Cultural Jam

The original ad I chose is an American Apparel ad. American Apparel has had a long history of controversial ads that often sexualize women in an attempt to advertise their clothing. In the ad I chose, a well-dress man in American Apparel clothing is holding a woman’s bare legs apart. Although there is no text to this image besides the company’s logo, much can be inferred from the positioning of this photo.

Based on how the woman’s legs are positioned and cropped in addition to the fact that all the viewer can see on the woman’s legs are her shoes, it can be inferred that American Apparel is not trying to advertise their women’s clothing line. Instead, they portray men as the more dominant/influential figures in society through the man’s domineering stance over the woman and his firm grip on her legs. Moreover, they depict women as defenseless against men through the woman’s position in the photo—upside down and on her back. Through the positioning and crop of this photo, this ad subconsciously tells viewers that women are nothing more than sexual objects for men.

It should also be mentioned that the American Apparel logo is tactically placed in between the legs of the woman and on the man’s crotch. This draws the viewers’ attention to the bottom of the photo where most of the ad’s sexual suggestion is occurring while drawing attention away from the actual clothing at the top of the photo. As such, I will be addressing the sexualization of this photo with my jamming.


Advertisements can be made that do not attack feminism. Through my jammed work, I wanted to invoke that advertisements do not have to be made sexual to get a message across. I replaced the woman’s legs with articles of clothing in addition to moving the American Apparel logo. I did so to 1) desexualize the message behind the ad and 2) use the ad to actually advertise the company’s clothing.

Through replacing the legs with clothes, the ad no longer implies that women are sexual objects for men and that men are more “dominant/powerful” than women. Now that the man is holding clothes, it does not sexualize women nor does it sexualize men. Furthermore, through moving the company logo to the top left corner, it takes the viewer’s attention away from the man’s crotch thereby further desexualizing the ad by placing more emphasis on what the man is wearing and what he is holding. This puts more of a focus on the clothing line itself as opposed to the implicit sexual messages previously.

The new ad makes it look as though the man is in the process of choosing which article of clothing to wear or that he is showing off his wardrobe. This promotes American Apparel’s men’s clothing line by featuring different objects of clothing from t-shirts to accessories like socks and ties. It is important to advertise the variety of clothing because not all men want/need business casual—some prefer a more casual style, which they can clearly see being advertised in the new ad.