Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Belfie: The New Social Media Trend

Calvin Klein’s spring advertisements targets the young internet-craze generation who bases their extracurricular activities on their social media likes. Calvin Klein attracts the young consumer by using specific language and symbols that are recognizable and relatable to a younger audience. The ad campaign displays young models with the sentence “I _______ in #mycalvins”, placing a fill-in-the-blank for individuals to insert their ideal verb. “#mycalvins” personalizes the product, labels the item as a possession, and engages with the consumer. Additionally “#mycalvins” uses the hash tag to connect the ad to social media. The hash tag promotes sharing the picture with others on the Internet- creating an ongoing visual trend. Ultimately this campaign resonates with the social media generation, giving the idea for consumers to pose with their own Calvins in their Facebook or Instagram feeds.

In this specific advertisement, Calvin Klein is engaging with the selfie generation by introducing “belfie” as the fill-in-the-blank verb. A belfie is taking a butt self-portrait or a butt selfie of one’s own posterior. This social media trend stems from the introduction of selfies, which are self-portraits taken on a mobile device. Calvin Klein is attracting the younger audience by speaking the vernacular of this new generation. Displaying a model’s butt in the ad as well as using social media language is promoting the consumer to share their own assets in a public sphere. Furthermore Calvin Klein is appealing and aligning the brand to a liberal perspective of sexuality. However the ad is a form of subordination of the female body. The media is a significant platform that largely defines femininity. The ad supports the current view of femininity that derives from the spread of social media. Instead of Calvin Klein manufacturing a progressive ad on feminism, the company has chosen a route of backlashing the progress that females have endured to encourage society to not connect females with solely sex.

In contrast to the original ad, I removed the “belfie” and inserted the phrase, “bend over”. The new inserted expression bluntly shows how the ad is objectifying female bodies by displaying a sexual act. Since the butt is displayed in the crotch region, the butt is replacing the vagina, which is shown when unzipping one’s pants. Furthermore playing on the idea of inserting a word in the fill-in-the-blank, the switching of the vagina to a butt is exposing another way of inserting a penis; both techniques by Calvin Klein are symbols of insertion. The ad is implying the butt as another form of sex; ultimately sexualizing the representation of the body.

The “belfie” promotes the consumer to take butt selfies, which ultimately objectifies an individual and puts their body on display. The term “bend over” points out how Calvin Klein’s original use of “belfie” is displaying the butt as the focal point of a picture the consumer would take.

One can view this ad as young women reclaiming their bodies and promoting a liberal perspective of female sexuality. However Calvin Klein is manipulating the purchase of their products with hyper-sexualization. The ad is inappropriate and exhibits a pornographic view of the female body. This ad infers that female bodies are defined as sexual products correlating to the purchase and wear of Calvin Klein products. Additionally the campaign promotes females to display their bodies as sexual objects presented in pictures for the public eye. Ultimately the ad endorses women to objectify their bodies in order to gain the approval of the media.