Chloe L. sent along an analysis of a post-Thanksgiving advertisement she received in the mail:
The ad, Chloe points out, manages to cover quite a bit of ground. The tag line at the very top (“Keep feeding yourself with shoes, not food!”) tells women to forgo eating in favor of figurative consumption. This resonates with the cultural expectation that women’s primary purpose is to be, as Chloe puts it, “aesthetically pleasing for others.” She is also presented as a sexualized object. Chloe again:
Though we cannot see more than legs, we know that it is a woman by her feminine high-heeled booties and shaved legs… [she] is presumably naked with her bra hanging on the door knob.
The image, then, harmonizes nicely with the copy; both suggest that women should make strong efforts to shape and display their bodies in ways that conform to cultural expectations.
Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.