Sunday, November 29, 2009

Oh the gaze..

After doing this weeks reading, I thought a lot about advertisements and images that we see in the media and how we perceive them just visually. When we flip through a magazine, it's the provocative ads that catch our eye and make us take a second look, so what is that saying about how we see things and whether or not that extra difference shown in the ad represents in our society. Foucault recognized the use of "docile bodies of the modern state" - otherwise known as the "perfect look, the perfect body, and the perfect pose," (p. 110-111). These images that we see in advertisements are conforming to the ideologies of sex and gender and being submissive to the so-called beauty norms of society. As the reading continued, it talks a lot about the gaze and how this concept "establish[es] relationships of power," (p. 111). Advertisements today represent these ideas of power and dominance of class, sex, race, otherness, etc. And it is the photographs that we see in our everyday media that demonstrate these power dynamics to us. These concepts have both social and cultural meanings and directly respond to the time/era we are living in. American Apparel is a very successful clothing line. We see their ads all over and they are becoming more and more popular. However, if you take a look at their clothes, they couldn't be more of a simple design, yet the advertisements make the clothes as well as their models to be extremely sexualized. The "normalized gaze" according to Sturken and Cartwright is being displayed with these sexual images as the beauty norm for the time. Here's an example of a simple ad for American Apparel gone "wild"...


  1. absolutely agree!
    the American Apparel ads are crazy. the clothes are so simple that it is weird that they are presented in such a way. But that's the gaze for you.

  2. They do provide a shock value. I always find myself taking a second look at american apparel ads I see in magazines. Wasn't the CEO charged with sexually harassing his employees?

  3. Really? Not that surprising, I suppose...

    You're really going to tell me that the clothes are what's on sale here? Talking about gaze, where's the first place the eye naturally drifts in this image?

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