© Copyright 2017 Jessica Sirro, Ryerson University
Globally lingerie is viewed as a clothing necessity for women to demonstrate their sex appeal and femininity. Magazines and most advertising platforms present women in lingerie to lure customers, they favor the use of half naked women to represent their social media ad campaigns. Producing a magazine cover for my research project seemed the most logical way to underline the sexualization that mass media has imprinted on lingerie. Magazines have taken something that is meant to be private and made it public. Dee Amy-Chinn, in her article, This is Just for Me(n) (2006), influenced my decision to take the approach in creating a magazine cover. Before reading the piece, I was unaware of the impact that the media had on a piece of clothing, her argument examines the negativity it entails (Amy-Chinn 155). I have chosen to create a cover, oppose to an entire magazine, because people are intrigued by aesthetically appealing images that are in front of them. The title of my magazine “For Me(n)”, stems from Amy-Chinn’s article, and insinuates the epidemic that female clothing is meant to be worn for the pleasures of a man. However, I title the magazine ironically. The ‘ideal’ audience is for women, the irony is due to the over-sexualization.
My argument extends Amy-Chinn’s and analyzes the media aspect. Media has changed the meaning of women wearing lingerie into a sexualized object and failing to acknowledge the confidence gained for females when wearing the undergarments. My project will answer the question; how does the media’s projection of lingerie influence a women’s portrayal of herself when she is wearing it?
The Process of Creation:
Constructing my project I intended to complete a re-write of a book scene where a female character is identified as unintelligible compared to the male character, which illustrates the degradation of women in the public sphere and found there was not enough analysis to formulate a successful critique. Lingerie, however, embodies a powerful representation of the female ‘self’ because of the assumptions made that associate a woman to her clothing, or rather what she wears underneath her clothing. Male-targeted magazine covers like, Sports Illustrated or GQ, display a woman in her underwear posing with ‘male things’ making men more interested in what they are seeing/reading. Women magazines are no different than men magazines, and although, not noticeable, the media cleverly manage to take a magazine intended for women and make it for men’s satisfaction.
My intentions were to take what the audience sees in a magazine and uncover the industries meaning. Similar, to a re–write, except I am providing a more visual analysis. Choosing the center photo was not difficult, I assumed Victoria Secret, a lingerie department store, would have an image that perfectly captured the magazines’ purposes. Although, the fact that initially, the woman was modeling a Halloween costume made the photo more significant to portray. The media depicts lingerie as a costume to put on and gain a new identity.
Specific words and phrases within my magazine cover are commonly used throughout scholarly articles, that I will be examining to pursue my critique, for example, “sex”, and “Wonderbra.” Amy-Chinn uses the word, “déshabillement,” in her article, which is defined as being partly clothed (156). I wanted to highlight the keywords and assumptions that are coined with lingerie. Including the phrases, “exclusive issue” and “buy me” are shown on a published magazine, however, I purposely meant to objectify the words, to reflect the media’s representation of women wearing lingerie.
The media alters the meaning of wearing lingerie for women making it appear that dressing ‘sexy’ will encourage confidence. This is not to say feeling confident is adverse, or that the media is a horrible creation, however, the media fails to deliver the appropriate message to their female audience, on the true meaning of beauty. I created my magazine cover for women to understand that they do not have to listen to what corporations consider beautiful, sexy and confident. The blurbs I have written in my magazine are intentionally conventional, because the media depicts lingerie as meaningless material designed for the pleasure of man, but does not consider the empowering effects lingerie has on a woman’s identity. Advertising underwear sexualizes women, sending a negative message by publicly displaying lingerie for the “consumption of the male gaze” (Amy-Chinn 157).
Depending on the lingerie chosen, the material is designed to implement sexual activity and amplify arousal. The sensation encourages that the individual wearing the lingerie, that they look good, however, I argue, the media considers the pleasurable appeal of lingerie is targeted for someone else, usually, a man. A woman wearing lingerie appreciates their appearance and feel vigorous and independent, not because they are getting approval from another person. This allows women the chance to explore their identity in an empowering manner (Jantzen, Ostergaard, Vieira 194).
The Historical Contexts:
Magazines experienced a “sexual revolution” from the 1960s and 1970s (Ticknell, Estella, et al. 51). Specifically, in the contemporary teenage magazine, the differences visually between girls and boys, are minimal (Ticknell, Estella, et al. 47). Sexualizing a magazine for teens becomes a source of “sexual knowledge” in which, the younger generation believes is true (Ticknell, Estella, et al. 47). Looking at the magazine covers of Cosmopolitan or Glamour, a beautiful, thin and partially clothed celebrity will often be pictured with blurbs around her that suggest tips for the reader, on how to improve themselves for someone else’s pleasure, by flaunting the images of these models in their underwear they are projecting unrealistic beauty standards onto the viewer. The media perpetuates a false portrayal of lingerie and, at a young age, influences youth to idealize sexual objectivity, dismissing emotional connectivity of femininity.
In an article, Becoming a ‘Woman to the Backbone’ (2006) the authors acknowledge the contradictions of lingerie, because women wear to express their identity, and as a “tool” to invoke interest (Jantzen, Ostergaard, Vieira 196). Concluding that, wearing lingerie is an act of manipulation to “generate behaviors of the intimate self” [intended italics] (Jantzen, Ostergaard, Vieira 197). Introducing the “Wonderbra” to lingerie, this bra changed the perception of lingerie, becoming famously known in the media world (Amy-Chinn 159). By enlarging the appearance of the breasts, the Wonderbra suffered many feminist critiques, because the bra encourages women to modify their bodies. Although, the lingerie piece did not disturb feminist because of the bra’s deceit, but the advertisements released, promoting the Wonderbra, stimulate patriarchal views (Amy-Chinn 159). The ad advocates men to objectify women rather than view them as a peer. For example, a Wonderbra ad released in August (1999), photographs a woman in just a bra with the caption “I can’t cook. Who cares?” Women are constantly being reminded by the media to alter their bodies, in order to be accepted into society.
In my analysis, I attempted to show that the media falsely advertises the representation of lingerie for women, categorizing women who wear the underclothing as an objectification of the male gaze. I perceived that the media performs these inconsiderate projections of female underclothing because it sells easily. The media fails to deliver the truth about the women on the magazine’s modeling in their underwear, that not only are they over sexualized, but they are airbrushed and their impurities are covered up to maintain the visualization of perfection. However, empowering women are working to change the representation of lingerie in the media, plus size model, Ashley Graham released her own lingerie line with Canadian retailer Addition Elle. My magazine cover displays the numerous deficiencies within published magazines exhibiting women wearing lingerie.
Amy-Chinn, Dee. “This is just for Me(n): How the Regulation of Post-Feminist Lingerie
Advertising Perpetuates Woman as Object.” Journal of Consumer Culture, vol. 6, no. 2,
2006, pp. 155-175,
Jantzen, Christian, Per Ostergaard, and Carla M. S. Vieira. “Becoming a ‘woman to the
Backbone’: Lingerie Consumption and the Experience of Feminine Identity.” Journal of
Consumer Culture, vol. 6, no. 2, 2006, pp. 177-202
GS1, The Global Language of Business. EAN/UPC barcodes. Webpage. Belgian Copyright law.
Jessica Sirro. “Lingerie Gaze Magazine” Ryerson University, 2017.
Ticknell, Estella, et al. “Begging for it: “New Femininities,” Social Agency, and Moral Discourse
in Contemporary Teenage and Men’s Magazines.” Feminist Media Studies, vol. 3, no. 1,
2003, pp. 47-63
Victoria Secret. Model: halloweenElisa Hosk. Photograph, “Victoria’s Secret Sexy Ice Angel Costume”.
- © 2017 Fashion Gone Rogue. LookBook http://www.fashiongonerogue.cHalloween
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