Ad campaign sexualizing men instead of women misses mark, continues to perpetuate gender roles

The Suistudio advertising installment (pictured above) has  prompted necessary discussion regarding the sexualization of women in the media. The company aims to fight back against this; however, the ads are not effective because they do not call for an end to over sexualization. Instead, these ads suggest that the target of that representation should be males. (Courtesy of Creative Commons)

It is unacceptable that the media continue to hypersexualize and misrepresent women in advertisements. The media portray women differently than men, which is completely unjustified and discriminatory. 

The women’s fashion brand Suistudio is trying overcome these stereotypes. The company released a revolutionary advertisement campaign as an attempt to break down gender barriers.

Suistudio’s primary focus is professional business attire. Entrepreneur Fokke de Jong created the renowned men’s suiting brand, Suitsupply. The fashionista then found the sister company, Suistudio, as reported by Teen Vogue.

The women’s fashion line’s advertising campaign that attempted to terminate gender roles accidentally reestablished them. Teen Vogue noted that the fall 2017 campaign featured women in perfectly tailored suits, while lounging in the equivalent of a pent house in New York City. One attribute, however, that separated this collection from all fashion advertisements were the naked men on display. 

Suistudio paired their keen eye for detail and design with the body of unclothed men. These distinctive advertisements caught the eye of many because of their unusual use of the male body. Furthermore, the company paired the imagery with the tagline “Not Dressing Men,” as highlighted by Teen Vogue.

While this may seem like a step in the right direction for ending the objectification of women in the media, it also contradicts the company’s beliefs pertaining to sexual exploitation. 

Rather than ending gender roles, Suistudio is establishing new ones. Despite the attempt to make a political statement, the clothing company is contributing to the media’s wrongdoings.

Essentially, this movement preserves the idea of objectification, as opposed to ending it. Although it is clear that Suistudio made great efforts to prevent future hypersexualized advertisements, it can be noted that this campaign demonstrates similar values to those that already exist. 

Sexualizing men to prove a point that women should not be sexualized is simply unproductive and does nothing to solve the problem—it just changes the target of the negative representation. In order to be progressive, it is imperative to consider how both genders are viewed and continue to be conscious of any form of sexualization in the media.

Suistudio’s contemporary advertisement glorified the objectification of men, which puts their bodies as the center of attention––yet again. This did not empower or liberate women, but on the contrary, the clothing company illustrated similar ideologies of men dominating the media. 

It is imperative to end the exploitation of the human body in advertisements.  Depicting men and women enacting gender specific roles prolongs the idea of heteronormativity and preconceived notions about these roles. 

Rather than praising the advertisement campaign Suistudio created, we should acknowledge the fact that these images support objectification and a male-dominated industry. Once the idea of hypersexualization of both men and women is terminated from the media, gender roles will no longer be as ingrained in our society.