Sexy but Innocent

I found this ad for Crystal Light in Cosmopolitan magazine. Despite its source, which obviously holds a 20-40 year old female audience, the ad also holds clues to its demographics. The water is pink, not the normal blue, obviously appealing to females. Also, the target audience is old enough to be worried about calories, but young enough to not be married – a married woman would have no need to flash a man as the ad seems to imply. Implicit within the ad is the message that to be thin is to be free, liberated (the line “no guilt” implies that food, calories, and the resulting weight should result in guilt). With a diet involving Crystal Light, you can have fun and splash in the water (bringing to mind swimsuit season, and the body on display during that season). Most importantly, this ad emphasizes that in order to be sexy, you must be thin; if your body was revealed and was overweight, it would be mortifying, but if you are thin, you can embrace the exhibition a wardrobe malfunction may bring. Here, we see Kilgore’s idea that women are expected to be sexy but innocent (Killing Us Softly 4). We see this in how passive sexiness is in this ad; this passivity enables a woman to plead innocent while still embodying society’s expectations of sexiness. The message of this ad is that a woman does actively or purposefully show skin (also emphasized by the replacement of a woman diving into water with the Crystal Light diving into the water); instead, she experiences a “wardrobe malfunction.” Only if a woman becomes sexualized in an “innocent” (not on purpose, not through her active choice – so, a wardrobe malfunction) way can she have “0 guilt.”

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