Tights anyone?

American Apparel is notorious for their hyper-sexualized ads which exploit women and add unnecessary nudity with no direct association to their products. The ad I chose is from American Apparel’s online website (before they went bankrupt). I chose this ad because although it claims to be marketing ‘tights’, the tights were about the last thing to catch my eye. The first thing to catch the eye is that the woman looks as if she is having an orgasm or is mid sex. Her breasts are being squeezed together to make them appear larger and there is a significant amount of cleavage in the shot, a few inches lower and her nipples would be very visible. This left side of the ad is completely unnecessary seeing as tights go on the bottom half of the body, not over breasts. The right side of the photo actually features the tights, but again in a highly sexualized manner. The bedsheets again are suggestive of sex, and the viewer is drawn to the curve of her body rather than the material and fit of the tights. Typical tights ads feature women standing straight up wearing the tights either on their own or with a skirt or dress of some sort. The idea is to show how the tights fit, whether they are shimmer or are matte, transparent or opaque – not to emphasize the models butt. The problem with this ad is that it is hardly marketing the product, rather it is marketing the woman and women’s sexuality. It conveys the message that girls who wear American Apparel tights are hyper-sexual. This can be viewed by women in two ways, either that by wearing these tights they too will look sexy and available, or that only women who already look like this should be purchasing the tights. As for male audiences, these images draw them into the American Apparel website and from there they may proceed to shop within the men’s section.

My jamming philosophy behind the new image was to create something that illuminated the way in which women are sexualized and exploited through American apparel’s advertisement, and how uncomfortable and socially unacceptable this would be when a man is used in place of a female. For the left image, I googled “man’s orgasm face” and this was the best fit, just like the woman in the original ad he is in a bed, he has tanned skin and brown hair and the photo ends just before his chest. His photo does not help to sell the tights as the two photos are completely unrelated, just as the image of the woman was also unrelated. The image on the right again shows how the tights ‘fit’ in a highly sexualized manner, with a woman caressing the man’s leg suggesting sex or something sexual in nature.

The goal behind my jammed version of the ad is to illuminate how unnecessary sexualization is in selling a product such as tights and how this is a highly gendered sexualization. Women are constantly subjected to being portrayed as sex objects within the media, and men are often the targeted audience – however this sexualization rarely goes both ways. As we can see from my ad it’s almost funny looking at a photo of a man orgasming whereas in the first ad with the woman is it’s considered hot and sexy. It’s important to view how companies utilize sexualization in their product marketing and to evaluate how necessary this sexualization is. For some products such as lube or condoms it is a useful tactic, however for something as basic as tights this level of sexualization is grossly unnecessary and should be avoided.