Estee Lauder Sensuous Perfume
Posted by Rosepixie on December 2, 2009
This is an ad from a women’s magazine for Estee Lauder Sensuous, a perfume. And yes, it really is a ten page magazine ad.
The text reads:
Every woman in sensuous.
Every woman is irresistible.
Every woman is confident.
Every woman is surprising.
Every woman is unique.
Introducing Estee Lauder Sensuous
Every woman wears it her way.
This is clearly trying to associate itself not only with celebrity, but also with confidence and sexiness. That’s fine and pretty normal for a perfume ad (is there a perfume that tries to sell itself on anything but sex?). What seems odd is that while the ad text seems to be focusing on the femaleness of the women – how the very fact of being a woman makes her sexy and unique (otherwise, how would every woman be it?) – the ad images depict women in oversized men’s shirts. This does two things. It heteronormalizes the women and the perfume while also connecting all the qualities listed – confidence, sensuality, uniqueness, etc. – to having a male partner. A woman is only strong and sexy when she’s got a man.
Personally, I don’t really want a perfume that says I’m only strong and sexy, or only at my strongest and sexiest, when I’ve got a guy. My strength should be mine alone and being a woman shouldn’t make it any less mine when I don’t have a male partner. I have a problem with perfume ads telling me that I need a guy to achieve that and that the perfume will help me attract one, and that is the implicit message here. So, sorry, but no.