This Michael Kors ad, released in the American version of Elle magazine, is enhancing the traditional representations of women in advertising. First, we can here find what Susan Bordo meant when she talked about the slender body : there is indeed an ideal of thinness here, the four women being relatively skinny. Moreover, Sut Jhally’s vision was originally related to music videos, but can be applied to any kind of image. Women are often represented as partying, as it is the case here, they are well-dressed and drinking what seems to be some champagne; but above all, they are represented as linked to male desire. Indeed, they are close to men, one of the girl is leaning on a man’s shoulder, while another man is looking at her. And finally, Jean Kilbourne’s point can be seen in this ad, as she presented it in “Killing Us Softly 4”. There is an ideal of whiteness for women in our societies. And even if Michael Kors tries to go beyond this in this ad, by choosing a black and an asian models, they are still very close to the general type of women presented in advertising : the black woman, for instance, has a relatively light skin, in comparison to the man behind her. This ad is thus symptomatic of the norms of advertising and representations in our societies.
Jean Kilbourne – “Killing Us Softly 4” (2010)
Sut Jhally – “Dreamworlds 3” (2007)
Susan Bordo – “Reading the Slender Body” (1993)
(Sorry about the image quality, I wasn’t able to find it on the Internet !)