The ideal post-modern woman is a collage of charm, grace, beauty, strength and independence. This ideal is what Keira Knightley epitomizes in the Coco Mademoiselle perfume commercial. A far cry from the original feminist movement which was entrenched in politics this post-feminism created a realm where woman sought all the riches of the feminist movement but shunned the feminist title (Goldman 1992, 130). Keira is presented as a beautiful independent woman, who is free from the hold of men and sexually liberated. However, through close examination, it is clear that her independence is in relation to her power over the men in the commercial. Further, this power is simply power over the man whom she wishes to seduce.
The commercial begins with Keira slipping into her loft in the early morning, wearing only a men’s white dress shirt and black hat. She looks past the camera, never making eye-contact. Keira is presented as the super-woman which Goldman (1992) describes as “sublimely self-confident and secure, poised, effortlessly beautiful, [moving] with a style and grace called ‘presence’... independent and successful; liberated, yet feminine and romantic; modern, yet traditional at the same time” (107-108). By looking past the camera Keira becomes the subject of envy. This envy can only be achieved by distance, we look to her but she does not look back at us, her demeanour signifies confidence, which we watch but do not have a connection to (Goldman 1992, 118).
Throughout the ad, Keira exudes a confidence in a playful yet mature way. This confidence, however, rises from her relation to men. At the beginning of the commercial she is dressed in a way that implies she has just left her lover’s room. So the ‘presence’ which she holds is portrayed as a product of her recent encounter with a man. This is emphasized by her anticipation for her next contact with another man. As she is imagining the next encounter she sprays herself with Coco Mademoiselle. She then leaves her room, only to immediately meet the man she had envisioned.
Keira exercises her power over men through the use of the perfume. It is not clear whether the room she had come from at the beginning belongs to the man she envisions and encounters later in the ad, but either way her ambivalence towards them is a sign of power over them. This self-control plays into Goldman’s (1992) observation that control in advertising lends itself to other aspects of life (111). Keira is in control of her situation, her interactions with men, and her body as well. This control is what makes her Coco’s “mademoiselle”. Mademoiselle has been typically associated with the transition from child to womanhood which is something that is unnerving to most young girls, with Keiras childlike play and mature grace Chanel has placed the childlike and mature side by side. Eluding that although you may be growing older, you can definitely act younger while still be in control and mature. This is quite reminiscent...