Sexism in Advertising

Topics: Magazine, Advertising, Fashion magazines Pages: 8 (1011 words) Published: April 15, 2014
Camillia Gould
Professor Keltner
English 105
25, March 2014
We Blame Society but We Are Society
Advertisement is a dominant form of social communication in todays’ society. It can be influential in the choices of many people of who are deciding (for example) what trendy shoe or jacket to buy. Advertisements are all around us; from magazines, newspapers, television, billboards, radio, and the list goes on. While they are all around us, advertisements everyday seem to become more compelling to audiences too. There are many questions that pose on many minds, one in particular is how much power does advertisement have over its audiences? Can something with as much as a picture and a few words on it persuade us to alter our beliefs on what we feel our society should look like?

In the issue of ELLE Magazine, there lies inside many advertisements, one ad stuck out distinctively. Tommy Hilfiger’s launch of his upcoming spring clothing line. It’s a four page visually attractive beautiful ad. The ad seems to be presented in a college atmosphere vibe. The clothing referring the viewers to notice the preppy school girl looks, to the jock boys, to the nerds, to the professors and more. Hilfiger does throw in some diversity of his models in the spread as well age difference. As you start to pay more attention to the ad you’ll notice the designer isn’t trying to just sell his new spring collection, but also an illusion of what you can be with it.

ELLE is one of the world’s best-selling fashion magazine, a magazine built off looks and style. Fashion isn’t often found as being androgynous. In magazines such as ELLE especially it tries to define to us what is feminine and what is masculine in terms of style. ELLE’s target audience is women between the ages of 18 and 49, and directed more towards career driven women. It is a magazine that sells a lifestyle and emphasizes fashion, beauty, entertainment, and health. The title itself ELLE means “her/she” in French, makes sense since the magazine is of French origin. Among many other fashion magazines, ELLE magazine too tries to define the standards of what is not only acceptable in fashion and of today’s society in everyday life, but in the codes of gender.

Tommy Hilfiger’s spring clothing collection ad tries to sell us multiple concepts. The idea that, yes, beautiful people wear his clothing; but also that his clothing should also not be put in one category, multiple types of people such as “the bookworm”, “the college professor”, “the field-tripper”, “the grade A student”, “the All American”, “the teacher’s pet”, “the cool dude”, and many more clichés that can all look trendy in his clothes. His ad can even be perceived as saying that if you wear his clothing you’ll have a fun college experience and even sells you the idea of graduating college in his clothing with pictures of a cap and gown on one of the models. The designer gives a wide range of emotional appeal to not limit his audience. Even with so little text being on the ad “MONTREAL, VANCOVER, TORONTO, HAMBURG, NEW YORK, LOS ANGLES, MIAMI, SAN DIEGO, BEIJIN, DUBAI, DELHI, and PRAGUE”, it goes to show either the diversity of the brand or the exclusiveness, or even both; suggesting his clothing is of Ivy League status. With his point trying to get across of his diversity seen in the collection the only downfall is the real representation of what these college people look like. The designer portrays them all as beautiful with a hint of rich kids’ status, in which case many college kids are basically living on a budget not buying Tommy Hilfiger cashmere sweaters. It’s definitely not surprising that we see models in our ads instead of regular people. In fact designers only make ads they feel would appeal to today’s society. They sell us beauty, entertainment, the vibe of being cool or rich because why? It’s our inner desires that do relish such superficial things. Society can’t blame ads for creating and selling such ideas...

Cited: Tommy Hilfiger. Advertisement. ELLE Sept. 2013: Print.
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