Provide a detailed, critical analysis of a cultural text.
A visual advert of what an essay will contain is quick and easy, allowing the author to put their points across clearly. As the cultural text I am going to analyse is Coco mademoiselle the film by Chanel and how the main protagonist is highly sexualized, I feel the perfume bottle is the best image to use because this is the promoted product.
First layout plan shows the perfume bottle in the centre of the page with analysis encasing it. This breaks the text up to make it easier for the reader to take in information and for the author to separate main points included in essay.
Second layout plan shows the text to one side of the image in a block potentially making it difficult for the
reader to understand. as a poster should be bold, eye-catching and easily legible, the first poster layout is most suitable for the look I wish to achieve.
Assessing the sexual content of the 2011 Coco mademoiselle film needs to be shown from all angles, the actions of the protagonist and male character in the bedroom scene has been criticised as not suitable for young children to watch.
In the advert for the perfume the actress is shown being photographed on a bed, baring her shoulders for the camera and seeming to be wrapped only in a sheet. At one point the photographer unzips her boots, and appears about to kiss her. The complainant, who saw the “overtly sexual” ad during the filmIce Age 2, challenged whether it was suitable to be broadcast during a film aimed towards children.
Chanel defended the advert, saying: “The photographer helped the actress remove her boots, rather than her clothes, as part of a wardrobe change during the photo shoot.” Describing Knightley as “playful and sensual” rather than “overtly sexual”, Chanel said that said the ad was in line with most viewers’ expectations of perfume advertising and that it was therefore scheduled appropriately.
However, whilst the ASA acknowledged that the undressing in the ad took place in the context of a photo shoot, they said that “the photographer was directly involved in unzipping the actress’ garments and that there was a suggestion that she was naked aside from a bed sheet.” They also noted “clear sexual tension” between the pair.
“We considered the ad was suitable for older children, but that the sexually suggestive material was unsuitable for young children. We therefore concluded that the ad was inappropriately scheduled and an ex-kids restriction should have been applied to prevent the ad from being broadcast in or around children’s programming,” the ASA ruling concluded.
Cultural text: Coco Mademoiselle Chanel- The Film.
To analyse my cultural text I need to look at other sources and ideas about the advertising industry. Emily Hoyle states:
Author, journalist and broadcaster Natasha Walter authored a book called “Living Dolls, The Return of Sexism” a particularly influential book on the topic of feminism. The book’s theorisation is that sexualisation is being sold to women under the ideological guise of feminism and liberation. However is the theory that women sexualise themselves through confusion and brainwashing from the sex industry and mass media slightly one sided?
This can be greatly seen in the perfume advertising industry.
Not everybody seeing this advertising is persuaded to buy the product.
A female listener recently complained to BBC Radio 4 about a ‘provocative’ advertisement in John Lewis Kingston for their bra fitting service. The advertisement was displayed in their canteen and featured a ‘curvy’ female model with long hair, wearing only lingerie, throwing her head back and pouting her lips. Although only one person; the advert appears in 30 stores; complained about the advertisement that made her feel uncomfortable (in particular it was the look on the model’s face) and even though she described herself as ‘desensitized to sexism’ she felt it was inappropriate for John Lewis to display such an advertisement.This sparked a debate regarding sexualised imagery of women and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour spoke to Jo Hooper the Head of Womenswear at John Lewis regarding this complaint. Both the person who complained and the presenter compared the image to ‘Page 3’; as Jo explained “…what I would challenge your listeners and our customer to do is look at this image in the appropriate context.”
This cultural text can be analysed from many different angles, I have chosen to explore how the woman protagonist is portrayed as a sexualised character seducing the other male characters. Perfume adverts seen today, for example, 2014 ‘You’re the one I want’ by Chanel and 2014 ‘Euphoria’ by Calvin Klein’ have a lot of power content and references that shows the consumer how, when you buy this ‘perfume’, you become invincible. This could also be seen as this is the only way women, or men, can become ‘powerful’.
The perfume ‘Coco mademoiselle’ was first released in 2001 for younger Chanel consumers. The 2011 advert, staring Keira Knightly shows a day in the life of a young model waking up to Coco mademoiselle and needing that to start her day. The main protagonist is dressed in a tight, beige biker suit, riding a matching motorbike. Her pose is very provocative on the motorbike giving a stereotypical image of a beautiful woman. The colour of the bike gear also gives a seductive air as it suggests she is wearing little clothes. This compared to the three men wearing black bike suits, who catch up with her at the traffic lights, gives the impression the main character is forever being looked at and followed. This thought of a woman being watched by a male gaze is similar to the quote ‘spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of woman is designed to flatter him’ by John Berger, Ways of Seeing 1972.
The male gaze is seen again when the protagonist arrives at her destination and is received by a male photographer on a scene of a bedroom photo-shoot. This has been criticised as being ‘overly sexual’ Lisa Niven, Vogue 2013 and should be banned from playing on television during Children’s programming. The argument against this was the actress was being ‘playful and sensual’ and the photographer was only ‘helping the actress remove her boots’ Chanel, 2013.
The soundtrack to the film, ‘It’s a man’s, man’s, man’s world’ by James Brown performed by Joss stone, enhances my view on the film being shot in a ‘man’s world’ and how a woman needs to be provocative to have power, as seen in the last scene, the actress seduces the male then leaves.
The writing by Caroline Evens and Lorraine Gamman on how women are looked at, through males eyes in society. ‘ Woman as object’ upholds very strong ideas about women being ‘Gazed’ at and how they are adorned by men but not through a protective way but through a crude and animalistic way. Mulvey’s states women are being objectified in a male society, only worth what a possession might be to a man. Taking the idea of women as objects is also seen in Berger’s writing about how women are portrayed in different ways through artworks and image. He states women are ‘ objectified in the representation of western culture’ and how this alone shows how differently women were treated to other cultures. He says also ‘ it reduced everything to the equality of objects’ as if everything was exchangeable and could be bought or sold for better. This way of life for women, however, has been expected from a young age so have had no chance of changing it. In 1972 Berger explains ‘to be born a woman is to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men’, enhancing the thought of objectifying women.
Foucault however, believes women are being surveyed and inspected so need to change the way they act because they are being constantly looked at. Because they feeling like eyes are on them all the time they discipline themselves to act a certain way therefore changing there lifestyle to satisfy men. This then all leads to women’s oppression and inequality from being controlled by men constantly checking what they look like and how they act.
Said uses the word ‘spectator’ to describe male surveillance of women. This suggests women could be looked at like a sport giving a different perception of how women need to act. With this statement women would not just perform, but to their best ability to please a man.
This way of looking at women is a very old fashioned way of life nowadays in western cultures. Some feminists however may think women are being oppressed through appearance from cosmetics and the media.