On Friday I was driving down Sunset Boulevard in LA and traffic stopped right where a new ALDO billboard had been placed. I drive down Sunset for work every morning and evening, surrounded by ads full of sexism, urging consumption. What I noticed with this ad was just how many connections could be made.
Given Stacia’s recent banana blog, the male model stretched over a pile of bananas, wearing (likely) leather shoes, and sporting (likely) sweat shop made clothes overwhelmed me with its absurdity. That ad (similar to those pictured here) seemed to have an extra element that put it over the top – the bananas. Sexualization, sexism, commodification, consumption…I’m (unfortunately) used to that. But now incorporating a food, and lots of it, with such a history of violence and oppression was remarkable.
Soon, traffic picked up again and I moved away from the ad. I’ll see it day by day over the next several weeks, I’m sure. And while I can drive away from it, others have to live with the consequences of what it represents and encourages – consumption that hurts, in very real ways.
Media literacy programs provide promising strategies to address the messages companies like ALDO send through advertising. Some of the messages in these ads are more obvious than others. With a connectionist lens we can dig deeper, exposing how they support norms we rarely attend to, but that provide a foundation for violence and oppression.Categories: Connectionist Perspectives