Emanual Ungaro Essay, Research Paper
Ad analysis: Emanuel Ungaro in W magazine.
Due to the nature of its articles, the display of designer clothing and women accessories, this magazine can be considered a woman s magazine that targets a specific type of women. Targeted are single and professional women interested in the world of fashion, celebrities and new trends.
The chosen ad inverses the standard roles in the industry of advertising. The role of the female model as sexual object or object of attraction, has been deliberately inverted, identifying and displaying the male figure (statue) as an object of sexual desire. Moreover, the object of attraction has a disposable nature, as we will see in the ad analysis.
The ad promotes designer clothing created by Emanuel Ungaro. This design clothing claims to provide sexual fulfillment to the women who wear it.
Rather than being directed to the aesthetics and materials of the design clothing, the ad makes a statement for the sexual liberation of women. The ad claims sexual properties of sexual fulfillment and liberation for the woman who chooses to wear this type of design clothing.
In some way it can be said that this ad is the exteriorization of a kind of inhibited sexual desire and fantasy that the women targeted in W magazine have.
Concretely, the ad consists in a four-page display. On first page we see a female model wearing a red dress, a white statue of a male figure that resembles the classic sculpture of Michelangelo Buonarroti s David (1501). The female model is on her knees; her left hand is touching her crotch as if in the act of masturbation; her right hand is touching the buttocks of the male statue. A simple reading of the image displays either the aftermath or preliminary set up for oral sex performed on the statue.
The second page of the ad shows the female model in a stand up position together with the statue. However, now she is wearing a black dress. The interesting aspect of this display is the bluntness of the image and its sexual connotation. This second display provides a representation of sexual intercourse. The couples heads are thrown back in a tableau of orgasmic joy, providing a graphic and literal illustration of the sexual relation that is evolving between the female model and the male statue. However, more important than the representation of sex being displayed in this magazine ad is the manifest description of the male subject as a sexual figure that exists to fulfill the role of the sexual and objectified pleasers.
The female model is trying to engage in a sexual relationship because she is openly interacting with the male figure statue in a sexual way. Her face detonates a sexual and orgasmic status. Reinforcing this appreciation is the fact that in this image we can clearly see the women grabbing the buttocks of the statue with the overt intention of directing the audience to the act of copulation.
The third display shows a fragmented image of the male statue. This important fact emphasizes the principal intention behind the magazine ad, and that is the depersonalization and objectification of the male statue, subordinated to the wishes and desires of the female model. This display shows the knees and the upper frontal (chest) of the male statue. The female model is openly grabbing the penis of the statue while at the same time is kissing the statue in a pleasing, sensual and open manner. The female model is now wearing dark blue jacket and pants.
Finally, the fourth page of the ad. Here the female model is displayed wearing a blue dress. She is sitting on the back torso of the male statue. This act enlightens the empowered position of the female while at the same time comes to diminish the role of the male figure. In this image the female model has both of her hands grabbing the head of the male statue. The manifest and strategic positioning of the female and male figures represent the breaking of the male statue s neck.
The open messages provided by this types of ads are: the battle of the sexes, the empowering of gender, and the diminishing of the male figure.
In this last display of the ad, the female model seems to have completed and satisfied her sexual anxieties, desires, emotions and inhibitions. The allusions and actions of the female model in this magazine ad support this. She has reached the cuspidate of pleasure and all that is left by her positioning is to destroy the disposable sexual object (i.e. the male figure). The female model has achieved her desired position by depersonalizing and objectifying the male figure.
The technique used in this magazine ad:
The strategic positioning of the female model and male figure have been photographed with the deliberate intention of grabbing the attention and eliciting emotions and desires of its targeted audience. The targeted audience in our ad is a female audience characterized by an economical status and inhibited sexual desires.
The images seen in this ad are manipulated with sexual denotations and connotations, with the deliberate attempt to persuade the customer to purchase this type of clothing for its sexual and gender representations.
The male figure is clearly represented and objectified as a sexual symbol. This denotation comes as a result of the nakedness and positioning of the male statue which is always seen in the subordinated and disposable position.
The graphic sexual denotations are a deliberate attempt to provide messages with sexual connotations. These denotations are appreciated in, 1) the positioning of the hand of the female on the first page of this ad when seen pleasing herself, 2) the display on the third page of the ad when she is covering the statue s penis, 3) the stand up intercourse that is represented by the positions of the statue and the female model on the second page.
Another important element in the configuration is seen in the deliberate and premeditated segmentation done to the male figure displayed in this ad. The main objective behind this segmentation is: the depersonalize of the male figure and the portraying as taking a passive and objectified role as opposed to the standard active role that has been openly exploited in today s society by the great majority in the advertising industry. Moreover, this passive role seems to have the extraordinary quality of being disposable (as shown on the last page of this ad).
Furthermore, this point is depicted on the third page of the magazine ad where the female model is openly addressing and displaying the main objective of the ad. Here, the female model is appreciated, explicitly taking the active sexual role, by covering the only part of the male statue that assists to satisfy the sexual purpose addressed in this ad. In addition, the female model subordinates the entire male figure, all of what it represents (classic male tradition and social role) to her particular interests and desires.
The mediate desire targeted in this ad (i.e. to promote the design clothing of Emanuel Ungaro) is the achievement of the female sexual liberation and fulfillment. The immediate desire is equality between genders. All of these desirable representations are exteriorized without taking into consideration the elements integrating the basis of a human and loving relationship build upon the dialog and the understanding of essential and different characteristics of each gender (dignity and respect).
This ad addresses a unilateral and egotistical way of fulfilling the needs of the female model as a way to personify the distinctive nature that women have to observe on their route to the achievement of individual sexual fulfillment.
Respect and freedom of the individual are portrayed as unimportant. The violation of equality and dignity that exist between the sexes is what has to be perpetuated! The female model has to dominate and diminish the male figure as a way to demonstrate her own value, her own power and her own control. Retaliation, in this ad, is the marked road to equality between the sexes.
Here is where the banality of this ad resides: Do women have to rely on abuse, vulgarity and sex, as the way to achieve identity and equality?
Another interesting aspect that can be drawn from the images in this magazine ad is its commodified desire . This ad claims that is it through the purchase and the wearing of this type and name of clothing that women can achieve dignity, equality, value and control of their female gender. The route to expressing their sexual pleasures and inhibitions is through the purchase of this type of design clothing, which claims to have the power and properties to provide human and sexual fulfillment!
As mentioned, the female model is shown acting and directing action. At the same time the male figure appears only as the medium for individual sexual fulfillment that is displayed as the direct result of wearing this type of dress. Therefore, the male figure is displayed as the sexual object, which serves to the aggressive sexual impulses of the female model.
a) The eyes of the female emphasize the sexual fantasy displayed in the ad. The female model, at all times, has her eyes closed, this manifest the fantasy that can be gained by purchasing of this type of clothing. This ad is targeting women sexual inferiority complex.
b) A simple dress can not be the principal precursor of a human sexual experience or the sensation of one. The dress, especially a well fitted and nicely confectionated one, can certainly be an extra element in the process of sexual arousal. However, a dress can never, by it self, provide sexual achievement or pleasure that is claimed and displayed by this ad (i.e. personal and sexual fulfillment through the banality of the acts displayed in this ad).
c) Though the female model seems to be taking the male figure (statue) as a sex object and as a symbol, we can not dismiss that the person behind the design of the dresses is a male designer. He is a designer who is trying to persuade a targeted audience, characterized by its fantasies and desires to expose and revel themselves in the illustrated way is shown in this magazine ad. This male designer is targeting women who want to be identified as a woman who knows how to please herself, specifically, as a woman who has the fantasy and desire to control and use men as sexual objects.
It is clear that the person who purchases this type of design dress, for the reason display in this ad, has a real lack of self-esteem and self-confidence in the way she handles herself in the presence of the opposite sex. She relies on the dress as a psychological shield that permits her a display of sexual inhibitions and desires. This type of woman wants to be identified and feel the experiences displayed by the female model in this particular ad.
The visual elements of this ad were strategically chosen and deliberately positioned to elicit and produce sexual emotions to a specific type of audience. Emotions that in some way or in other come to represent (due to the blatant sexual manifestation of the images) an innate desire to be the object of sexual fantasy.
The ad lacks cognitive engagement because of the explicit sexual display. The viewer immediately gets the point of the ad; the empowerment of the female figure and the diminishing of the male figure. The viewer attention and emotions are drastically drawn to the banal and blunt display of sex in this magazine ad due to the deliberate and strategically sexual positioning of the female model and the male statue.
As mentioned, the statue, as a representation of the male figure, is shown as a disposable sexual object immobile, speechless; a simple object of desire. This is the most obvious conclusion. We see it in the final display of the ad, where the female model is in a strategical killing position.
The statue represents the classical male way of thinking. This is the ordinary cultural assertion of looking at the female figure as a sexual objectification. (Berger p.64) This ad inverts the roles of the classic positioning (e.g. the statue s resemblance to the David of Buonarroti) by presenting the statue of the male figure as a sexual and disposable sexual object. This theory is reinforced on the final page of the magazine ad where the female model is siting on the back torso of the statue -inverting the roles of superiority and subordinating the male figure statue to the wishes and desires of the female model. It is seen in the hands of the female model, which are strategically positioned to convey the message of the dispensability of the male figure as a sexual object, by simulating the breaking of his neck.
Can the claim of this ad be achieved?
The diminishing and empowerment seen in this ad have been deliberately empathized in the postures of the female model and the male statue. The female is shown in control of the situation. Metaphorically speaking, this ad is targeting women who feel the need to have an image of control. The dress sells a fictional image of sexual accomplishment, desire and social fulfillment, as a reward for those who purchase this type of designer clothing.
The important aspect and message in the fashion industry is clearly to sell an image. The image in this ad is the empowerment of the female figure while diminishing the male figure.
One would think that women who have real control of their lives and personalities do not need banal representations of their desires. The female model does not need to go to such extremes (i.e. vulgarity of the sexual representations) in order to prove the value of her individuality and dignity.
The dignity and value of a human being are not measured by the image he or she is providing. The value of a person is proportionally inverted to the egotistical and unilateral value that he or she gives himself/herself in the normal interactions of human relationships. The human relations are based on freedom, equality, respect and understanding of the characteristics and differences between the males and females.
Berger, John (1972): Ways of Seeing. London: BBC/Harmondsworth: Penguin
1) The ad appeared in the September issue of W magazine.
- Contemporary women.
2) The ad promotes a type of dress created by Emanuel Ungaro that claims to provide sexual fulfillment by purchasing and wearing this type of design clothing.
- A. Oral sex and masturbation.
- B. Intercourse.
- C. Empowering female position- sexual objectification of the male statue.
- D. Disposable nature of the sexual object (male statue).
3) The technique used in the is the strategic positioning of the elements of this images, which come charged with a great deal of sexual denotations (literally) and connotations (by association).
- The ordinary role of the female as the sexual object, as been inverted by the incorporating a statue that resembles the sculpture of Buonarroti s David as symbol or the classic sexual objectification of the female.
- The statue is subordinated to the control of the female model.
- The female is acting while the statue is used and abused.
- The female model survives and comes empowered after killing or destroying the statue (old male philosophy).
4) The claim of the ad can certainly be achieved if we conclude that: retaliation, abused, objectification, diminishing and empowering is the route for the conciliation of the differences between the genders.
- Can it be done?