Dolce & Gabbana Wins the Macho Prize for Most Sexist Advertising & Le Mouvement du Nid for Least Sexist Ad {Cultural Notes}


Sexism & Violence Against Women in Advertising

When talking about fragrance it is hard to eschew images from advertising campaigns, sometimes pleasant, sometimes less so.

An association in France called La Meute (The Pack) gives out prizes each year to the most sexist ads and the least sexist ones. Everyone is encouraged to participate and submit their own findings (unfortunately, as only found in a French publication - it would be great if they could broaden their scope).

So, apparently, they missed the Tom Ford ads, and in this case "sexism" would include men (this site does not show the most porno-chic ones in the series)...

This year Dolce & Gabbana won the 2008 Macho prize for its continuing depiction of women under a sexist angle over the years. Two other recipients are the Polo Cup Volkswagen for the stereotypical representation of a beautiful air-head and Citroên for the image of a pregnant woman cut in half.

The least sexist ad prize or 2008 Femino prize went to Le Mouvement du Nid, an association that fights prostitution and which this year chose the effective slogans "Are you a client?" -- "Neither my mother, nor my sister"(in a tattoo). And finally, "Prostitution is not for my own nor for others".

You can see some other Femino prizes for this year as well as runner-ups here.

The Macho prizes are not shown as the organizers do not want to advertise those images further.


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13 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Just when I think I've seen it all. . .I haven't seen the half of it. The prostitution ad was a real eye opener. Who knew?

  2. Ugh!!! That is horrible--shame on Dolce & Gabbana. It's not even artful--it's just ugly and sick.

    It's nice to see you are blogging strong, dear Marie-Helene. I hope you are well.

  3. QinnCreative,

    Pardon me but what do you mean about the prostitution ad exactly that was an eye-opener?

  4. Sali,

    I am well, thank you!

    Yep, it's pretty degrading for everyone included in that photo shoot.

    I'd love to hear the artistic spiel on this one.

  5. I don't see the D&G ad as sexist. It's just boring. It's probably meant to be provocative, but am I to believe those posing male models are going to gang bang the woman or what? They seem bored and expressionless, and the woman is carefuly dressed, has perfect make-up and hair, no trace of any violence. And the sterile white background with blue sky and clouds... There's NO emotion in that picture. And the oil on everybody's skin just screams "hey, sexy, SEEEEEXYYYYYYY!" Yeah, sure.
    It is wannabe-sexy and wannabe-provocative, but, alas, poorly executed, sterile and - ironically - perfectly politicaly correct. I doubt D&G would ever try something REALLY hazardous. I don't feel offended by this ad, just tired to tears...

  6. I think that for less sophisticated viewers of the advert, it might have a different effect.

    Of course the ad is not first degree, but nevertheless the staging of this scene feels a bit murky. One can wonder how people who have been raped or gang-raped feel about such ads.

    The problem is that it makes violent images banal. As you hint about it, they contribute towards desensitizing people who may, at best, feel bored rather than shocked by the ideological implications of such representations.

    Not all subjects are indifferent. Moreover let us not forget that this is not a work of art but a commercial advertisement with a purpose.

  7. Just some thoughts:

    I have to say I am with A. on this: the D&G ad is rather boring, not provocative...and his/her description is on the mark!
    Then again you have a point that images such as that contribute to desensitization. Perhaps there needs to be an education in place, esepcially for young people, which might guide through the deciphering of images and deconstructing them, reasoning about their purposes. That would help, I believe, in un-demonizing.

    I am curious about the pregnant woman cut in two and why this is considered sexist, though! Was the emphasis on the womb and the foetus? What was the purpose and message etc... Without seeing it I can't really judge. I suppose I should just Google it.

    And re: the anti-prostitution ad. Hmmmm...prostitution (and I mean the legal, official kind in which women -and men- are *not* kidnapped and subjected to human rights deprivation, but choose it as a profession and declare it to the police and write it on their identities, such as is the case here) serves a purpose. In fact it keeps women at large safer from people who -deprived from an outlet to their vices- would be more inclined to be violent towards an unsuspecting victim.
    In a legalized environment those people can let a little steam off and that might be a good thing for society in general.
    The matter of legalization of prostitution of course is *huge* and very sensitive. I understand it is not an across-the-board-practice all over the world) and very often the majority of prostitutes are the abducted, illegal kind who are subjected to torture and violation of their most basic human rights (in which case anyone is naturally appalled....)

    Thought provoking this whole advertising issue, isn't it?

  8. I'm with you on this, Marie-Helene--desensitization is the truly scary thing, and you know? I'm glad I'm not nearly sophisticated enough to think even mildly violent ads against women could be interpreted as either boring or titillating.

  9. Helg,

    Just to answer on one point: the question is why did the advertisers choose a pregnant woman over a woman or a man for the car advertising?

  10. Sali,

    I think that people who look at this ad and see beyond its blasé atmosphere could feel concerned about its moral implications for people living together in society.

  11. I am not sure what I think this is. Gangbang certainly did not come to mind

    bam bam
  12. I was wondering if oyu by any chance knew the name of the Dolce and Gabbana image I am attepmting to write a paper on sexist advertising!


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