Santa Lolla Shakes Up Norms?


Image courtesy of Fashion Gone Rogue.

The image, one of several from Santa Lolla’s Spring 2014 ad campaign, depicts model Martha Hunt flanked by two male models. This ad campaign is interesting, because it combines a typical representation of the slender body — one that is “absolutely tight, contained, ‘bolted down’” (Bordo 190) — for both the males and females, while also slightly switching the normally presented gender roles. Upon an initial glance, it may seem just seem like every other ad campaign for a clothing brand, featuring a beautiful, thin, and retouched model, “perpetuating the idea of physical perfection” (Hesse-Biber 66). She also certainly fits the all-American blonde beauty stereotype, as mentioned in Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly 4, and her poses and the expressions on her face exude a sense of sexuality.

However, in this ad campaign, the men are being objectified as well, much in similar ways that Hunt and other women tend to be. They too have an idealized, muscular slender body. Referring back to the typical “norms” shown nowadays in mainstream music videos, as seen in Dream Worlds 3, there is an unequal proportion of men to women, though in this case it is two men to one woman. Additionally, they are gazing at Hunt with a sexual longing, while she looks at the camera instead of returning that gaze. Their pants blend in with the background, leaving the focus solely on their torsos, and though Hunt’s entire body is being shown, theirs are slightly cutoff.

I do not think I would necessarily define this ad campaign as being “progressive,” but it is certainly an interesting look at a somewhat different depiction of male-female representation and interaction, as compared to most other ads.

Bordo, Susan. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California, 1993. Print.
Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy. The Cult of Thinness. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.

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