Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bordo and the Male Model

Bordo writes on the image and structure of the male model. She makes a claim about the power of the model using specific poses. A certain “faceoff” pose almost challenges the viewer, saying “I am confident and strong in this picture and I will not look away”. Because of this, the advertisement seems tough, and built of grit and determination. It is also interesting how these outfits sell based on their image. As I check myself, I am currently wearing American Eagle pants. When I check American Eagle’s website for advertisements, I see the same pictures Bordo describes in her work. The men are not massive, but are in athletic shape and I can honestly say (in a heterosexual way) that the image just conveys sex. This leads me to believe why, exactly, did I buy these pair of jeans? Did I think they would be comfortable, or was there a more subliminal reason, such as I would appear better to women in them?

The “bigorexia” discussed is also amusing. Bordo says that the disease is a “product of a culture that doesn’t know when to stop”. Indeed, that is true. It almost seems as an answer to the portrayal of female actresses on the screen. Women try their best to look similar to figures on the screen. The same exact thing can be said about men. There are men that will work out six or seven times a week and completely overwork their body to an unhealthy degree. This can also be attributed to images displayed to our culture. When the movie 300 arrived in theatres, many men rushed to the gyms in order to sculpt themselves as Gerard Butler. The same thing happens when a Brad Pitt movie makes its way to the shelves. Men constantly believe that only that specific look can help them attract women, and they will push themselves to look that way. For example, have you ever noticed how many people are in the weight room right before Spring Break?


Roger Market said...

This is an interesting analysis of your clothes shopping habits. On a superficial level, it seems that the advertisements indeed affected your decision to buy those pants; but if we think more deeply about it, there are probably plenty of ways to subvert this idea and, thus, engage in a deconstructionist discourse. For one, it is very likely that you did not even see this particular advertisement before you bought the jeans (in fact, you said you went to the website AFTER the fact), so it did not affect your decision. I do not know how much attention you pay to such ads, so it would be difficult for me, as an outsider, to assume that you bought the pants BECAUSE of American Eagle ads (or, for that matter, because of the particular AE ad/ads you speak of).

Following is a more in-depth example. I myself do not pay very much attention to advertisements when I am shopping for clothes (which, actually, is not very often, and I am usually not alone when I do it). I buy what I think looks good, what I think I would be comfortable wearing. I also listen to the opinions of whoever is with me (my mom, sister, girlfriend, etc.). It is also interesting to point out that, although I MAY not know the ads (I cannot say I NEVER look at them, afterall), perhaps my mom, sister, and/or girlfriend, or whoever is with me, HAS/HAVE seen them. Thus, in this case, my decision to buy a particular pair pants would come INDIRECTLY from AE advertisement, through a third-party who is familiar with the ad/ads, but also from my own opinion of what looks good. I like to think that I do not cave to advertisements when it comes to clothing, at least for the most part, but they may still influence my decisions without my realizing that they do, as I have described.

Technology, on the other hand, is a different story. Sometimes, I feel like a slave to Apple! It's okay, though: I have very few problems with Apple's products, which have worked very well for me in the past, so I won't complain. One thing is for sure: Apple knows how to advertise. For that matter, American Eagle does too; it just works differently on me.

P.S. I was just wondering if you had a citation for your statement about the aftermath of the movie 300. Is there an article, or is this just your own perception (and why)?

Jake Thomas said...

There was a brief article in one of the Men's Journals, but I could not tell you exactly which one. However, I can find at least four bimonthly magazines that not only interviewed Gerard Butler and the cast of the movie, but also listed many different workouts related to the actors. Also, Jim Jones (founder of Gym Jones) was the physical trainer of everyone of the actors in the movie. The only way someone can join his gym is by requesting admission. Then, there is a committee that goes over the report. Since 300, Jim Jones has said admissions have absolutely sky rocketed.