I’m sure many of you are familiar with this highly controversial Dolce and Gabanna advertisement that was banned from publication in several countries. What is denoted in this picture is a woman lying down in a bathing suit and high heels with a man pinning her down and four men looking on. They are all very, very glossy and scantily clad. What viewers take away from images that they see often vary based on culture, religion…etc, but most people (besides those at Dolce and Gabanna) could agree that this advertisement was offensive in a myriad of ways. This picture connotes sex, abuse, possibly rape, lust, submission, and violence. However, Dolce and Gabanna must have associated this picture with being edgy, artistic, and daringly creative, even criticizing the Spanish government for being “backward” for objecting this advertisement.
Advertisements are a representation of the world around us and advertisements like these say that we live in a culture in which women are seen as highly sexualized objects that should be beautiful, skinny and attract men. Women are clearly seen as being more submissive whereas men are dominant and powerful. It can be seen from the video “Killing Us Softly: Advertisements and Women” that women have always been portrayed as highly sexualized objects in advertisements and it is clear that nothing has really changed. In fact, advertisements like these prove that it has only gotten worse. The signified concept of this photo is that women who buy products from Dolce and Gabbana will have men lusting after them, inferring that a woman’s goal in life is to attract men and gain their approval (ok, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but that is essentially the idea).
These highly sexualized images that are pervasive throughout the media enforce an ideology that women must look a certain way. However, with the improvement of technology and digital alteration, these women do not actually appear to look the way they do in these pictures and these pictures just serve to create an unrealistic expectation that doesn’t really exist. Though most viewers are aware of that, I think all the advertisements that we see on the television, in magazines and on billboards cause us to loose touch with reality and still yearn to look a certain way. Advertisements have power over the way we feel and think whether we like it or not and advertisers should be more conscientious when creating advertisements in order to not send the wrong message.