This ad clearly targets an audience of men, selling values of heterosexual expectations and heterosexual gazes.
The ad features two attractive women at the center of attention, acting as “color” on an otherwise plain stage. The women are the ones being watched, despite the product being made for men. This illustrates John Berger’s description of the heterosexual male gaze: “Men survey women before treating them” (Berger 37). By watching themselves being watched by the studio audience in the commercial, the two women become what Berger describes as “an object of vision: a sight” (Berger 38). But these women in particular have been chosen to be at the front of the commercial’s “studio audience” because they match Susan Bordo’s definition of what is presently socially expected beyond the realm of thinness (which is considered “attractive”). Society “expect[s] a tighter, smoother, more contained body profile,” a body often possessed by athletes (188). Through sexual innuendos, these women are “fulfilling” their role as “the Other,” as explained by Simone de Beauvoir: “[the female] appears essentially to the male as a sexual being” (Beauvoir 33).
Not only are women being scrutinized through societal expectations to be attractive, slender, sexual objects in this ad, but men too are under attack. Regardless of the soap being body wash, the entire commercial is based around men having clean genitalia, as seemingly expected by women. The two women also convey the societal assumption of “bigger is better.” When there is a mentioning of “small balls,” a man looks away in embarrassment (0:48). When a man holds up a large “sack” of large soccer balls, one of the women makes a proposition of sex (1:37). Under this female expectation of genitalia size, men take the same position as women of being heterosexually “watched” as described by Berger.
Simone de Beauvoir: “The Second Sex: Introduction”
John Berger: “Ways of Seeing”
Susan Borodo: “Reading the Slender Body”