Jean Paul Gaultier has been known for risky and controversial ad campaigns that set the imagination into overdrive about sex. The above ad is the latest addition to a long line of print ads supposed to inspire the public to buy this cologne or perfume in hopes of obtaining the opposite sex’s admiration. It is obviously aimed at young, heterosexual, well to do men and women. The intense stare of the male character towards the female, an obvious bulge in his pants, muscular, well-groomed, chiseled features, dressed in blue, and Caucasian. The female character gazing seductively towards the male, long hair, slim, dressed in pink lingerie, hand on hip, chin slightly tilted down, lips parted and Caucasian. Both appear to be on balconies in well-to-do areas watching each other from afar. Her balcony is more feminine with the filigree wrought iron and curtain softly billowing in the background. His balcony is masculine made of concrete and studded. The ideal couple? Not really, you see the two characters are computer generated. An ideal that could never be obtained no matter how much perfume or cologne you douse on yourself. Parts of people pulled and added to make two characters of absolutely sublime beauty. Perfect because they have been created by advertisers who manifest what the public responds to and the epitome of what the advertisers want us to believe to be the societal ideal of masculinity and femininity. The make believe and unreal world is now being promoted as real and obtainable if we just buy this perfume. Sex sells even if it is make-believe. Bordo states “ In cultural fantasies such as Vision Quest and Flashdance, self-mastery is presented as an attainable and stable state” (199). How can one attain a state of make-believe perfection?
Bordo, Susan. Unbearable Weight. Berkeley. University of California Press, 1993 pg. 199
Hess-Biber, Sharlene Nagy.The Cult of Thinness. 2nd edition. New York. Oxford University Press, 2007