Calvin Klein launched their 2016 advertisement campaign by showcasing several ads that incorporated their slogan “I ____ in #mycalvins”. The first ad on the left shows a full body shot of a woman posing seductively in revealing clothes. The second ad on the right shows a head shot of a male posing fully clothed without hinting that he is being sexualized in any way. The female model’s slogan states that she seduces in her Calvin Klein undergarments which shows that her purpose is to be portrayed as a sexual gratifying object for the person she is seducing. The ad shows the model’s entire body in its original colour so that the audience can focus on the outline of her body. The male model’s slogan states that his purpose is to make money in his Calvin Klein clothes which depicts an image that men must make money in order to have power, influence, and respect. In this ad, the colour scheme is red to make the model seem more fierce and intense in contrast with the soft colours of the female model.
The problem with this ad is that it contributes to the ongoing problem of harmful gender stereotypes that often objectifies a woman’s body in a sexual manner while portraying men as dominating. A report by the American Psychological Association found that girls are more likely to be depicted in a sexual manner than boys (APA, 2007). This would usually include being dressed in revealing clothes and using certain postures or facial expressions that may seem erotic. Calvin Klein specifically, has been known to hyper sexualize their models based on their previous ads. What makes this problem stand out is that the company are often seen collaborating with big stars such as Klara Kristen and Fetty Wap as shown in the advertisement above. The consumers of these advertisement often includes teenagers who may admire these celebrities and thus, value the message that these advertisements may represent. In this case, these young consumers may be influenced by the gender stereotypes which depicts that women are valued based on their appearances while men are valued on their ability to make money.
In the jammed version of this advertisement, I zoomed in on the photo of the female model so that the focus would be on her face and not her body or what she is wearing. Additionally, I altered the colour of the photo to make it red so that she would look just as fierce as the male model on the right. Lastly, I changed the slogan on the left advertisement from “I seduce in #mycalvins”, to “I also make money in #mycalvins”. By changing the advertisement this way, the two models can be seen in an egalitarian view as the two advertisements are almost identical.
My intent of jamming the advertisement this way was to change it so that the female model would be viewed in the same manner as the male model. Rather than sexualizing the male model to match the female, I wanted to empower the female model as the original ad did for the male model. By cropping out most of the female model’s body, we can no longer see that she is wearing revealing clothes or that she is posing seductively. This will result in consumers not being able to objectify her in a sexual manner as the focus is now on her face. The word “also”, was put into the left advertisement to address the outdated traditional gender roles. The “also” states that women are just as capable as men at making money and that their purpose is not to be an accessory for men.
Unfortunately, there is a underlying reason behind why females tend to be hyper sexualized compared to males. The media industry is still highly male-dominated, thus; most advertisements that is put out are usually viewed through a heterosexual male’s lens (Mills, 2017). The constant output of these advertisements of women being objectified has led to a cultural norm where women need to show more skin than a man would to sell the same exact product. By jamming this advertisement, I have reconstructed it so that the female model and male model are viewed in the exact same manner, selling the exact same product.
American Psychological Association,Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report-full.pdf
Mills, E. (2017). “Women are still portrayed through the lens of an old, male, pale, stale establishment”. Retrieved from https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/interview-with-eleanor-mills/.