Glamour Is the State of Being Envied

“Glamour is the state of being envied” John Berger
Over the years the style and level of sexuality shown in advertisements has gone from a level of relative innocence to one where provocation and mature sexual themes has become an industry norm. In the last 20 years, we have seen the industry transform the way products are advertised to society based on how our culture is developing socially. Global influences such as mass communications and Internet technologies have provided venues to open how and what we communicate more freely than ever before.   This exposure to mass amounts of information has created a de-sensitization towards the content and images we see through the thousands of advertisements seen daily.

This paper will attempt to analyze how advertisers use “the gaze” to attract specific target audiences, why advertisers portray products and services in a more provocative and sexually explicit manner in their messaging today, why society is becoming more desensitized towards sexual advertisements, as well as review the different meanings associated with the nature of provocative messaging in materialist cultures, such as the UK with this tantalizing phenomenon. The analysis will use an example of advertisements from the 1960’s and a more current advertisement campaign released in 2002 from the multi-million dollar cosmetic and fashion line, Dior.

The Gaze and Sex Appeal
Throughout the centuries, images have been analyzed in depth to understand the meaning and message the artist is trying to portray to the audience. In the history of art, the female was looked at as an object; a passive figure in most images. Women were seen as sexual beings or maternal figures. In the 70's, feminist Laura Mulvey altered the theory by clearly stating that, "our viewing circumstances are influences by the psychic structures that make us into gendered subjects." [1] Women do not act in images or on film; they appear. Even in most advertisements today, women are...