Culture jam assignment


This advertisement is from the newspaper LesEchos, one of the best-selling daily publications in France. The intension for this image is to draw public attention to the child labours involved in the fashion industry. In the picture, a lady is trying on a sneaker, and several shoe cases are piled up by her side. A line on the top saying:”NUMBERS OF CHILD LABOUR IN APPAREL INDUSTRY”. The shoe cases are labelled by where they were produced: India, Pakistan and Indonesia. These countries are reported to have children working in the factories. The reason behind this may partially due to the property of the modern fashion industry. Under the influence of “fast fashion”, people keep feeling “out of trend” and purchasing new styles every seasons. The growing demand from consumers promotes the expansion of the manufacture factories in developing countries, leading to more child labours being hired. This image serves as a public service advertisement(PSA) appealing the public to lower the purchasing rate of apparels. However, it includes a female figure trying on shoes to represent the major consumer population. I found this advertisement sexist because it implies that women are all about shoes, and females should be responsible for the misery of those poor kids. I disagree with this assumption because all of us are equally responsible for this “fast fashion” phenomenon.


Les Echos’ ad makes me realized that many advertisement nowadays are passing “hidden” messages to the public. This particular one points out that females should be blamed for over-purchasing and its outcomes. Male readers may react to it thinking that they are not part of this. “It is all women’s fault. They just love shopping” I added some words into the original images, saying” WOMEN ARE THE ONES TO BE BLAMED”. The sentence points out what this ad is implying. I hope my jammed version of image could deliver a message that it is not fair to link females to shopaholics. If women equals to shopaholics, then females are the ones to be blamed for many things, such as illegal leather and fur trade, illegal hunting, pollution, waste and so on. Is this fair? Absolutely not! Dealing with global issues involves the contributions from both genders, because we are all responsible.


The next step, I further changed the ad by replacing the lady to a regular household wardrobe. The wardrobe in the figure is clearly filled with clothes and shoes from a couple. It is shocking that two people need so many outfits. Moreover, most of the apparels are from the same season and of similar colour as well as styles. This wardrobe is just a common wardrobe in everyone’s home, without blaming a certain population. These changes could solve the sexist problem by adding male elements into the PSA, encouraging both genders to take actions to fight for the kids under poverty. I saved the words: “NUMBERS OF CHILD LABOUR IN APPAREL INDUSTRY” on the top of the image to point out this appealing. However, I also removed those countries’ names because child labour problems are not restricted to simply three countries. With these changes, both genders are included. With the help from women and men, we could make a difference.