by Sonia Toor
Why is it that whenever a woman is portrayed in an expensive ad, her body is used always inferior?
Over the past years, Dolce&Gabbana have developed an image which is notorious for degrading women. In the image we see above, a woman is lying on her back with high heels, wearing swim-suit; yet, in the reality most women would not be laying in swimsuit in front of a group of men who wear suits. We can even see the sexism from the gender ratio. There is one woman surrounded by four men. The initial question is for whom this image created?
The company becomes able to persuade consumers to buy their product through displaying these images, making people to think that they will automatically become “wanted” for the opposite gender. It’s portraying the image of “becoming sexier and getting more men” for women, whereas it shows men as becoming a “chick magnet” for men. To illustrate, the target group of this ad is the younger generation, who are very concerned about their image and how others perceive them. So, what is this advertisement trying to say? Wear D&G and you’ll be able to attract the opposite gender…
Multi-million dollar corporations pay for individuals to create these ads for consumers. Many people wonder why these corporations are still creating these ads, although the sexism in these images is outrageous. As consumers, we respond back to these sexist print ads positively by purchasing their goods more; therefore, allowing Dolce&Gabbana to think we -as the society members and consumers- are ensorcelled with this imagery. From the point of the companies, the fact of portraying woman as inferior and degradation of women allow their brand to be liked by consumers.
As long as the society keeps its silence to those ads, the companies keep reproducing this image as a consequent. Throughout the history, patriarchal society has been treading the oppression over women and still shaping the gender roles, which assume the men has privilege and women are beings for the men’s needs and so on.
Take a minute and think about print ads that you have seen in the locals malls or even bus loops. Does this image ring a bell?
This image has become widely known in the public, who use public transit. If you look at the image the first thing you see is a woman’s breasts. Then, you glance at the image and the capital letters of “DD” catches your attention. The image portrays a woman in a sexual way in itself, aiming to talk about her breasts by mentioning and capitalizing the “DD” which is subliminal advertising.
Why is it okay for us to see these images, and then not to do anything? Has it just become normal to turn a blind eye towards such images? Or, do we think its okay for the public to be displayed and taught about sexism and gender roles discrimination? The core actor is the society. All we are allowing corporations to take over our society. The corporations are simply giving the consumers what they want to see. It is the society, who allows such an understanding of the corporations to come into play, and it depends on the society to change the way we see gender roles and eliminate sexism in our public areas.
Overall, we are left with the simple question: Who is to Blame for Sexism in the society?
Sonia Toor 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