Selling Jeans?

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I remember driving by Joe’s Jeans billboards when I was younger (before I even considered issues such as women’s objectification) and being puzzled. Isn’t this a jeans company? Why is this a picture of bare butts? I think this particular ad captures some of the music video/advertisement conventions touched on in Dreamworlds 3. Of course there is the emphasis on a single part of her body, while the piece of clothing Joe’s is selling is minimized. Also significant is the point of view – the photographer captures the man’s perspective as he stares at the woman, and therefore the audience takes his view. This billboard also captures John Berger’s concept of the woman being both the surveyor and the surveyed. Here the woman is highly conscious of the man watching her, and the viewers of the ad see her being watched; similar to music videos, she is portrayed as wanting to be watched. This ad seems to sell a heterosexual male fantasy more than a pair of women’s jeans.

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

Jhally, S., Killoy, A., Bartone, J., & Media Education Foundation. (2007). Dreamworlds 3: Desire, sex & power in music video. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation.

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