Art critic John Berger’s text Ways of Seeing suggests that women in art are often displayed for the pleasure of men, tilting their heads and looking at the viewer with an air of suggestion and submission. There’s a connection between this idea and his claim that advertising sells fantasy more than it does products; ads seem to suggest, “Buy this, and this girl will want to sleep with you.” The objectification of women sells.
Motorcycle advertising is no exception. Asphalt and Rubber’s Jensen Beeler is sick of seeing sexualized women in bike advertising, and the site avoided posting a recent ad campaign by Ducati dealer Motocorsa that features a model clothed in skin-tight jeans, black undies, a red bandeau, and matching stilettos posing seductively with a bike. She is shot pouting, baring her naked back, and smooching a bike.
But a while later, Beeler discovered something amazing: Motocorsa redid the shoot with men from around the shop posing in the very same poses as model Kylie. In the same clothes. With the same suggestive glances. The second shoot subverts and critiques the previous; it reminds us of how inundated we are with images of scantily-clad women intended to sell products to (mostly) men. The pattern of sexualized marketing is exposed, and it’s awesome. Take a look at the photos below!
Thanks to Asphalt and Rubber
First published October 17, 2013