Wednesday, 27 October 2010

How does Calvin Klein represent females in this advert?

How does Calvin Klein represent females in the above advert? are they objectified or sexually empowered? 

The idea of the 'Male Gaze' is obvious from this photo, or any underwear advert. The way Eva Mendes has been styled is obviously to be aesthetically pleasing to a man, this raises general questions such as how men look at women, how women look at other women and how women look at themselves. Relating back to Laura Mulvey's 'male gaze' this advert could be interpreted in different ways. The way men look at women; Obviously I am going on stereotypes with this point as I am not a man, but when a man looks at this advert it would mainly be for Eva Mendes' body and the fact she's in sexy underwear. She is also oiled up and has damp hair, which links back to her looking as if shes just got out the shower, which is associated with sexiness. As you look at her stance she looks powerful, so some men may also find that attractive and feel if their wife/ girlfriend/ lover/ partner wears the underwear, they could also look like this. The power is shown in the way she is standing with hear head turned back, her hands on her hips (her fingers pointing to the briefs), her legs apart is a powerful almost masculine stance. Her eyes being shut goes back to Laura Mulveys idea of the types of women, that Eva is creating a mysterious look because she's not making eye contact, the fact she's not wearing a wedding ring show's she's available, so the 'too good for you' vibe comes off of her. The second point of how women look at themselves could be a bit intimidating. As about 99% of women do not have a body like that so it could put them off, or if a slim woman looks at it, she could feel like she wants to wear it to boost her confident or look like Eva Mendes. Other women wouldn't look down on her as the underwear isn't slutty, more 'tastefully sexy'. It could also make women judge other women, and possibly Eva for posing like this. From a feminists point of view they could also think ' good on you ' for looking powerful and dominating, like she is marking a teritory. I reckon that using this advert as an example men could definatley objectify women as something good to look at, but from a womens point of view they could feel sexually enpowered and in control.

Compared to the Calvin Klein advert with Eva Mendes, this one of Jamie Dornan contrast when you look into the underlying signals. In my opinion this advert is aimed at both men and women. The stubble on his face and the hair on his chest shows he's not over-groomed, which would make men feel less intimidated by him, despite having a very toned body it doesn't look as extreme as the muscles body builders have, as he doesn't have a six-pack, or it has been photoshopped out; it isn't supposed to overpower or challenge men, it is a realistic man. Jamie's body language is vunerable, with the head facing down and his arms hanging by his side doesn't portray power like Eva Mendes' advert did. This relates to women liking vunerable men, which would draw their eye to the advert, along with his amazing body. I asked my friend Megan what she thought when she looked at this advert; ' It makes me want to buy the boxers for my boyfriend, as it gives the impression that he'd look as hench as the model'.
When it comes to the boxers there is no emphasis on them, as they are plain and there's no body language pointing towards them or enphasising them. The 'Calvin Klein underwear' slogan is near the upper half of the body, which doesn't draw attention to the boxers more to the mans body. The result could be switched as men could feel sexually enpowered for wearing these boxers, and women could look at this man purely as some eye candy.


  1. Despite being an English teacher I'm running out of adjectives. One taget I can set you is to work on the level of formality in your writing, this blog entry begins a bit too informally.

    That style is perfect for writing up lessons etc but in terms of formal essays and specifically exam prep you'll need to demonstrate a greater control of your lexis.

    I am nit picking at the minute though to be honest.

  2. I've added a few lines to the opening, is there anywhere else that needs improving?

  3. That level of formality in your opening 3 sentences is the style you'll need.

    There is still the occasional lapse with phrases like 'obviously I am going on stereotypes with this point as I am not a man'. If you want to express the difficulty of evaluating a text from a male ideology then this is how I'd phrase it

    'To equate beauty with male desires negates a female ability to control the 'gaze' of others. The male gaze makes the assumption that all males are heterosexual (and by extension all females are too) and can be seen to reinforce the ideology that women are somehow inferior to me. Not only is this view, in my opinion, disrespectful to women it also reduces males to a very narrow stereotypical representation, that of the lecherous and threatening predator. Undoubtably this image is constructed to focus specifically on Eva Medes figure, what cannot be made clear is who is being invited to gaze and where the power lies in the relationship between image and audience'

    Now that's a really dull sentence and takes ages to say what you wrote in a few lines. You need to find the happy medium.