In 2014, Jimmy Choo released a perfume called ‘Jimmy Choo Man’. From the name of the product, it is obvious it has been designed specifically for men alone. This implies that unless you identify as a man, the product will not be suitable for you. Anne Fautso Sterling says that “Western culture is deeply committed to the idea that there are only two sexes”, and this is reinforced through this advert because the picture itself shows only a man and woman. In regard to the layout of the advert, the perfume bottle is not centred or big, it is instead pushed off to the side, so the focus is on the powerful man with his woman.
The male model is sitting like a king on his throne, with one leg resting up on the chair so we, as the audience, are able to see more of him in the photograph. His face is clearly supposed to be the highlight of the advert, and even though it is not centred, it captures your attention straight away. His items of clothing are very masculine, both in colour and style. The jacket and boots are both made of leather, a tough, strong material, almost shoving into your face the fact that he is a strong and tough man. The colours of the clothing and the advert as a whole are dark, which suggests hardness and authority, and are traditionally associated more with men. Zoe Norton Lodge states, “… darker colours, harder lines, squarer shapes … mean [a product is] for men”.
The first thing you may notice about the female model is that she is sitting behind the man. Compared to the male model who looks comfortable and relaxed in his chair, she looks rather uncomfortable and unstable in the way she is sitting. She has her hand resting on his shoulder, which makes it look like she is balancing on him and insinuates that she needs him to support herself. She is also rather scantily dressed in your typical ‘girly girl’ outfit of a dress, high heels and expensive jewellery. Beverly Skeggs writes that “women are not feminine by default … femininity is a carefully constructed appearance”. In this advert, the carefully constructed appearance is shown through the dress, high heels and jewellery the woman is wearing, as they are the epitome of femininity. The last thing that is noticeable about the female model is that her whole head, neck and shoulder are cut off by the top of the photograph, indicating that the only important part of a women is what is below her shoulders.
An important element of this advert is the male model’s hand on the woman’s leg. The way he is gripping her leg does not look as though he is using a lot of force, instead, it is a power move to show who is in control and who is more significant. By holding the woman’s leg, the man is demonstrating that he believes he is more important than her.
The other key feature of the advert is that the woman’s face is cut off, but the man’s is not. As Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook say, “the gender order is hierarchical, which means there is consistently a higher value on masculinity than on femininity”. The fact that the male’s face is shown implies he is much more important compared to the female, whose face has not been shown. Another element of the photograph is that the woman is cut off right above her chest, so the highest part of her that you can see is her breasts. This once again shown how the world views woman and their bodies, as something to look at.
Overall, it is clear the advert was designed to showcase male dominance. The male model takes up more of the photograph than the woman, ensuring that the focus is on him and him alone. He seems to barely acknowledge that she is there, apart from the light grip he has on her leg. This was likely done to demonstrate his power, but instead seems to show that woman are something to be claimed. The ad is mainly trying to infer that men who wear this perfume will automatically find women are attracted to them. This is very unlikely, yet for men viewing this ad it becomes believable through the portrayal of the man and the woman in the photograph.
NOTE: This article was written based on an audio presentation for my university unit Gender, Globalisation and Development