My Analysis of Original Advertisement:
This image of model, Kendall Jenner, was used in a Calvin Klein campaign called “I___ in #mycalvins.” There are many more photos like this one that depict women and men as sexualized, objectified, and exploited. Although #mycalvins is associated with under garments for men and women, the advertisements for it present men and women in sexualized situations. Kendall Jenner is only twenty years old, and yet she is being portrayed as an object to look at, touch, and admire. From reading through different opinions on this new Calvin Klein campaign from articles such as”Calvin Klein’s Hypersexual New Ad Campaign Is Creeping People Out, Just like in the Old Days,” by Marc Bain and “Calvin Klein Ad That Shows an Upskirt Shot of Model’s Underwear Sparks Outrage,” by Nicole Bitette, there is a debate on whether or not images such as this one are giving the model control or victimizing them. I think that for me, the age of the model in this image is a factor that makes me feel like it is sexualizing her instead of giving her a voice. I think that the situation of having two men beside and behind one woman also objectifies the woman or the men depending on how you look at it. From one perspective, the woman could be seen as being objectified because she is between two men and is exposed. From another perspective, the men could be seen as objects because the woman is not looking at either of them and is presumably pushing them away. Each man’s face is also hidden which suggests they are being objectified. However, from the statement in white “I am strong in #mycalvins,” this advertisement could also be seen as the woman being strong enough to say no to these two men. I think that this is probably a view some people would have, but I view the image as exploiting all three models, objectifying the men, and sexualizing the woman. Sex is known to sell in advertising and I think that this image is trying to do exactly that. Whether or not Kendall Jenner feels strong in her Calvin Klein underwear, she is being presented as a body in an image. Her face is shown, but she does not look directly at the camera and so the focus is not on her eyes or face, but her highlighted body amongst the shadows.
The message of models’ taking control of their own lives portrayed in this advertisement is a false one. Although Kendall Jenner is presented as having agency because of her “I” statement, her body is what is shown off. I think that the message behind this image is what needs to be addressed in culture jamming it. I also think that the placement of the models is important to address and the lighting of the image. This image, as well as other Calvin Klein images, does not have to sexualize, objectify, and/or exploit models to present them with agency and choices.
My Jammed Advertisement
My culture jamming of the original Calvin Klein image presents the problems with sexualization, objectification, and exploitation. I first decided to fade the image. I did this because I think that it attempts to show the models as being all on the same level, instead of highlighting Kendall Jenner. I think that it also shows how they are all misrepresented because their bodies are what is being emphasized rather than their personality, choices, and individual agency. I decided to add text to the post, but leaving the original text behind. I did this because I think Kendall Jenner’s statement does give her a sense of agency because of the “I,” but I do not think it does so enough because the text is very small when compared to the rest of the image. I decided to add the words sexualized, objectified, and exploited in larger faded black text because I wanted the words to stand out. I think that people need to be aware that Calvin Klein advertisements are hypersexualizing, objectifying and exploiting models through their placement in images and by emphasizing only their bodies in order to sell their product. I think that it is important to think about the message the original advertisement gives. It emphasizes the body sexually while neglecting individual agency. I think my advertisement would make people stop and think more about advertisements that only emphasize bodies. I think that these kinds of advertisements have become normalized, and my culture jam advertisement’s message is that these kinds of ads have a destructive message that needs to be recognized and changed in the future.
Bain, Marc. “Calvin Klein’s Hypersexual New Ad Campaign Is Creeping People Out, Just like in the Old Days.” Quartz. N.p., 12 May 2016, http://qz.com/682846/calvin-kleins-hypersexual-new-ad-campaign-is-creeping-people-out-just-like-the-old-days/. Accessed 18 Oct 2016.
Bitette, Nicole. “Calvin Klein Ad That Shows an Upskirt Shot of Model’s Underwear Sparks Outrage.” NY Daily News. 2016 NYDailyNews, 12 May 2016, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/calvin-klein-fire-controversial-upskirt-underwear-ad-article-1.2634590. Accessed 18 Oct 2016.