Men on Display

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Throughout society, the portrayal of men and women has always differed. Women have been illustrated as sexual, gentle creatures while men have been illustrated as the strong, authoritative figures in our culture. However, these stereotypical portrayals have changed drastically over the years. In past culture, women have always been the center of advertisements, while men have stayed in the shadows. In present day culture, men are starting to play a larger role in advertisements. However, many ads showcasing men have proved to be controversial. Susan Bordo, the author of The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and Private (1999) discusses the different ways men have been used in campaigns throughout our history.

Susan Bordo describes the ways men can alter an advertisement, and how the way they dress and behave in the advertisement can change the perception of them. Some advertisements that centers around men are used for the sole purpose of exuding sex appeal. Campaigns advertising products such as cologne and fashion use this approach abundantly, mainly to get people’s attention. When men are illustrated this way, it is much more controversial because men are perceived more in a feminine way. As Susan Bordo states, “It is feminine to be on display” (Bordo, 135). Males exuding femininity is not completely accepted in today’s culture because of the stereotype that men should be authoritative and burly men. This approach was used in the Gucci Underwear advertisement that Bordo described in her first chapter. Other ways that an advertisement can showcase a man is by perceiving them as “heterosexual” (Bordo, 145) and a stereotypical burly man. When males are perceived as manly men in an advertisement it appeases to a more homophobic group of people. Bordo believes that it should be just as accepted in todays culture for men to be the center of sexual and risky ads just like it is for women.

Women have been the center of campaigns since they...
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