1. Copy of the original ad from Natan Jewelry. (1)
2. This advertisement depicts a sexist and materialistic means for men to identify women with. In the first panel, the man has a gift for the woman, who crosses her legs to signify a level of indifference. This panel in relation to the second panel suggest that her legs indicate a refused consent to sex with the suitor. In the second panel, the box is opened to expose a piece of jewelry featured from Natan, enabling the woman to open her legs to suggest a change of mind about sex.
When the idea of jewelry being given to a woman is associated with an increased liking to the suitor, the woman is objectified and put into a submissive and predictive role of being easily won over by money and materialistic things. This weans into a strong implication of expected reciprocation, as is problematic in modern society: a man may believe that if he were to gift an expensive piece of jewelry to this woman he is chasing, then she is obligated to return his affection and satisfy his sexual desires. In addition, the idea that women can be bought by these items simplifies them as a sex; men are traditionally expected to be providers and are automatically assumed as complex individuals with goals and dreams, yet this advertisement further perpetuates the idea that women by contrast are shallow and simple-minded with the sole goal of marrying and settling down.
3. Jammed ad.
4. The jammed advertisement reveals the subtly independent indifference of the woman being supposedly proposed to; her emotions are not impacted at all because the suitor has done nothing more than present a piece of jewelry to her. Perhaps she is happy and thrilled or unimpressed, but that depends on the relationship she has with the suitor. She does not open her legs for him because of the gift, because she is not won over by materialistic things and is not someone who will compromise her dignity and sexual integrity for shallow things. As a complex individual, she makes her own decisions that are not so easily wavered by someone else’s attempts for sexual reciprocation. From a more feminist perspective, there is so much more to relationships and interactions than material items and valuable things. Emotional, mental, and physical attraction are equally important to build a healthy connection between two individuals. The instantaneous placement of both parties into a dominative and submissive role is not necessarily the best beginning for a healthy and mutually respective relationship. To incorporate money and materialistic ideals into this may skew the priorities both parties may have in the relationships.
This advertisement also invokes the message Natan has spread with the original piece. Natan describes itself as “a fashion house founded by Edouard Vermeulen. We provide stylish & contemporary fashion for women”. (2) At the bottom, “we promote sexist & materialistic ideals of women” is added to contrast the alternative panels, but to clearly expose the lack of ethical and feminist consideration Natan has provided, despite being “for women”. Instead, the messages are really for men, and so the included statement is kept in the same vein for a male target audience, but shakes the entire industry of jewelry and fashion to make aware the connotations associated with certain material items and how marketing can exacerbate these circumstances for individual women and society as a whole.
1. Image: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/sexism10-520×366-300×211.jpg