Original ad by Suitsupply:
In the current capitalist society, citizens are viewed primarily as consumers and are therefore constantly bombarded with media and advertisements encouraging them to spend money. Advertisements are often used to encourage people to consume products by convincing them that a certain product will make them better, more attractive, more likeable, or more powerful. However, the way these advertisement attempt to appeal to consumers can be problematic.
In this ad for Suitsupply, they have chosen solely white models. As a company that sells expensive business wear to people in professional careers, this is problematic because it implies that they think the majority of their consumers will be white. In addition to that, this ad depicts a white man in a position of dominance, kneeling above a woman and holding her in place.
In this ad, the woman is objectified and denied a sense of agency. She is not shown having any say over her movements, and is shown as being at the mercy of the man above her. In addition to what appears to be the romanticization of her sexual assault, her purpose in this ad is solely as an object of desire. Her right nipple is exposed while the man dominating her remains fully clothed, reaffirming his power over her. In this ad for a clothing brand, her outfit is not even being displayed clearly. Additionally, Suitsupply does not even make clothing for women, so this woman’s purpose in this ad is solely to exemplify her as a sex object that is white and traditionally feminine, labelling her as an accessory to the powerful white male.
In his dominant position, the white man is shown forcing open the legs of the woman. This can be construed as him being in control of her sexuality, and she is shown as being passive. This ad embodies sexual violence, as the man’s right hand in shown pushing the woman down and holding her in place. In this Suitsupply ad, it is not clear on whether the hand placement of the woman is an act of resistance or an act of lust; she is either reaching for his genitals, or attempting to push him away. This exemplifies rape culture, and the frequency of coercion being mistaken for foreplay. A common misconception is that even when women say no, they really mean yes and they just want to be talked into it.
Jammed ad by Claire Wanhella:
The majority of the time, people do not consciously take notice of the underlying message of advertisements, although they do absorb it unconsciously. For my jamming philosophy, I decided to change the ad to show what they seemed to be really advertising. The main focus of this ad was not suits; therefore, I thought it was inappropriate to label this as a clothing ad. Because of that, I replaces the words “Suitsupply” in the logo with the words “sexual violence”. The main theme in this advertisement is not suits; in fact, the suits are only partially visible. Instead, the idea being marketed is that women are objects to be dominated, and a white man in a suit is the ideal person to do so. My intention by replacing the logo is to show viewers that the white man dominating this woman is not something glamourous to aspire to be, and is instead sexually abusive.
Unfortunately, this problematic ad is not an anomaly. Women are often shown as accessories to men, and are sexually objectified in order to sell products that have nothing to do with the women involved. For my culture jam, I chose to replace the side menu offering different choices of clothing with the main themes that this advertisement projects. I chose the terms “rape culture, objectification of women, white hegemonic masculinity, sexual violence, and violence against women” because those are the main themes in the ad. The current side menu and logo are completely unrelated to the abhorrent ad they are accompanying. By replacing the side menu with terms relating to the action and underlying meaning of the advertisement itself, I aim to draw attention to the problematic nature of this advertisement and to draw attention to the ridiculousness of using an ad depicting these themes to sell clothing. By calling attention to the power dynamic, sexual violence, and objectification occurring in this ad, it can no longer simply be viewed as a sexy, surface level advertisement for business wear with beautiful models.