Dolce & Gabbana’s advertisement
The highly sexualized fashion advertisement above is an advertisement by Dolce & Gabbana, a famous Italian fashion house. This is one of the highly controversial advertisements of Dolce & Gabbana that received much criticism and public enrage against Dolce & Gabbana
In this advertisement, a highly sexualized young woman dressing in a swimsuit is lying on the ground with her feet tiptoeing against the ground. She has been controlled by a half-naked man with both of her hands fixed firmly on the ground by this strong man in black glasses. In addition to this half-naked man, there are also a few men, some of them half-naked, others fully dressed, glazing at the women being controlled on the ground. The woman on the ground seems to be weak and feeble subject to the power and domination of the half-naked man.
This fashion advertisement by Dolce & Gabbana reflects the widespread binary opposition that organizes gender in the fashion industry and society. Since our birth, gender has become an everyday process of the body “navigating and negotiating through time and space”. Gender is involved with the power relationship between males and females, and women across different cultures are often subject to a male-dominated hierarchical structure in which females are at the lowered level of the hierarchical being looked and gazed by men. Men’s gaze is involved with “an active, masculine positioning that has subjectively”, whereas females serve as a passive role in the masculine gaze. Advertisements often represent and perpetuate this binary opposition between males and females, in which females are often transformed into sexualized objects under the gaze and control by men.
This highly sexualized advertisement reflects precisely the binary opposition between males and females. The body of this woman has been transformed into a highly sexualized object to be subject to the male gaze while her body is controlled by men in the unequal gender relationship between males and females.
Dominic Green, “15 Recent Ads that Glorify Sexual Violence against Women,” Business Insider, May 19, 2013,
Kaiser, Susan B. Fashion and Cultural Studies. London and New York: Berg, 2012.