In the beginning of this Axe “Official Love” commercial, the viewer is confused by the appearance of the focus characters; hair and breasts. However, at the end of the shampoo commercial, the hair becomes a man and the breasts become a woman, as the screen says “Hair. It’s what girls see first.” But it is the implied reversed caption that I believe should anger women: “Breasts. It’s what he sees first.” This commercial’s initial intent may not have been to objectify women, but it does it regardless. It seems to say, “forget her face, her personality, or anything else that makes her a human, it’s okay for you, as a man, to look at women’s breasts as objects,” as if this is a universally accepted rule. Most ads, though full of sexuality, use facial expressions and body language to get a sexual message across; this ad skips all “conventional” methods of sexualizing ads and only uses the part of a women at which they think men look. At the end of the commercial, when the viewer sees the full bodies of both characters alone at a bus stop, it is implied that an encounter is inevitable in the future, sexualizing the commercial even more than the implied caption already had. In Killing Us Softly 4, Jean Kilbourne says that advertisements today turn women into objects, even pulling women apart to use certain body parts to the advertised product’s advantage; this ad uses a woman’s breasts to advertise men’s shampoo, to say that men who use Axe shampoo will get what they want. The makers of this commercial may have intended it to be funny, but it is actually a prime example of unnecessarily sexualizing ads, objectifying women, and in my opinion, insulting women everywhere.
Killing Us Soflty 4, Jean Kilbourne