Culture Jam Project

The advertisement industry can be very useful in exemplifying the gender inequality in the sexual freedom that is allowed in society. This particular ad was posted internationally by Abercrombie and Fitch, a company that is well known for choosing specifically chiselled male models, whom often are required to promote the store by walking around shirtless. The ad shows a guy pulling his pants further down to just the limit of revealing it all for the busy city streets. The advertisement in particular shows little to no product, therefore it suggests that the company is trying to sell the idea of what it envisions its audience to be, and to a limit, should prefer to see. However, there is no public argument or questioning as to why the company is inappropriate with its advertisement by sexualizing the male figure for the purpose of promoting their brand. Furthermore, there is content in looking at a revealing male figure in public, but as soon as a woman is doing something of a similar sense, she is deemed to be enticing the male without consent and forcing them to feel uncomfortably sexual. What I mean by this is that there have been several complaints towards companies, often selling lingerie, concerning their advertisements being too revealing of women and therefore should be taken down due to its inappropriate display. This behaviour in turn affects everyday woman who choose to dress in a particularly revealing manner and are criticized and scolded for bearing too much in the publics eye. A prime example of this double standard is the strict rules that certain schools employ upon their females students, who may be asked to cover themselves up when the same rules don’t apply to the males. Due to the fact that this type of restrictive behaviour is implemented, generations grow up to see the excessive revealing of women in public as grotesque and inappropriate.

I chose this edit to exemplify the issues surrounding women culturally and often by law being prohibited from expressing themselves in a similar manner as men. An example of this is a woman’s ability to reveal her skin without some sort of judgment or “slut-shaming” involved. A big issue surrounding the freedom of exposure is a women’s ability to breastfeed freely in public. This is a necessary task for the sustenance of a child and even then it is considered to be an act that needs to be done privately due to its provocative showing of the breast and potential to sexually distract others in their surroundings. A surprising factor is that the majority of the public breastfeeding videos show other woman approaching the mothers to stop; this can be seen in the tagged video below. Today I had the opportunity to ask my mother, who was a new mom in India, if she ever breastfed in public, and why or why not. She said that she couldn’t because she was told it was shameful to reveal that much of yourself in public, however when asked if she saw another woman doing it would it make her mad she responded that it was something to feel proud of and saw no shame in feeding a baby. However, when I asked my sister, she said public breastfeeding was ok as long as the women covered up. I believe there is a lack of understanding between women who are mothers and women who aren’t and this can lead to the general population thinking it is acceptable to patronize women for being proud of revealing their body in any manner. Although there should be freedom among both genders to express their body as they see fit, it should be noted that intersectional feminists who advocate for freedom of body expression for all races and ethnicities may miss that there are often cultural and religious limitation. In order for us to move forward in accepting both gender bodies as equally acceptable in their display, it is essential we move past the stigma that a woman showing her body is not based off the intention to seduce neighbours and/or harass the public.