In the above photo advertisement posted by American Apparel, the drastic difference between marketing strategies for men versus women is evident. The models are trying to sell the same shirt, yet the the way they’re being photographed is entirely different. The male model gets to stand casually dressed in everyday clothes while the female model is posing provocatively while bare chested and dressed only in lingerie.
So if it’s virtually the same shirt, why would the woman be portrayed so differently? And why isn’t the man posing in a provocative manner as well? Clearly, the ad reinforces current societal expectations for women. Firstly, it reinforces the idea that women are sex objects: “she appears essentially to the males as a sexual being. For him she is sex- absolute sex, no less” (de Beauvoir, 33). Furthermore, the effectiveness of the ad relies on the notion that women base their own self worth on how sexually appealing her partner finds her. Women are consistently depicted like this because society teaches women to be competitive in their desire to be sex objects for men (Hooks, 127). The ad shows that men are clearly not expected to think the same way.
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.
Hooks, Bell. “Sisterhood Political Solidarity Between Women.” Palgrave Macmillion Journals. Jun 2010. Web.