Calzedonia, the italian producer of stockings/clothes, thought it is a good idea to use images of half naked women to advertise their stockings. The idea is neither new nor creative and goes along the line of other non-creative ad campaigns that rely on getting attention through exhibiting half naked female bodies.
The casual excuse they use is that sex sells, even though it is not really sex that is selling but the satisfaction of heterosexual male gaze. Even though it is today more common to advertise also exposed and sexualized male bodies, the majority of ads show half/naked women. Partly to give men something to look at, partly to give women something to identify with.
Some would argue that it’s a freedom of choice, that it is models’ choice to be or not to be on this ad and that there’s nothing wrong with that. But in a world, where women still get paid less for the same job we can’t talk about freedom of choice. We have to talk about inequality and discrimination.
We can’t talk about free choice and equality when our society socializes women to be pretty, not have too much of an opinion and constantly remind them with the images likes the ones above, that they are objects of sexual satisfaction for men.
Sexist images like these of Calzedonia, are harmful. They are trying to normalize the objectification of women, their transformation into sexual objects, to the point that we don’t recognize it anymore. That we take it as a norm, as something not worth making any fuss about.
The reality behind it is, that it is this kind of images that perpetuate hate towards female bodies. This hate affects women as well as men: both start adopting and accepting this images as a norm. As a consequence women find it harder and harder to accept and love their own bodies and are trying to look more like the bodies on images. Because the society tells them this is who they are.
Most of straight men, on the other hand, take female nudity as something they are entitled to. It surrounds them, it is on advertising, on billboards, on TV, in culture and art, it is a part of their privilege. As a result respect towards women is decreasing and there is a strong connection between thinking you are entitled to something and not taking no for an answer. It’s a small part of a much larger problem called rape culture.
These photos were taken in Ljubljana in October 2013.