company claims to uphold for fashion does not extend to their depiction of women. In one particular advertisement for their engagement ring collection, a man is holding out a box to a female who is sitting with her legs crossed. In the next photo, both the box and female’s legs are open. This advertisement showcases the only “important” part of her body for the male; what is between her legs.
This advertisement is harmful in a variety of ways and reinforces several negative gendered messages. Firstly, it showcases men’s ability to buy sex from women. While there is no direct payment of money being demonstrated, it is understood that due to the expensive ring presented, the woman is allowing the man entrance for sex. This advertisement legitimizes the idea that men have the ability to buy sex from a woman. This can be translated to less expensive objects, such as drinks or a meal, but still reinforce the same sense of self-entitlement. This both devalues women because men view women as an object that can be bought rather than a person and devalues marriage because it considers sex to be the most important aspect of marriage rather than love. Furthermore, this photo depicts men with the power and women obeying the man’s wishes to have sex.
Within our society, this advertisement is concerning for both men and women. When men see this advertisement, it can be misleading in the sense that men believe that their economic status determines their ability to buy sex from women. This photo also enforces the male dominance and control in a relationship, which in turn leads men to believe that women ought be passive and obedient (Cortese 10). With this in mind, this notion of self-entitlement can become dangerous when women refuse to have sex despite being bought fancy jewelry, a drink and items of this nature. Feeling deceived and cheated, men may turn to violence if they feel their attempt and money spent was wasted.
Furthermore, by showing and propagating the sexual element of marriage, this advertisement makes the assumption that men ought value sex rather than the emotional connection between both individuals, i.e. the only reason he is proposing is for sex. This picture dictates to men what they should expect from a woman they intend on marrying. This further reinforces the gender stereotypes we associate with men (sexual and dominant). This poses a problem when a man doesn’t fit into this idea and values the emotional connection within a relationship. He may feel insecure and inadequate compared to society’s expectations. Moreover, he may feel as though he must try to fit into these stereotypes, which could lead to expectations and aggression explained previously.
Women can interpret this advertisement as parts of their bodies having a price value in the eyes of men. This is degrading towards women as they are no longer given a personality, or in this case a face (Cortese 11). When women are constantly objectified in mainstream media, it becomes difficult for society to break away from these stereotypes and give women an equal chance within society as political figures and leaders (Newsom). In this particular advertisement by Natan, by sexualizing and degrading women, it becomes difficult as a society to not view women as submissive to men’s sexual desires. This translates into everyday society where women are viewed beneath and at men’s disposal rather than as independent, non-sexualized beings. Furthermore, this picture increases the notion that women are expected to have sex because they have been bought an expensive object. This is problematic for women if they feel pressured and forced by men or do not feel comfortable having sex based on being bought an object.
This advertisement can be altered in a variety of ways simply by incorporating the woman and man’s bodies as well as giving both individuals a personality. Marriage is meant to celebrate the love and emotional connection between two individuals rather than a sexual aspect. Companies such as Ritani and Tiffany and Co. use advertisements depicting young happy couples that seem to be deeply in love rather than focusing on the sex aspect of their relationship, as showcased in Natan’s advertisements. The benefits of these advertisements are that there is a mutual respect between the couple and the women aren’t viewed merely for the purpose of sex.
Cortese, Anthony, “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising.” Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, Third Edition pp. 57-89, New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008. Gendered World Views, pp. 9-25.
“Natan Couture.” Natan Couture, natan.be.
Newsom, Jennifer S., director. Miss Representation. The Representation Project, 2011.
“Ritani.” Ritani, www.ritani.com.
“Tiffany & Co.” Tiffany & Co, www.tiffany.ca.