Is this the right way to handle such an offensive thing?
If you open any magazine, you’ll be overwhelmed with ads selling luxury items like watches, cars, and high-end fashion. If a man is being featured in the pictorial ad, you may notice a beautiful woman draped over him like a piece of clothing. These kinds of ads are clear attempts at objectifying women, making them seem less like people with feelings of their own and more like accessories to a luxurious lifestyle.
Typically, you won’t see men in the same demeaning position. However, one clothing company has chosen to put men in said position just to see how people would react to it. Some viewers love it, while others are quite appalled.
Women Taking Over
The women’s suit-making company Suistudio decided to do a role-reversal in their most recent ad campaign entitled “Not Dressing Men.” The ads makes a point about sexism in advertisements, showing women playing more dominant roles over unclothed men. The men are featured as mere sexual objects to the fashionable and fierce women.
While some see it as a way to talk about sexism in ads, others are complaining that the ads are simply perpetuating the use of sexism to sell products. Suistudio vice president Kristina Barricelli said in an email to Upworthy, “There is nothing wrong with s*x, the n*ked human body, and the inclusion of that in a campaign. S*x is a big part of fashion. The problem is that in recent history, we haven’t seen a n*ked man objectified in the background. How strange! Why not?”
Suistudio’s campaign has its fans. Instagram user @kphoenix_artistry said, “This ad campaign is genius. How many times have we seen a woman’s legs only or her bottom as a prop in men’s ad campaigns? All is fair in love and fashion.” User @mpa2000 was less enthused, saying, “Wow if that was a guy sitting above a woman like that, this account would be suspended and Social Media would light up with how demeaning it is to women.”
Not an Object
Filmmaker Jean Kilbourne talked about the objectification of women in ads during a 2015 TED Talk, and it illustrates how the men in Suistudio’s ads are being used. She said:
“Women’s bodies are dismembered in ads, in ad after ad, for all kinds of products, and sometimes the body is not only dismembered, it’s insulted. The body language of women and girls remains passive, vulnerable, submissive, and very different from the body language of men and boys. Probably the best way to illustrate that is to put a man in a traditionally feminine pose: It becomes obviously trivializing and absurd.”
Badgers and Winters ad agency co-founder Madonna Badger created a campaign called #WomenNotObjects in 2016 to show how sexualized ads can be demeaning to women. She extended the idea to men as well, saying, “Agencies create advertising that promotes not only the product, but also the people who make it.”
“Ads should never ‘use people’ or take advantage of women and men in any way, shape or form,” she continued. “It should never show people as objects that have NO power NO possibility and certainly are NOT equals.”
Do you think that Suistudio’s ad campaign is a step in the right direction for equality or is it just a lewd way to sell clothes? Let us know what you think about it in the comments and SHARE this story!