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Eyeglasses and Respect

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Claudia L Ortega

Professor Julie Cline

Eng 001C

April 24, 2108

Eyeglasses and Respect

There are four different colored boxes in this ad, each with a person inside. There are three men and one woman. Each box has two different versions of the person, everything is the same but the version on the right appears with eyeglasses and the version on the left without. Underneath each version is a single word that is used to define this person, there is no other information about them besides their appearance. Oogmerk Opticians were able to create an ad that subconsciously provokes stereotypes that the consumer might not be aware about because it is already implemented by society. With that they fueled the viewers desire to want to purchase from them, because they targeted the status-driven type of consumers, the Achievers.

Achievers are consumers who know their worth, and enjoy expressing that through objects. If they feel as if their status has been somewhat threatened and that a certain product can enrich their status they will purchase it. As Steve Craig wrote in Women’s Men,  “Advertisers seem quite willing to manipulate these fantasies and exploit our anxieties… to sell products.”(pg178) this essay spoke about how “Secret”, a women's deodorant, published ads that promised fulfilling hidden fantasies in order to sell its product. In this Oogmerk ad on the upper left hand corner there are two versions of a bald man with a goatee. In the version without eyeglasses he is described as a “truck driver” and in the version with glasses he is called a “Dr. Professor”. On the lower left corner there is a man wearing a black leather jacket with an earring and a black mustache. Without the glasses he is labeled “hells angels” which refers to a motorcycle club, and with the glasses he is a “fashion designer”. On the top right there is a blonde woman who is referred to as “easy” without eyeglasses and “hard” with glasses. Lastly on the lower right there is another bald man with an orange stain on his white shirt. He is characterized as a “butcher” without glasses, and an “artist” with eyeglasses. Clearly, in this ad, common insecurities any person may have are exploited. Very subtle stereotyping is done in hopes to lure one in to purchase eyeglasses, by purchasing their product you are temporarily silencing those insecurities society creates. The versions of men without glasses are stereotyped to have professions that one would not consider ideal. While the versions with glasses are labeled with higher ranking professions because they give off an image of success with their glasses. Why do glasses bring upon a connotation of success, wealth, or intelligence? It might come from the saying, “Don’t be mean to a nerd, he could end up being your boss.” for it was believed those who wore eyeglasses were intellectuals who would be successful throughout life. This ideology is the core of this ad, this ad sends a very strong message about first impressions and how someone might perceive you based solely on your appearance rather than the actual person inside. This ad is implying and reinstating a cultural belief system that suggests a man wearing a white shirt with an orange stain can either be stereotyped to be a “butcher” or an “artist” depending on whether he made the decision to wear eyeglasses. At this point the ad goes farther past the denotation of eyeglasses, which is improving one’s vision, and it is affirming the connotation eyeglasses give off. They can boost your physical appearance, make those around you think highly of you, and give you the respect you deserve. Once again it is perfect for them to target achievers as they love to project their wealth and success through their objects, in this case eyewear.

Another major cultural ideal that is being used as leverage is the patriarchal view on the female body. There is only one woman in this ad, she is shown in a revealing top, and is not being stereotyped by her profession but is clearly being sexually objectified. The mere fact that they do not use a profession to describe what she looked like with or without eyeglasses like they did with the three men, is problematic. They describe her as an “easy” sexual object without eyeglasses and as a “hard” sexual object with. This can lead back to insecurities on how others perceive you by your appearance. In his writing Women’s Women Steve Craig wrote, “Most women know to their cost that appearance is perhaps the crucial way by which men form opinions on women.”(pg.175) It might sound unreal, but many women do dress and act a certain way for men because society has forced them to believe a man won’t want her if she does certain things. When an eyeglasses ad suggested women appeared to be “easy” without glasses a great number of women might think they need glasses to not give off the impression that they are sexually easy, because they know a man would not want a woman who is easy. Yet again companies exploiting our deepest, darkest anxieties for their own prosperity.

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