Calvin Klein Advertisement


Media’s Depiction of Gender


Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg were launched into celebrity status when they were depicted in Calvin Klein’s racy image advertisements. However, the images they created tested the boundaries of media ethics. The selection of Kate Moss as one of the primary models for the Calvin Klein campaign is an issue within itself.  Kate Moss is shockingly below the size of an average woman in the United States.

 Kilbourne (2005) states that women are portrayed as sexually desirable only if they are thin, young, carefully groomed, and made up.  Consumers are then pressured to become sexually desirable by the standards set by the culture. Those standards are created through the creation and acceptance of mediated images.

In this specific advertisement, Kate Moss is picture topless alongside Mark Wahlberg.    They are both pictured in white Calvin Klein underwear; however Wahlberg is shown in Calvin Klein jeans. When analyzing gender roles in this image advertisement, it is important to ask questions such as, “Why does the male model have jeans on in this image, while the female model is pictured in her underwear?”  In this case, Moss in holding Wahlberg around the stomach, symbolizing the need for affection.  She is strategically positioned behind him, putting him in the forefront of the advertisement. However, Wahlberg’s physical position is casual and laid-back.      

 This advertisement creates stereotypical gender roles that are perpetuated in mediated sources on a daily basis. Women are pictured as submissive or in the background, clearly not as important as the male. The male on the other hand is prominent and agressive, fulling the patriarchial duties delegated to him by mass media.




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