“I don't care what you think about me. I don't think about you at all”. This quote said by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel represent the power and will this designer had. Coco Chanel was a designer, inspiration, and rebellious woman of the early 20th century. Coco changed the way women dressed, thought and behaved in times when men led society in business. Coco understood that advertising has a significant force that easily hides gender messages within the context; it’s a way to pass on deep messages from the designer and hopefully help change gender roles. Anything from the characteristics of human subjects shown, to the furniture, color and body position; all intertwine to provide a message that could already be imbedded in us. The advertisement from Chanel’s boutiques is a good representation of a mixture of designer experiences and challenges with society’s normative and gender bias. By reviewing this advertisement, I had to break it down and analyze each subject, then place all together to analyze the overall social context.
The clear dominant part of the advertisement is the three human subjects placed in the middle. The first subject described is in the left hand side, sitting on a desk. The model is wearing traditional gendered beautification: pear necklaces; short dress; and high heels, this will lead to me believe she is representing a woman. When analyzing the pose of the woman, you can see the way she is sitting. The dress shows most of her leg, portraying the normative view of women as sexualized subject. This model is “doing gender” as West and Zimmerman described in their article. The model is representing a gender and therefore dressed and posed as a woman is expected to be in society. As she is leaning to the right, I noticed her right hand holding onto the subject in the middle. This does not show a form of domination, but more of a helping hand. As we moved to the subject in the middle, things start getting a little clearer.
While analyzing subject number 2(middle), I noticed she is also wearing a gender directed outfit. Her dress is low cut and showing a lot more skin than woman number 1. The necklaces and the dress leads to me believe she is representing a woman as well. This model’s pose is a little more explicit than woman number 1. She is highly sexualized and at the same time sitting in a lower position than the other two, demonstrating a form of submissiveness or lower class gender. As I read more on the pose of the model, I see she is being held down by the 3rd subject, and at the same time her left hand is draped over the 3rd subjects leg. This transmits the message that she is being held down, and at the same time needs the support of the 3rd subject.
Subject number 3 seems to be the key element in the whole advertisement. The outfit on this subject clearly represents a masculine figure. The model is not wearing a dress but instead a pantsuit. The jacket seems to be of a stronger material than the other two models; this...