Mentos Gum & Points of View

 

This advertisement for Mentos gum is a good example of the pornographic male gaze as discussed in Killing Us Softly 4. The woman in the advertisement is bending over seductively, and the gum is obstructing the view of the audience. The copy—“Look we have GUM!” seems to sarcastically suggest that their product is better than the view that the gum is obstructing in an effort to be humorous.

Killing Us Softly 4 also mentions that women are cut into pieces, which dehumanizes them and may contribute to a culture of violence against women. This woman is clearly meant to be sexually desirable, but her entire upper half is missing.

This also is a good example of John Berger’s view that a woman’s perspective split in two—the surveyor and the surveyed. I believe that this advertisement demonstrates not only the model’s capacity for that but also the female viewer. The woman in the advertisement is clearly aware that she’s being watched and is behaving accordingly—the gum is ultimately blocking the view. The female viewer of this advertisement both puts herself in the woman’s position and objectifies her through the heterosexual male gaze.

The values that are being sold are part of the world that Killing Us Softly 4 describes. It is a world in which only beautiful people are sexually active and carries the connotation of casual sex (as the audience member takes the place of the sexual partner) as something positive.

The target audience is most obviously heterosexual males, however I believe the advertisement also has an effect on heterosexual females. It most clearly teaches them that they should look and behave similarly to the woman in the advertisement in order to be sexually desirable.

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