by Jaclyn Vandenkerkhof
Every day we are all bombarded with messages, ads and commercials that tell women to be sexy and that women are only worth the sum of their body parts. The shoe ads for Marc Jacobs are no different. These ads do not contain any words and they do not need to, the message is very clear. The subtext of the article is that women lay around in their air bottom less wearing expensive shoes.
This message is made for women who read fashion magazine and have the finances to purchase these designer shoes. The people who can afford these shoes can afford the luxury of free time to wear the shoes and lay around with their legs in the air. Is that what rich white beautiful people do? The message is also for women who read the magazines and want to be the beautiful white rich women. The ads only show one group of people and that is white women. It completely ignores other racial groups. While doing my research I noticed Marc Jacob ads only show white models.
The ads trigger an emotional response that most people are not aware of. For some people they can trigger feeling of inadequacy which then triggers them to buy the shoes and then maybe they can fill the void they unconsciously feel.
In the ads above the main focus are the girl’s legs and the fact that they are in the air and that she is bottomless. The fact that the focus of the ad is on the women’s legs create the dismemberment of women’s bodies. In most sexist ads women are chopped up and only body parts are in the ads, not the whole women. The ads are for shoes but the focus is not on the shoes themselves but the legs in the shoes.
The ads also show women posed in a sexual position which hyper sexualizes them. They make eye contact with the camera making the suggestion that they are waiting for you, the audience. This mediates violence against women because the women are their waiting for a man to come and have his way. The message to men is that women are yours to do whatever you want to them.
This ad has the same idea about dismembering women’s body and that women are only body parts. At least the other ads were advertising shoes, this ads is just advertising the brand. But what do women’s bare have to do with the Marc Jacobs brand? This is also an example of hyper sexualisation of women. Overall these ads make women objects to be possessed by men just like the shoes.
It is important to understand and realize the messages behind the ads because society needs to be aware of the latent messages. The more people that are aware of the messages then the more power we have to change the way media represent women. People need to take action and do their part to bring awareness into their communities and change the system.
Jaclyn Vandenkerkhof is participating in Violence, Media Representations and Families a media literacy program joint initiative between Kwantlen Polytechnic University Sociology Department, First Voices and Battered Women’s Support Services