-Submitted by Savannah Burg-Heller
*The post was created for a class assignment to critically analyze a media advertisement
This picture is an American Apparel ad for a pair of blue thigh high striped socks, though you’d never know it at first glance. In this ad, you see a young woman who is lying in a sexual position, blowing a bubble with her gum and making eye contact with the audience. The text reads “Bubblelicious” in big black font right over her posterior, as if it’s labeling it. In tiny black font you see the description of the product, as well as the name of the company. The model looks innocent and childlike, in a bed on top of a ruffled blanket. The quality of the photo does not seem professional.
Notice that the focus is on the model’s rear end, which looks like it’s barely even covered by her underwear. The actual product (the blue and white striped socks) are just an afterthought, not even shown in their entirety in the picture.
This ad is geared toward young women and uses a young model of average appearance (though not average weight). She doesn’t fit the beauty ideal that we see in most magazines and she is not wearing an extravagant outfit or makeup. Because of this, the audience will focus more on the model’s body (specifically her rear end and her mouth), less on the person as a whole and certainly less on the actual product.
Honestly, I believe that American Apparel offers a decent product, but the way they are selling it is a huge turn off to me, the potential customer. They don’t have to use sexual images to sell a product and it isn’t necessary for them to objectify this woman in order to sell their product. If American Apparel wants to sell the product, then they should show off the product itself rather than the woman’s body.
I believe that American Apparel is wrong for advertising this way because it will likely make a lot of women feel bad about themselves without even knowing why. Not only can it cause low self-esteem, but young impressionable women who see this ad will begin to think that this sort of objectification is okay.