This essay will discuss three aspects of Rosalind Gill’s ideas on advertising, through feminist themes and ideas of gender equality and independence in Agent Provocateur’s ‘Betty Sue’. The first aspect will discuss the way the advert ‘uses and incorporates’ these themes and ideas through the use of gender reversals. The second aspect covers how it ‘revises’ the way woman have shifted from sexual ‘objects’ to sexual ‘subjects’. Lastly, this essay will discuss the way Agent Provocateur’s ‘Betty Sue’, ‘attacks, and depoliticizes’ such themes.
In Agent Provocateur’s ‘Betty Sue’, it ‘uses and incorporates’ feminist themes and ideas to portray the use of gender reversals, and how it incorporates the idea of gender equality in this advert. In this advertisement, ‘Betty Sue’ is seen allowing the man to assess her body, and in an almost condescending way she asks him, ‘Enough?’ This suggests female dominance, as the male is passive and under her command. Through this gender reversal, woman can feel as if they are equal to men. Yet, the portrayal of the post-feminist woman as a desiring sexual subject does not erase the idea that by allowing herself to be assessed, ‘Betty Sue’ is allowing herself to be objectified by men. Which as Gill suggests, ‘the objectification of male bodies has not led to a decrease in the objectification of women’s’ (104). Another example of ‘Betty Sue’ being objectified in this advertisement is the way she undresses. In the advert, ‘Betty Sue’ appears to undress to the invisible ‘male gaze’, because as Gill suggests men will ‘always maintain an active subject hood’ (106). Gill’s idea can be explained by the idea that though society has moved onto a post-feminist stage, the traditional gender inequality of man being more dominant still stands. Especially society’s message, that woman need to become attractive in order to be desired by men. The idea of gender reversal can also be seen in the way ‘Betty Sue’ towers over the man. This height...
References: Fishburn, Katherine. Women in Popular Culture: A Reference Guide. London: Greenwood press, (1982). Print.
Gill, Rosalind. “Empowerment/Sexism: Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising.” Feminism & Psychology 18 (Feb. 2008): 35-60. Sage Journals. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.
Gill, Rosalind. Gender and the Media. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007. 73-112.
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