Culture Jam Assignment
In this original advertisement, the socially constructed stereotypes assigned to men and women are extremely prevalent. Sitting in bed, enjoying a relaxing breakfast in bed are a man and woman. Their “desired” reading material is clearly shown in this picture and immediately draws your eye. The man is holding the financial review while the woman has chosen a Chanel book. Newspapers have a positive connotation in our society as keeping updated on world events and trends is respected. Conversely, fashion publications lack a sense of purpose and importance. These reading choices decided upon by the Sofitel Hotel play into the common stereotype that men are more likely to be interested in the economy, news, and academic topics while women would rather read about materialistic things such as fashion. While, of course, there is nothing wrong with a anyone wanting to read about materialistic topics, the advertisement undermines women by suggesting they couldn’t or wouldn’t also want to read the newspaper in the morning.
The issue here is that the interests and abilities of women are being reduced to frivolous, unimportant levels in direct comparison to the seemingly intellectually superior man. It is a very problematic scene as a simple subject as reading preferences are often a starting ground for assuming one’s aspirations, career, and intellect. Based off of what they are each reading, people may draw assumptions that the woman isn’t as motivated, successful, or as smart as her male companion. Maybe she doesn’t care as much about the world as she does about her own appearance. It might even make you go as far to think that he financially supports her, has brought her to the hotel, and has more going for him. While this ad might have been for breakfast in a hotel, all I can see is the reinforcement of perpetuating inequality experienced by women.
In my jammed version of the ad, I aimed to accentuate the stereotype and ultimately its ridiculousness. While one might argue it is harmless to have different reading materials, I would counter that had the choices been reversed, people would think it was ludicrous. As well, it would have been easier to have them each holding a newspaper, yet they made the conscious effort to include the fashion book. This demonstrates that there are still many double standards and inequalities existing between men and women.
The first thing I edited in the ad was the text. I created a sarcastic menu to highlight the absurdity of the stereotypical roles this ad was trying to sell. First, I used simple alternating lines starting with his and her further compare and contrast the couple. “Research” is in quotations to draw attention to the fact that the Chanel book is not intellectual or substantial. In direct contrast to the Financial Review, it does not contain any knowledge and belittles the woman’s capabilities. The next phrase “His credit card, her pretty face” is commenting on the extrapolation of their roles in their relationship. As I mentioned before, reading choice is a basis for judging other areas of someone’s life. Therefore, if he is reading the financial review in his free time, it is second nature to assume he has a successful, well-paying career. When his partner is mirrored beside him, it casts an unflattering light on her potential career and successes. My words call out the foolishness that all she brings to the relationship is her appearance and that is why she is holding the Chanel book instead of the Financial Review. Finally, to further emphasize the materialistic nature attributed to the woman, I added a Tiffany’s gift box and diamond earring. I hope with my jammed version of the ad, I have been able to showcase how such a simple detail can represent such a greater meaning and highlight the discrimination women still face today.