Censored or Uncensored: Marketing Sexism

supplust6It’s absolutely common knowledge that there’s a lot of sexism in the advertising industry. If you’ve seen one of the many ads for clothing, alcohol, or perfume in the past decade, you know that the female body is constantly objectified. Whether it’s a woman’s lips, legs, breasts, or butt, the female body is used to sell pretty much anything- even things that aren’t made for women.

Suitsupply, a men’s clothing company, has recently released a Spring/Summer photo campaign highlighting their new products for the fashion season. Although, interestingly enough, Suitsupply’s clothing is not necessarily the focus of this ad campaign. When visitors approach the Suitsupply Site, they are greeted by a homepage filled with male models dressed in suits, sports jackets, blazers, and sweaters. Even though Suitsupply’s main page seems harmless enough, all a visitor has to do is scroll down to click on the small window that says “Spring/Summer 2014 Campaign”.

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Upon clicking, the website redirects to the campaign’s home page. From there, the visitor is presented with a viewing option. Before showing the campaign in it’s entirety, the page prompts the viewer with a simple question- asking if they would prefer to view the censored or the uncensored version of the campaign. The censored version shows male models, donning the newest styles in suits, surrounded by female models in bikinis. The male model, typically in the center of the photo, is fully clothed while the countless women around him barely have any clothing on at all. Just in case the campaign wasn’t already sounding ridiculous, all of the female models are soaking wet.

Although the censored version of the campaign already adds to a collection of insulting, objectifying advertisements, the uncensored version takes the insanity to a new level. In the uncensored version, all of the women are topless and, you guessed it, still soaking wet. This kind of advertising is definitely not uncommon, but certainly raises some interesting questions. Are the suits any less attractive without the half nude models around them? Do the suits do any less of their suit duties because they aren’t surrounded by beautiful women? Do the suits have magic powers that lure bikini-clad, dripping wet women to the man wearing them? Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but beautiful nude women will definitely not flock to you, nor follow you around all day simply because you are wearing a Suitsupply suit.

However, this isn’t the first time that Suitsupply has been the subject of scrutiny because of their advertisements. Suitsupply has had a lot of provocative ads in their past: ads that show men looking up women’s skirts, women wearing only body paint, and, a personal favorite, a man in a suit sandwiched between two nude, female back sides. Even though these kinds of ads are absolutely drawing attention to Suitsupply, it seems ridiculous that having nude females in provocative ads is the primary way of attracting customers- is the product simply not enough? What’s even more ridiculous is that men are never the sex symbol in advertisements. If roles were reversed and it was males being stripped down to sell skirt suits or dresses, people would laugh. So, if that’s the case, why is objectifying women socially acceptable?

Advertisements have been objectifying women for decades, but the way that women are being shown in the media is out of hand. A female’s identity shouldn’t be limited to her body and there is more to a woman than just her legs. Media portrayal of women must improve so that women and men are represented equally and with respect. Sex sells, but unfortunately so does sexism and that’s something that needs to change.