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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.


3 Responses to “Estee Lauder Sensuous Perfume”

  1. Alan said

    Photographs one and two look like junkies trying to be seductive, in a “I just need $50 for one more hit” kinda way. Something about their eyes. Decidedly not appealing. On the other hand, I don’t read women’s magazines and not a fan of perfume in general, so I’m thinking I’m not really the target audience.

  2. Eva said

    The “uniform” the women are in didn’t bother me so much after “sensuous” and “irresistible”. That seemed more like playing to their target audience (straight folks, which is insensitive, but could also be viewed as targeted advertising) with the implication of a specific bedroom scene. After confidant and surprising it was feeling a lot more offputing. Sorry, but I don’t express my confidence by having sex. I express my confidence by achieving difficult things in my life, and sex is not one of my primary goals in the world!

    By the time I got to “unique” I was feeling rather disgusted. How are four women wearing exactly the same clothing, level of style/beauty, posture, and even frikkin’ hair cut unique? Nice try ad execs, but I’m pretty sure what you meant was “sexually available”. Please learn to speak English.

    I’m forced to assume the ad is actually targeting my husband rather than myself. Presumably he’s supposed to buy the perfume as a gift for me in the hopes of turning me into one of those ladies? I don’t know about the rest of the female population of this country, but I for one don’t have some sort of sexy lobotomy when I’m given a gift.

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