One of the most recent, successful, and controversial ad campaigns of the nineties is that of Calvin Klein. Ironically, in contrast to the normal, objectifying advertisements that deface women altogether, Klein focuses on his model’s expressions. However, these expressions are similar to those of a scared child. The naked female model in turn looks even more vulnerable than when she was faceless.
Here, in this ad Kate Moss is depicted as an innocent scared child. Her fingers touch her lips as if she is not permitted to speak, while her eyes look as if they are bruised. Moss’ breast is exposed in this image, but instead of appearing voluptuous, Moss appears to be almost prepubescent. She stares vacantly and helplessly into the camera. Again, women see these images as attractive to men and subsequently feel the need to embody them. Unfortunately, the body of Kate Moss is an unrealistic and unattainable ideal for most women. This distorted ideal body image is one of the leading causes for the recent rise of anorexia in young girls. The waif woman image is causing extreme low self-esteem for women in the nineties. The advertisement proves effective because normal women can never, and will never look like Kate Moss. All the hollow attempts will only bring more attention to these marketing strategies, ultimately more business for Calvin Klein. It is difficult to pinpoint the cause for Klein’s overwhelming success despite the nature of his advertisements. Before Calvin Klein’s waif image developed, it was thought that concentration on a woman’s voluptuous physical features was what intrigued men. But this idea of Moss as a helpless child, with no real feminine curves at all, reiterates the argument that the male attraction to certain ads lies in the sexual power it gives them. Women please men in their nudity, their purity, and their body size. Women can never be happy with themselves until their representation in advertising become more reflective of reality. But if the ads become more realistic, then the advertisements aren’t able to sell their self-help images. Essentially the world of morals and advertising, if the two can logically coexist, form a constant vicious cycle.
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