A Provocative Campaign Uses Naked Men To Flip The Script On Gender Roles In Advertising

"This makes me proud to be a woman."

To alter the way people see gender roles in advertising, an NSFW ad campaign from women's suit-maker Suistudio features impeccably dressed women in suits striking dominant poses — all while naked men unnecessarily rest nearby, purposefully relegated to the background and inactive.

The thought-provoking and provocative campaign, which is called "Not Dressing Men," reimagines men as objects and women in positions of power. Though the gender-flipping aspect of the ads is obvious, the campaign hopes to hit on a deeper and more pervasive aspect of how gender is typically expressed through advertising, generally with the roles reversed.

"There is nothing wrong with sex, the naked human body, and the inclusion of that in a campaign. Sex is a big part of fashion," Suistudio USA Vice President Kristina Barricelli tells Upworthy. "The problem is that in recent history, we haven't seen a naked man objectified in the background. How strange! Why not?"

Sexism in advertising is nothing new, but only recently have ad agencies and a handful of companies begun to push back and demand change. Last year, for example, Madonna Badger of Badger & Winters unveiled the #WomenNotObjects campaign to start a conversation about the objectification of women in advertising. Women and their allies used the hashtag to call out sexist ads, and Badger & Winters created a video to address the issue that featured women holding examples of degrading ads and calling out the absurd messages they profess.

And it's not just women who are demanding to see a change in the way they are so often portrayed and treated within the ad industry. In 2016, ad agency TBWA attempted to show what it's like for women in the male-dominated field by placing men in advertising in front of a camera to recite quotes by their female counterparts about the sexism they face at work every day. The troubling result showed just how much women still have to overcome. 

According to a recent study conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, it's not just how women are represented that's the problem, but how infrequently they are shown all together. Researchers found advertisements featured twice as many male characters as female characters, and 25 percent of the ads studied featured just men, compared to 5 percent that were only women.  

Even in ads when women were shown, they were often depicted in a less than flattering light. The study also found that while women are often shown doing and saying as little as possible in as little clothing as possible, men were 62 percent more likely to be portrayed as "smart" figures such as doctors or scientists. 

Though the Suistudio campaign doesn't offer a solution on how to better portray in advertising, it certainly pushes viewers to reimagine what's acceptable treatment in advertising and will hopefully start a larger conversation.

As one online commenter said of the Suistudio campaign, "[This] makes me proud to be a woman."

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