In the Gucci advertisement displayed, shows both male and female models embracing each other for a Gucci cologne advertisement. In today’s American society, looks are becoming the normal aspect of everyday American life. The contemporary media targets their advertisements to American youths and because of this, the American youth has been influenced by this. As the beauty advertisement grows, so does the ideal beauty of how a man and a woman should appear to each other. As shown here in the advertisement, it displays the woman becoming “powerless” to the man while the man is seen directly looking at the audience. This shows that the man has “power” over the woman and is illustrating that he has dominance over the woman by looking at the audience as opposed to not looking at the camera like the woman model here. Although the picture does not show the full body of the two models, the audience can depict that they are in a close embrace from the style of the poses they are in. The advertisement gives the message to the audience looking at the picture that in today’s American culture, one must purchase material products of value, such as a “Gucci Guilty” cologne, to gain status and with that status, attract people, in this case, the man in the photo is attracting the woman as she is seen seductively embracing the male model.
American media heavily portrays the man as being over dominate over woman, in this case, the man having the power to attract females by purchasing a famous, wealthy brand cologne from “Gucci” in the advertisement, gives him the power over the woman to attract her because of his material possession. The media here tells the viewer that as long as you hold possession of a highly valued brand, you can get anything you want and shows the status of your wealth. This is the “American Dream” that people are after and working towards when living in the United States. To become wealthy and by achieving that, to get a high paying job.
The media also portrays that the models are both of white ethnicities. In today’s American advertisement industry, majority of the models that are portrayed are white and they are rarely shown in other different ethnicities. This shows the dominance of being of white ethnicity is the ideal beauty and race, that still upholds, in American culture. As stated by Hortense Powdermaker’s article, “Certain articles of faith, constituting a creed of racial relations, are held almost unanimously by the Whites in our community” (Powdermaker 23). What Powdermaker states is that in our society, the white dominance is everywhere in our contemporary medium. As our ideal beauty of the whites grows, so does our perception of how one must look. It is a common ideal for a young woman to be skinny, have long, blonde, luscious hair while the man to be muscular, tall, and have manly features such as containing facial hair as shown in this photo. However, it is uncommon to see other color ethnicities in advertisements such as this. The photo also illustrates the models as non-elderly, they are young, in their prime years as young adults, and this depicts the ideal beauty in our American society, again, as only perceiving that ideal beauty as non-elderly. This culture is further explained through the article of Barbara Myerhoff as she states, “As a society, we are increasingly cut off from the elderly. We do not have them in the midst of our daily lives, and consequently have no regular access to models of successful old age” (Myerhoff 19). Myerhoff states that as we increase in more advertisements of beauty, material products, and highly valued brands, it is uncommon for an elderly model to advertise such products because they are not the ideal beauty that society is looking for. As seen in the advertisement displayed here, both the male and female models are noticeably young as that is what the American society is looking at. The advertisement photo is working on the noticeably fit male model and the attractive female model as they pose seductively towards the camera. Again, the gaze of the male model shows the power of dominance of he has control over the female, that he knows that he is young, strongly built, and that he is the ideal male model that American society is staring at because of his non-elderly features and his depiction of his high status. By purchasing such brand products as the “Gucci Guilty” cologne, the advertisement tells you that you are gradually achieving the American Dream of a high status.
Hortense Powdermaker, After Freedom: A Cultural Study in the Deep South (1939) [excerpts]
Barbara Myerhoff, Number Our Days (1978/1980) [excerpt]