Tessa Adriaansen

Analysis of the advertisement

For this module I have chosen the advertisement shown above. The woman exposed in the picture is Gisele Bündchen, the most successful model in the world. In the picture she is advertising for Ipanema, her own brand. Ipanema is a shoe-brand, which mostly sells sandals and slippers. Thus, the depiction of the body in this particular advertisement should be directed at the promotion of footwear. In this analysis, I will first introduce some points of view on appearances and the body that I believe can be related to the advertisement. Next, I will go more deeply into the subject matter by analyzing the picture shown above.
What I think is interesting about this advertisement is that it depicts the body in such a particular fashion while the initial goal of the company seems not to be directed towards body image. Yet, the nudeness of Gisele, her skinniness, and her skin as completely covered in tattoos relates to many of the contemporary ideas about the usage of the body. I believe it specifically relates to the postmodern idea that the appearance of the body is something to play with. Also, this commercialized version of the tattooed body can be connected to modern primitivism. Modern Primitivists, as described by Pitts, use the body as a source of self expression and as a manner to distinguish oneself from others. In other words: “Identity is perceptible only through…. Resisting and claiming the other, declaring the boundary where the self diverges from and merges with the other”. (Phelan, p. 135).
As stated by Kathy Davis, through the cultivation of the body, individuals enact and display their desire for control. The body is the subject of ones own control, it is a makeable entity. People are agents, and they are free to choose how to display and even to create their own bodies. A radical example of this is Orlan, a French artist who uses her own body as a work of art and underwent several surgeries because of this. During an interview, she stated; ‘Materiality does not interest me- I am after the idea, and how I can materialize the idea to get to its essence.’ The use of tattoos and piercings by modern primitivists relates to the same idea. They also play with the body to individualize it and distinguish it from others.
The use of tattoos by Gisele is quite particular, because it seems to me that the representation of the body is quite distinct from the footwear she appraises. The background of the image is white, indicating that all attention must be on Gisele’s body. MyseIf, I barely noticed her completely ordinary looking sandals. Not only the tattoos, but also her skinniness contributes to the ideas mentioned before about the makeability of the body. As discussed in the previous module, regulating ones food intake is another measure of control. Anorexia, for example, may be regarded as just another variation of the ideas concerning the ‘makeability’ of the body.
To come to my final message, what I believe is important about this advertisement is that it shows how the ideas concerning the makeability of the body have become commercialized and play a big part in everyday life. Even with something as ordinary as sandals, the body and ideas about individuality play a big role. And it seems this strategy in commercials is efficient; individuality is a desired trait of ones personality. More importantly, it is makeable. In my opinion, as long as the consumers believe this the product will be successful. Whether the promotion of these ideas about the body is something positive is debatable. On the one hand, perhaps yes, for it can give people who are not content with themselves now the positive idea that there at least is a possibility to change their appearances and even personalities sometime in the future. On the other hand, no, for the desire for control can become addictive and might result into illnesses such as Anorexia Nervosa.


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Literature and Movies ; everything assigned for module 6.