When I go to watch a fragrance ad, whether it be for a men’s cologne or women’s perfume (binary!), one thing I expect to see is the sexualization and objectification of women. It surprises me that ads targeted at women would do this, but unfortunately I am not surprised that it happens in men’s ads like this one for Dior Homme, starring Robert Pattinson. As far as cologne ads go, this one is pretty tame, but it still utilizes many common tropes.
Pattinson spends much of the commercial with an unnamed blonde as they cavort through several scenes. In one, he drives down the shore in a car with models. Although he has one primary love interest in the video, it is clearly all about him; the beautiful women are accessories while his male presence dominates the scene. When he is not being intimate with these nameless girls, he is brooding alone.
According to Dior, the ideal man is not necessarily a big brute; instead, he is moody, dark, and rich. So basically the commercial’s message is, “You want to be a cool, mysterious man so attractive females will surround you. Achieve this with Dior Homme.” Though it is an ad for men, it still reinforces the gender binary and shows men being dominant over women, perpetuating the gender hierarchy described in important feminist works by Lorber and de Beauvoir. Interestingly, the cologne is not even shown in the video itself. I guess the women sufficed as accessories.
de Beauvoir, Simone. “The Second Sex: Introduction.” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. Ed. Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim. New York: Routledge, 2003. 32-40. Print.
Lorber, Judith. Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. Estelle Disch, ed. 4th edition. 2006.