Culture Jam Assignment

Original Advertisement + Comments

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/controversial-american-apparel-ads-gallery-1.2386169?pmSlide=1.2386158

 

In this controversial advertisement, American Apparel (a clothing company created in Montreal, Canada) is promoting their Amsterdam store opening using a young woman in a bodysuit revealing her legs wide, near the words “Now Open” like her body is a store that allows customers to come in and out.

The sexual objectification of women in this ad shows that the feminine gender role is devalued. The problem with this advertisement is the sense of promiscuity of this woman. The image is taken from a questionable angle – it creates an unforgiving and inviting environment for males as she seems submissive. One gendered message largely portrayed in this advertisement is that women are sexual agents. This ad easily over-sexualizes the model’s body that the clothing loses its importance. This ad is particularly concerning for what exactly is implied – it may suggest to youth that they must think, dress, or act, a certain way while wearing American Apparel’s clothing.

This advertisement not only encourages women being sexualized but it motivates rape culture with a vulnerable look on her face in bed, her legs open, and the text saying, “Now Open”. This image, combined with the caption, shows that women are sexualized. This nudity is used to demean and strip women of their power. This further encourages the views of the dominance of men and the objectification of women in society. In addition, the woman is wearing a bodysuit, a relaxed piece of clothing but it is distracted by the questionable angle which shows the ads use of hypersexuality.

The sexualisation and exploitation of women, and the suggestions for individuals to obey to normative standards of beauty are one of the many controversial points of this ad. On top of the ads ability to demean women, the company also perpetuates unrealistic standards of beauty and sexuality for girls.

Jammed Photo + Comments

 

In media, it is challenging to filter the buried messages that advertisements enter into our head. Women are often degraded to sell merchandise that has zilch to do with how “sexual” they appear.

For my jammed advertisement, I modified the ad to illustrate the real message that American Apparel was meaning to share. The focal point of this ad was not the store opening – it didn’t seem to be about the clothing either. Instead, the key message of the ad was the sexualization of the model. I added text to prove exactly what the ad suggests: the ad demeans women; promotes male dominance; and sexualizes women.

My intention by adding the text is to show viewers EXACTLY what the ad is meaning to do which is not promoting their business or their store opening. By calling attention to the model’s position, the “Now Open” text, her facial expression, and the angle of the photo, it is clear that sexualizing women and objectification are the true values of the business – not to create great clothing for individuals.

An argument for this ad could be that it aims to encourage women to feel comfortable with their sexuality. Now, if this was the model’s choice, and she feels comfortable being photographed in that position, then that is a different suggestion for this ad. However, it is likely that the model was told by someone to pose with her legs wide.

By adding the additional text to show the buried meaning of the ad itself, I aim to focus on the male chauvinist nature of this ad and the absurdity of an ad representing these themes to sell American Apparel clothing. It’s safe to say that this is not an appropriate ad for a clothing business or a store opening.