Judith Butler argues that ‘there is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender’ which suggests that gender can be fluid and therefore can be chosen. Butler illustrates the idea that person is born a sex whether it is male or female but then can adapt and change their gender depending on their own opinions or the cultural background they are from. However the idea of this choice in this ‘Gender Trouble’ can be counter typed and challenged by the amount of pressure put on audiences in the media; females are pressurized to become feminine and males are pressurized to become masculine which arguably then creates the male or female gaze and the spectrum of masculinity and femininity can be varied depending on the confidence of the individual wanting to conform or resist the conventional ideas in the media and society.
The CK One fragrance advert compliments this idea as the slogan of the fragrance is ‘for a man or a woman’ which hen reminds viewers of the similarity of the gender and can therefore highlight the idea of equality the image on the advert also emphasizes this as the male and the female are visually similar the only difference being that the women has a different body shape, however the way the male is covering up the women’s chest with the fragrance bottle can identify the equality in the two sexes. They are also dressed in the same style jeans with their chest being exposed which can show there also to be equality in the gender they are portraying which can compliment the argument of Judith Butler and the idea of people being able to choose what gender they are with no limitations because of the sex they are. The female’s hairstyle in the advertisement becomes prominent as it isn’t a stereotypical feminine hairstyle this can therefore rule out the idea of traditional gender and the conventional idea of a women or girl to have long hair and look feminine and be replaced with the modern idea of being able to resist in society and therefore have short masculine hairstyle this can again reinforce the idea of gender now being fluid and not dependent on the sex the individual is.
However this advert portrays the fragrance to be a sexualized. The way the people are positioned in the photograph gives sexual connotations due to the idea that they have minimal clothing on and the button being undone on the female’s jeans being prominent. This becomes ironic and then gives the impression to audiences that if they purchase the fragrance it will make them feel and look more sexual the audience is exploited as the advert is selling a fragrance through images, the smell of the fragrance is not identified in the advertising campaign at all. This is because ‘Advertisements cannot simply attempt to sell the product in question; they must make it appeal to the consumer. It is important that advertisements not only attempt to make clear the attributes of the product they are trying to sell but also ensure that these actually mean something to us the consumer’
The advert can be viewed through Laura Mulvey’s female or male gaze; due to both sexes being sexualized and therefore the audience having a choice which sex they feel attracted to this can link to the fragrance being multi-gendered as if the female was sexualized and the male wasn’t this would then arguably appeal towards the male sex. Although the female is the main figure and takes up most of the advert and therefore is visually dominating the male illustrates dominance over the female by the positioning of his hands being almost inside her jeans and his other hand covering her chest. The male has power over the women the way his arms are around her which can connote a symbolic barrier almost as if the female can’t protect herself; also the male is having to cover up her chest which can then go on to illustrate that the female has no dignity and if it wasn’t for the male covering up her chest she would be fully exposing her chest. Linking to ‘Killing us softly’ by Jean Kilbourne who illustrates the idea of how women are exploited in the advertising industry and how the media establish the idea in advertisements that women must be innocent but sexy and also virginal but experienced. Kilbourne further analyses an advertisement for Armani Exchange, which reads, “The more you subtract, the more you add.” Which almost implies that the less of you there is the more attention you will attract; which links towards the minimal clothing in the CK One fragrance advertisement.
The ‘Miss Dior Cherie’ fragrance advert doesn’t sexualize the female it countertypes this idea and almost portrays her as a child, due to the balloons this can symbolize childhood and can make the female holding them look innocent, also the pastel colours present emphasize this as it makes the advert feel calm. The positioning of the female floating identifies the passive nature of the female linking toward the idea of traditional gender and feminism and the gender traits of a female being passive and innocent the dress the female is wearing also adds towards the idea of her being passive due to the restrictions by wearing a dress. Moreover the facial expression of the female connotes her having a calm nature, which is ironic due to the advertisement showing her floating above the city. The idea that the female is floating can also connote the idea of the female being angelic and therefore perfect as the media encourages perfection in females which in ‘Killing us softly’ Jean Kilbourne analyses the idea of the females being constantly pressured to look ‘perfect’ like the celebrities or females shown in the media however audiences are exploited as Kilbourne investigates that most images of females in the media are edited via photoshop or the female has had some sort of surgery. Due to the advertisement having intertextual references to fairytale’s, the advertisement can arguably relate to the younger generation due to the over sized perfume bottle which can link towards Alice in wonderland, however it adds towards the innocent nature of the female in the advertisement. The female in the advertisement is also arguably represented younger than she actually is this could be to relate towards different audiences.
In male fragrance adverts according to the ‘The Times article; how are fragrances advertised to men’ males are represented as masculine or the opposite. The Davidoff Adventure fragrance advert appeals to the masculine representation of males ‘The Times’ describes the advert as ‘Ewan McGregor, unshaven, artfully rugged, dressed in anti-fashion thermals and ethnic scarf, finds himself on “an incredible journey’. The celebrity Ewan Mcgregor is represented as a strong masculine figure due to the conventional image of a beard and being muscular. However his hairstyle can arguably be unconventional due masculine men having short hair in the media. The masculinity created by Mcgregor is also reinforced by the surroundings he is in and the idea of the motorcycle in the background, this connotes being independent which is a traditional male trait. The idea of the jungle also adds towards the idea of masculinity but also due to the idea that he is on his own it illustrates him being brave. The facial expression of Ewan Mcgregor is stern which emphasizes him being of a strong nature but can also add towards the traditional view of male’s not showing much emotion. The dark clothing worn in the advertisement is conventional for a male however the white scarf has a feminine aspect to it, which gives Ewan Mcgregor traits of a female as well. The idea that Davidoff have used a celebrity to appeal their fragrance towards the audience is relatively appealing, as Ewan Mcgregor is a popular role model for males across the nation and also a sexual appeal for females. The female gaze is apart of most male print advertisements due to the females being attracted to the image of the male and then purchasing the fragrance for their partners or friends.
In conclusion, gender is a big part of print adverts, and I feel in fragrance commercials gender helps a lot to sell the fragrance to the audience as it makes audiences appeal to the advert and aspire to be like the celebrity it also forms an attraction if the female or male is good looking which it most cases the fragrance advert uses a popular celebrity to do this. Fragrances then create a more mass appeal as if a person aspires to be like a celebrity and the celebrity is promoting the fragrance it makes audience think the celebrity has that fragrance. However celebrities are usually represented different in fragrance adverts such as David Beckham who as a footballer is represented as a masculine figure in football his main career whereas in his fragrance commercials he is represented in a more feminine light as he wears a lot of jewellery and also makes fragrances for women which then creates a mass appeal due to the male gaze as well as his popularity. Females in fragrance adverts are generally represented to have stereotypical feminine traits and either be innocent and passive or provocative and have minimal clothing on.
 Judith Butler (1990). Gender Trouble. Routledge. 25.
 Judith Williamson (1978). Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning In Advertising. Marion Boyars. 12.
 Sut Jhally, Jean Kilbourne (1999). Killing Us Softly 3. USA: Media Education Foundation.
 Anon. (2008). How fragrances are advertised to men. Available: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/men/article4020253.ece.