This is a very risqué ad for Tom Ford’s men’s fragrance. As stated in Killing Us Softly 4, the objectification of women in advertisements is a way attracting attention to the product and instilling cultural ideals of masculinity and femininity in society. Tom Ford’s ad is sexualizing this woman’s body and using it to sell a men’s product, in addition to showing an unrealistic image of beauty. Her skin is youthful, glowing, and is hairless. She is “slender” with a toned body, a cultural female ideal. The fragrance bottle appears phallic, which is emphasized by the bottle’s convenient placement on the female body and helps to establish a masculine presence.
Who is the intended audience of this ad campaign? Tom Ford is featured in high fashion magazines such as Vogue, read by mostly upper class women. Despite the message that it gives to women, the ad’s content and sexual subtext make clear that this ad is for men; it is a fragrance which could help obtain female companionship and admiration. Men see the woman’s nudity and think desire and dominance. This advertisement has implicit sexual politics — against the submissive female nakedness, the bottle’s edges are pressing suggestively into her thighs, in addition to the phallic protrusion at the top of the bottle — all announcing a clear masculine presence.
The body fragmentation in this ad shows that women are nothing but sexualized bodies, inviting men to look at them (in addition to being used to sell the fragrance); by looking at someone solely as an object, you reduce their subjectivity. Overall, Tom Ford’s ad reinforces the general message about masculine dominance and assumed feminine submission.