American Apparel is rather notorious for its questionable advertisements. The now bankrupt company has been criticized for years for the imagery of its marketing, whether it has been for advertising their own products on their website or for other general advertisements in magazines or billboards. Many of their advertisements depict women in sexually objectifying positions, the sexuality of the picture the main focus rather than the products themselves. Several advertisements have the women almost naked, with the products that they are wearing in the corners of the images rather than the center of attention. These sorts of ads have been banned by countries such as Britain because of the sexually objectifying nature.
This advertisement was listed alongside several other advertisements in an article by Nico Amarca, published on Highs Nobiety. Titled “Tights”, it was released in 2007, depicting a picture of a shirtless woman laying on a bed, face scrunched up in bliss, and a picture of a person’s lower half wearing a pair of opaque magenta tights; presumably the product the company wants to promote with this image. The text “Tights.” is written above the image of the woman, with the company’s logo in the bottom right corner. Arguably, one of the main focuses of the image is the product they are trying to display, but picture of the woman leads the imagination to imagine her engaging in sexual intercourse, or being in a state of orgasm, attempting to draw attention to the advertisement that way. The title “Tights” does in fact describe the magenta tights the person is wearing to the right, but the placement of the picture of the woman is questionable.
My culture jam of this advertisement is very simple. My question when looking at this advertisement was initially, “Is this really an advertisement for tights?” Hence, I decided to extend the period at the end of the title into an ellipsis and add a question mark at the end. Whenever you look at an advertisement, what draws your attention first is almost always deliberate on the behalf of the person creating it. There are several advertisements that sexually objectify women in efforts to catch the eye, and psychologically have them pay attention to the product after. Audience, purpose, and focus are all very deliberate aspects of advertising and marketing. The question marks asks the viewer whether it was the tights that truly had their attention first, or whether it was something else; the woman seemingly in climax. Every source of media has purpose, and I believe that American Apparel makes an effort to appeal to the people using sex, and sexually objectifying women to achieve this.
Of course, this is a very difficult line to walk, as there is also always the question of whether the models are being empowered by posing in photos like this. However, in many cases large companies such as American Apparel can use whatever empowerment that a woman may feel with these photoshoots and exploit it for their own company revenue, and achieving their initial goal of using sex to appeal to the viewers.