This one was from my Media Analysis class. We were asked to analyze an advertisement. And I chose this one. Enjoy.
In this advertisement, a woman is tilting her head up and touching her hair using her fingers. One of her eyes is looking straight to the camera, and the other one is covered by her hair. Her lips are parted. Her whole posture portrays a sensual image of a woman. She’s wearing a simple white sleeveless top. The copywriting is the L’oreal Paris brand at the bottom of the advertisement. Aside from that, the copywriting also includes the name of the famous actress, Gong Li, the one who becomes the model in the advertisement. Also, there is a small writing above her name that says Festival de Cannes Maquilleur Official with the symbol. The advertisement is done in black and white concept.
The advertiser’s intended meaning with this advertisement is that if people buy this product, they can be like Gong Li, with free-blemish skin, fair complexion, and sensual. That by using L’oreal’s product it is not impossible to reach this Gong Li-like complexion. And then, by having the skin and make-up like her, women from all over can be as sensual as her, thus can attract the attention of men.
What people call ‘beautiful’ is different from time to time. For now it’s the free-blemish skin and the fair complexion, but maybe in the next few years, it will change again. For Asian women, they tend to want to have fairer complexion. These advertisements then give these women ways to achieve it by showing the perfect skin they want as a result of using the products. This kind of advertisement then sets the standard of beauty that women have. The standard of beauty shifts to be these sensual looking women is the attractive one. Even though in the real life there are a lot of women who do not have the face like Gong Li. Those women without the sensuality that Gong Li and the other beautiful people are not right. They need something to make them be one of the better people; the beautiful people. This is a form of normalization about women’s beauty.
The ‘common’ women who do not have the beauty like what the advertisements show are not normal. Therefore, they are buying these products in order to be accepted as one of the beautiful people. For a lot of Indonesian women, they want to have a whiter skin color or fairer complexion. If they do not have it, they will try to have it. This is the result of the normalization that comes from the media. The dissatisfaction about themselves and the effort spent trying to be normal, when actually they are already normal. The media has played a very big influence in the way of thinking of Indonesian women. All of the thought of being ‘normal’ is actually constructed by the media.
Another ideology that I find in this advertisement is the Male Gaze. In advertisements “women are depicted as sexual or aesthetical objects where they are made to look beautiful with the help of various products or services and are made capable of demonstrating desire openly especially to attract men with the help of the acquired beauty and charm.” For women, this kind of advertisement is one of the ways to acquire the male gaze. If women want the men to look at them, then they have to be beautiful, fair-skinned, no blemishes, and wear make-ups. If they are not as what the media shows them, then they have to take extra effort to make sure that they are. This is what the media has constructed in the mind of the women with advertisement like this one. Therefore, even after the feminist movements, women are still the object of men’s gaze, that actually women are still not equal with men because men are still the subject while women are the object.