When it comes to advertising, women are treated purely as an object to sexualise and sell a product. Advertisements around the world often show women naked, vulnerable or with their legs spread wide open. Women are more than objects and should be portrayed as real people with equal rights to men in every aspect of life. For Assessment 3 I have been focusing on the objectification of women in Fashion Advertising. Gathering evidence of the double standards in the fashion advertising world made it easy and intriguing creating my form of visual activism.
For my visual piece, I have created an A3 poster showing images I found from fashion advertisements objectifying women. The caption over the image states WOMEN > OBJECTS. Minimal words are used so that the viewer of the poster can look at the collaged pictures and make up their own mind about what is going on. This poster works in a similar effect to signs in protests such as OWS as mentioned in ‘How to See the World’, “These signs were not shown in a gallery, but were looked at by people who may not even have been aware of such spaces” (Mirzoeff, 708).
It is shocking when all of these images are together how common it is for women to be objectified and sexualised to increase sales of a product. These images are allowed to be shown publicly meaning our children, younger siblings and grandparents will be exposed to these also. This can have a negative effect on the way women view themselves and the way men view the women around them. Many of the images show men in suits looking strong and powerful and women in no more than their underwear looking sick and frail. This gives the wrong idea to the viewer that women are much below men and that men can always overpower women. This was depicted perfectly in the short clip showing 8-year-old children voicing what they saw in advertisements showing men vs. women (Youtube).
When interviewed Tom Ford said, “you can’t show male nudity in our culture in the way you can show female nudity. We’re very comfortable as a culture exploiting women, but not men. But I don’t think of it as exploitation” (Independent, 2015). This comment sums up the blasé connotations associated with sexism. The designer went on to say “He often thinks about feminism” but feminism is all about equality and his statement just confirmed inequality. Ford displays himself and our culture saying that this problem is not a problem at all. His statements are ironic and laughable.
Sexism and the objectification of women is a serious world issue and needs to be recognised and solved immediately.
I have decided to gather as many images of women being objectified in fashion advertisements and collage them all together to create a poster to display in public. I found this interview with Tom Ford speaking about how he really considers feminism etc. when designing and choosing advertisements. This is contrary to what he publicly posts and the irony in this interview is laughable. I will consider using some of his quotes in the collage also.
Madonna Badger Launches Campaign to Fight Sexism in Advertising
All of these articles show the objectification of women in advertisements. Similarly to the Madonna Badger video I want to gather images from the most objectifying advertisements and create a collage to place in a public area. All of the images together will create a true sense of how women are portrayed and how wrong this is. I found similar videos of women speaking over advertisements in disgrace with what the image show and this was another creative example of visual activism against this world issue. In reading the interview with Tom Ford the irony withing his statements became laughable. He says “you can’t show male nudity in our culture in the way you can show female nudity. We’re very comfortable as a culture exploiting women, but not men. But I don’t think of it as exploitation.” I don’t think he really thought this statement through as this is sexist and proves the double standards his images portray. Just because it’s a common theme it does not mean it is right. His ability to say this publicly and portray what he does in his advertisements confuses me. These quotes would be an interesting addition to my collage image to show irony and our societies ability to brush these issues off like it’s acceptable.
When watching the movie, ‘Picture Me’ (2009) it was really interesting to learn about the way the models themselves are treated. At one point a woman speaks about being 16 and going to a shoot and being asked to get naked which she did. The photographer then got naked also and was getting the model to touch him inappropriately. The model recalled going home and crying to her boyfriend and refusing to shoot with this photographer ever again. This shows how these images turn out the way they do. This is how the fashion industry treats young women and this proves the inequality in fashion.
Looking more into the idea of putting clothing onto scantily clad women in advertisements is going to be a bit difficult as there aren’t many of these advertisements around wellington at the moment. I was also thinking of making a poster or series of posters that could highlight women in advertisements and make the viewer think about these kinds of issues.