LOWRIDER magazine has been in circulation since 1977 and is now one of the most popular car show magazines in existence. While the main focus of the magazine content is to display classic car restoration in the LOWRIDER style, it also represents a culture of prominent patriarchy.
The magazine shows many cars on display and with each car there is a young woman draped over it or next to it, wearing a bikini and projecting a seductive image. The women are very fit but an attempt to show off and accentuate their curves seems to be the goal of the photographer. Usually the women are placed in some type of submissive position creating the image that she is prepared for sex and giving herself to the reader.
While portraying the women as potential sex objects, a glamorous undertone shows as well. I could see how a certain group of women would enjoy the attention or possibilities of using these photos as a stepping stone to a modeling career but in my opinion, the images of the women coupled with the cars exude a certain sense of ownership, with the cars edging out the importance of these women. For that reason, I would say that the image is offensive to women because it says that women and cars are equally beautiful but maybe the car is more important or valued more than a woman.
The sexuality of women in our patriarchal system is given a sense of power due to the vulnerability of men’s presumed uncontrollable sex drive. This is clearly exhibited in the Ad as it attempts to seduce the eye of the reader who is primarily going to be male. Within this display of sexual enticement we find a fine line between the image being perceived as sexy or sexist. Although the fine line could be left up to interpretation, the blatant display of patriarchal masculinity through the portrayal of a woman as a submissive sex object, in my opinion, has to be seen as a show of anti-feminism.
The Ad also depicts the woman as being very fit with large breasts and a petite figure. To me, that seems a little unrealistic considering the large majority of women in our society don’t look that way and tends to set an expectation in our society as to what a young women is suppose to look like. I think it potentially can damage the self image of many women if they don’t look like this. The ironic thing is that while these are the images that Ads utilize to sell their products, many males find themselves more attracted to women that aren’t built that way. I think advertising companies should make more of an attempt to depict what the images of the large majority of our society actually look like. I think it would help our society and young women who have bad self images and eventually develop eating disorders because of it.
To protest imagery that is offensive to women and girls, anyone can contact the activist groups below or contact the offender directly through letters and/or calls.
Media Action Alliance-Circle Pines, MN (612) 434-4343
Media Watch-Santa Cruz, CA (408) 423-6355