A student of mine, Tim C., wrote a nice analysis of two Dolce and Gabbana ads, one which has been widely castigated as a glamorization of gang rape, and one that I’d not yet seen. The familiar ad, below, features four mostly dressed men standing/crouching over a restrained woman:
The second ad is very similar thematically, but instead of a group of mostly-dressed men standing/crouching over a mostly-naked woman, it’s a group of mostly-dressed men standing/crouching over a naked man (though with no restraint).
What does Tim make of this?
One can make the argument that Dolce & Gabanna, through these two ads, are not promoting male dominance over females. Instead, they are promoting the dominance of the men who wear these brand name clothes, but through means of controversial ideas that society takes for granted. They want people to see the superficial idea that if you wear these clothes, you will feel powerful and in control (just like these men in the ads). This works because the social construct of our society has accepted this idea of male dominance [over women and inferior men].
What do you think?Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.