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This paper argues that the ad wants to suggest that Chanel, as a brand, is a seductive and sophisticated brand because of its sexual and affluence themes, although it is criticized for suggesting that women are men’s sexual objects. This Chanel advertisement suggests that women can only attain power, if they fully submit to the sexual desires of men. The entire scene of the ad is oriental in look, which uses the theme of Orientalism, where the Oriental is the “Other” that the dominant party uses for their own personal interests. Orientalism includes Asian and Middle Eastern signs and colors. The golden bed, golden bed sheets, and golden wall paper with its Middle-Eastern-looking designs signify Orientalism. They look exotic and different than usual Western designs. Orientalism is about power over what is different. Chanel wants to say that with an Oriental look, it is the one in power. The woman in bondage signifies power even more. She is the “product” that shows that Chanel is a powerful brand. It holds people, as if they are held captive. At the same time, the Oriental look shows sophistication. It suggests mastery over something; in this case, it is mastery over the weaker sex, the woman. Chanel might not be meaning to make it look like it is demeaning women or “Orientals,” but the entire picture looks like it is using the woman for its personal purposes, so that it can have power, the kind of power that is based on people’s weaknesses. The woman then cannot have power of her own, unless she becomes an Oriental entity. Furthermore, bondage is a sexual symbol, and Orientalism sexualizes the “Other” too. Chanel might just be saying that it is a powerful and sophisticated brand through the use of an Oriental woman. On the contrary, the use of a woman indicates sexual oppression. Even if the woman is white, her surroundings Orientalize her, thereby making her the “lower” person. Orientalism, as an underlying theme, indicates the pervading sexual oppression of women in this advertisement. The entire dress and footwear signify Oriental beauty, specifically a trampled and used beauty. The skirt has beads and golden designs. It is the most Oriental-looking in the whole ensemble. The shoes and blouse are modern in design. The shoes have high heels, with the heels upside down. The down part is the woman, who cannot escape her bondage. The blouse is checkered with frill ends. The model wears a headband that matches her blouse. Her handcuff is her bag. The blouse, bag, and headband indicate that they reinforce each other. In other words, they strengthen the proverbial chains around the woman. Though the model has a modern fashion style, the entire effect is Orientalism because of the Muslim-inspired background. By looking as an Oriental, she becomes a maiden in distress, not a white modern woman in power. She is weak, so she is easily trapped, and she must be saved. Chanel saves her with its fashion sense. But why must she be imprisoned in the first place? The act of imprisonment suggests that she has no power to begin with. As an Oriental, she is a prisoner of the one in power. The power play is clear in the uneven relationship between the brand and the woman. Chanel is the authoritative brand, when it comes to sophisticated and modern tastes. It imprisons women with its ...Show more


Chanel and Female Subjugation: The Advertisement for the Sexual Subjugation of Women Name University 3 February 2013 Figure 1: Chanel’s November 2012 Advertisement Sex sells. This is the main reason why many companies use the themes of sex and violence, or both, to advertise their products…
Author : iritchie
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