I chose a Balmain Paris advertisement picturing five women all dressed head to toe in black garments. While these garments are sexualized through low cuts, transparent fabric and high heels, the photograph takes on a more masculine feeling. Their expressions are filled with hard stares, pouting and open mouths which are not the soft and kind faces that a woman is stereotypically expressing. Crushed red solo cups, popcorn and trash are scattered in the foreground, the women are gathered around a television playing video games. While women do partake in eating popcorn and playing video games, it is seen as more stereotypically male to have trash on the floor and friends surrounding a television. The model’s posture as well can be seen as more masculine. Instead of the stereotypical “lady like” posture of crossing their legs and sitting up straight. These models have their legs spread open and have a slouched posture, which is a posture typically performed as a man. Even though the garments themselves are more feminine, everything else about the women and the photograph are stereotypically masculine. In the book Fashion and Cultural Studies, Susan Kaiser states,“Gender is actually not just who we are; it is what we do or perform as we participate in an embodied way of cultural discourses.(2)” I think this idea of performing as a certain gender regardless of one’s sex works in a similar way in relationship between the actual garments and the gender the person is performing as. Clothing is not the driving force that defines a person’s gender, instead it is how one performs and acts that truly defines them. This advertisement is a good representation of that because these women in the photograph are dressed in feminine garments but are performing stereotypical masculine.
- Sorrenti, Mario, Balmain’s Spring Summer, 2015
- Susan Kaiser, Fashion and Cultural Studies, 123