NWS = not work safe [read, not work safe. in this case, it's sexuality]
I am going to attempt something perhaps paradoxical. It’s called feminist fashion. Jezebel markets itself as a pop culture, fashion savvy, pro-sex feminist blog, but they sometimes miss the big picture, in my opinion. (I do love Jezebel, though.)
Here is the Tom Ford ad that just got banned in Italy (too bad it’s already been run in 3 magazines):
Here is the last Tom Ford fragrance campaign (covered here, also):
And some more:
Images via the Fashion Spot
Now, consider these:
Tom Ford makes clothes only for men. He makes fragrances only for men. Why do his ads feature women? (Check out his website for more ads.) That was a rhetorical question.
First ad: the woman is biting the fuck you finger. Blowjob, much? Other than the sunglasses, what in hell’s name does this have to do with men’s clothes? Oh wait. This isn’t selling clothes. It’s selling a culture.
Second ad (fragrance): the woman has a completely shaved body. This is not anywhere near a natural body. The bottle is placed between the legs. The hand leads to the bottle. The hand is an invitation. The bottle is the gift. Conveniently, it also stands in the place of the cunt and the vagina. Message of the ad: if you buy this cologne, you also buy vagina. The woman has no head. She is not a real person.
Third ad: Actually has some men’s suits. Anyway, men can remain clothed. Women must be naked and available. Buy Tom Ford, buy a naked woman who will grab your crotch.
Fourth ad: Buy Tom Ford, buy the opportunity to stare at the naked shaved crotch of a woman.
In case you were wondering, the answer to the rhetorical question is that objectifying women is very profitable in the fashion industry. It’s an entire industry built on the assumption that people will pay, a lot, to be objectified (the clothes make you, man, not you your clothes). Clothes = identity.
Tom Ford’s response to criticism that his ads are sexist?
He shrugs off critics who claim he objectifies women by pointing out that he’s an equal opportunity objectifier; he’d be the first to run more penises in his ads if he could get away with it. (Out)
Just because you objectify both genders does not excuse you from objectifying. It’s horrible when done to women. It’s horrible when done to men. Penis, vagina, asshole, and breasts are not inherently bad objects. It’s in the delivery, and Tom Ford fails.
I’m going to end this post with some positives.
Diesel, from S/S 07, I believe:
via the Fashion Spot
The menswear ad actually has a man wearing clothes in it. The parrot colors are startling vibrant and alive. The back lighting is gorgeous. The number of buttons left unbuttoned is just enough to be rakish but still classy. Basically, the contrast between the muted but still flashy clothes and the birds guarantee a second glance. And no disgust.
[edit April 23] Thanks to a commenter, I’ve now learned about fish-hooking. This is for the banned ad (finger in mouth). This makes the ad more despicable, because now it’s also glamorizing violence. In this case, it’s violence against women. That is not funny, folks. It hurts people who have really, truly been hurt by violence. (This is also why rape jokes aren’t “funny.” It’s not fun to make light of other people’s pain, especially when it’s a serious issue in society.)