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Discussion

After close consideration of each campaign, it became apparent that various aspects of the binary script were still employed; those being Goffman’s (1985) relative size, function ranking, feminine touch, the ritualization of subordination, licensed withdrawal and Kang’s (1997) bodily display. The uses of these normative standards employed by both male and female models gave prevalence to the gender binary system as it yet remains the dominant ideology alongside compulsory heterosexuality (Risman, 2004: 443). As a response to this prevalence, it became of increased interest how one might change these widespread depictions. The following images prioritize shifting the classical stereotypes of men and women through the use of opposing scripts for each figure (Signoretti, 2017: 2). In this, each individual was given the designated binary script of their counterpart; male figures were given female roles and female figures were given male roles.

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The newly scripted images played significantly with relative size and feminine characteristics; in this, the female figure was often placed at the front of the composition, standing in contrast to her male counterparts. Rather than reducing her in size, the female figure was made to take up more space in order to claim ownership over both symbolic and physical space (Hoskins, 2020: 2327). Similarly, the scripts were flipped by representing the female figure higher than the male figures; often the male figures were placed below her, laying down or sitting, employing withdrawal or dissociation of their attention from the camera. However, employing such a method presented some limitations, primarily in that of making the feminine less expressive and more serious in her tone whereas her male counterparts were able to explore more variety in their expressions within images. This gave significant attention to the ways in which the gender binary script limits individuals and their expressions in order to live up to the normative conceptions of femininity and masculinity. These behaviours are at the risk of continual gender assessment (West and Zimmerman, 1987: 136). That is, when the feminine or masculine figures fall out of line, they are then susceptible to their gender being assessed by others, and likewise, an assessment of their sexual orientation.

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An important aspect noted in the previous analysis of Versace, Prada, and Dior, was in the portrayal of hyper-masculine figures as well as the orientation of all masculinities and femininities in relation to the dominant or idealized masculine form (i.e., the strong and dominant male figure who is ready to take charge and control the situation). This brought up the devaluation of femininity as it pertains to both masculine and feminine individuals who do not quite fit the script of the hyper-masculine, thus they are seen as a deviation from the dominant form. With this, we see an abundance in gender hegemony, where all masculinities and femininities fall within the masculine-patriarchal framework, subordinating femininity as a whole, including female masculinities and male femininities (Hoskin, 2020: 2320). With that in mind, another key method used was the contrast of masculinity to femininity, displayed by the male figures who employed standardized feminine traits – that of being weak, dissociated, vulnerable or fragile (Hoskins, 2020: 2326). This was shown through just barely touching, withdrawal of attention, and in the physical canting of the body (i.e., a knee bend, head tilt, or contortion in the body's position) (Goffman, 1985: 29-45). These physical adjustments brought into question the prevalence of gender hegemony, causing both masculine and feminine characteristics to become blurred through their use across different gendered bodies.

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Overall, by engaging in the opposite scripts as prescribed by the gender binary, both male and female figures represented a similar neutralization of gender to that of Prada and Dior's 2021 campaigns. By recognizing the feminine and masculine aspects of each individual through their display of gender, it gave the sense of a levelled playing field, lessening the dynamic of dominance and subordination between the masculine and the feminine. 

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