The women’s suit company Suistudio started a new campaign running under the hashtag “#NOTDRESSINGMEN.” The campaign features photographs of beautiful women in gorgeous suits with naked, faceless men in the background as props. Suistudio is showcasing the sexual nature of men’s advertisements at women’s expense, and I asked some University of Florida students what they thought of the campaign.
It’s not new information that ads targeting men exploit women as props in the background as a means of portraying men as powerful and in-charge. As a feminist, I have never understood the connection between a half-naked, sexually-positioned female as a sign of power for men. I believe many women agree with this unnecessary connection that has been an ongoing focus in men’s ads for decades.
Well, we don’t live in the 1950s anymore. A new generation of women has taken over, and they’re no longer treading lightly. Suistudio has decided to use their position as a women’s suit designer to combat these exploitations that have gone under the radar by bringing it front and center. Showcasing the ridiculousness of women as men’s props by flipping the scenario brings light to the issue in a very loud way.
Many may disagree with their approach, saying what they’re doing is just as bad as it degrades men now when no one should be exploited, period. Other arguments against the campaign are that the men are just not sexually placed, but full-blown naked, which makes the men the center of attention rather than the women.
All of these are good points, but they have been disputed further with comments that no one would question a naked women, and the brand is just trying to bring attention to the issue. Here are what some UF students had to say about the campaign:
“I think this ad means well, but it may have been taken too far,” said Jayna Goldstein, a senior dietetics major. “I never once thought about how much women’s bodies are used as backgrounds in contrast to professionally dressed men. This ad successfully brought that point home, but two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Another UF student, Ashley, 21, felt similarly about the campaign. She mentioned that she’s familiar with many of these old-fashioned ads due to different classes she’s taken.
“It is true that women are often sexualized and glorified props in advertising, and so it is an interesting take to flip the narrative and cast powerful women as the stars of the campaign,” Ashley said. “However, as progressive or empowering this campaign may be seen, it’s not really a good example of what traditional feminism stands for.”
Ashley described feminism as being equality between sexes, and not one gender exploiting or degrading the other.
“This campaign still degrades people, and I think if it was trying to be feminist it would focus on a woman’s ability to be successful and just as powerful as men without including men,” Ashley stated. “These women are still unavoidably being compared to men. So although I personally find it amusing, it’s not really productive to normalizing feminism as an equalizing force rather than a divisive one.”
On the other hand, other students enjoyed this campaign and what it’s trying to showcase.
“I think it’s great,” said Maria Cardenas, a senior political science major. “The images catch people’s attention because it’s controversial and starts a conversation. I love it because it’s showing just how ridiculous it looks when women are used as powerless props. That’s one way I look at it.”
Cardenas doesn’t just love the ideology behind the campaign, but she loves the images as well, with or without the men.
“I think the women look kicka**, and this image can empower women. But that comes from how the women look and not how the men look.”
Whether you agree with the ideas or how they were displayed, I think we can all agree these women look strong AF, #bossbabe. The suits are also gorgeous, and after researching more into the brand, they actually do make extremely fashionable and classic suits that fit women and their bodies, rather than just making a man’s suit in a women’s size.
Let us know what you think about the campaign in the comments below!