Fitness and Physique


Although it may not seem obvious, this photo featuring a scantily clad woman on a bed is actually an advertisement for Equinox Gym. The woman’s highly provocative pose and her revealing dress aim to draw attention to the overwhelmingly thin physique that the gym is trying to promote. This unusual ad aims to lure in women by drawing the connection between fitness and sex appeal. By showing a thin female body in an intimate setting with a film camera set up next to the bed, the ad is emphasizing the connection between the culturally desirable slender body and the intimate situations her physique would apparently provoke. The woman’s position in the photo with no sight of her face depicts her as an object at service to the man lounging casually in front of her fully dressed. Her hypersexual pose highlights that a woman’s presence defines what can and cannot be done to her (Berger 37). Conversely, the man’s presence suggests that he is capable of doing whatever he pleases to the woman posing in front of him. The ad would be effective in targeting women by playing upon female insecurity since “most women feel their bodies fail the beauty test, and the American health and beauty industry benefits enormously” (Hesse-Biber 63).

Berger, John. “From Ways of Seeing.” Trans. Array The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. New York: Routledge, 2003. 37-39. Print.

Nagy Hesse-Biber, Sharlene. “Selling the Body Beautiful: Food, Dieting, and Recovery.”The Cult of Thinness. Second ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. 61-90. Print.

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