Following his appearance on the Jean Paul Gaultier runway, the androgynous and totally beautiful Andrej Pejic can now be found at my bustop (above) modelling lingerie for Dutch bargain retailer HEMA (think of Woolworths crossed with Primark, but probably nicer and with hotdogs…).
The €20 “mega push-up bra” promises to boost a cleavage by two sizes, and HEMA choosing a man to model certainly proves it does what it promises. I love the cheek of it, and also enjoy the fact that – in this advert at least – no woman is being told her boobs aren’t big enough…
But what do you think? Great campaign or a step too far?
For more about Pejic and why I don’t see men on the women’s catwalk as a negative thing, check out my original post on the subject here:
I love the idea of the campaign! The only problem with the first photo is it doesn’t actually make a very good advert for the bra, I can’t tell if the bra is doing anything at all looking squarely at a plain black top, unless it hasn’t photographed well.
I don’t believe Andrej Pejic actually identifies as a woman, his Wikipedia article says he models mens clothes too, identifies as androgynous and also uses the pronoun “he” which I think someone would have corrected if he objected to that.
I don’t believe he does, no. And I do agree that the black one doesn’t particularly show off the cleavage – but actually I’m relieved to see a push-up bra not being advertised with a painfully pushed up and distorted bosom. Refreshing.
I’m a bit unsettled by this. Using a man to model women’s clothes on the runway didn’t bother me so much, it basically just proved that fashion designers don’t like women much, but that didn’t surprise me. But this? A bra is meant to be a functional item–the only reason it exists, technically, is to provide support to breasts. Of course, bras serve as so many other things–being pretty/sexy, making boobs look smaller, making boobs look bigger, etc. So by using a man… they are either proving that their bra is meant to be worn only by people who do not have any boobs at all, even small ones, OR they are making some sort of satirical statement about how postmodern a pushup bra is?? I’m not quite offended, just a bit baffled. To whom is this bra being marketed? And if it is meant to be marketed to small-breasted women, doesn’t it make an implicit statement that these women look like men and buying the bra will make them look like women? That seems a bit twisted to me.
Sorry this is disjointed, it made my mind go in many directions. I do think you have a point though, that at least the bra isn’t shown squashing a model’s boobs, or in a misogynistic ad portraying women as sex objects.
I’m realizing this is a surprisingly complex issue!
I hadn’t thought about it as something saying women with no boobs look like men – actually quite the opposite. I think it’s just a cheeky, tongue in cheek joke. My main objection to more conventional go-up-a-cup bras is that they’re often modelled on girls with already quite big boobs squished uncomfortably, in shots that as you say are in their presentation quite objectifying – so the message tends to be that boobs need to be big and bigger and biggest, and that sexy looks like implants (not to mention the numerous cliched ‘sexy’ poses they’re inevitably delivered in. SIGH). With this campaign, it’s showing the ‘effect’ of the bra without actually making any judgement on one particular size ‘needing’ to be boosted or one size being aspirational over another. So I think it’s being marketed to women who, whatever their size, want to boost their cleavage, but without making any judgement or suggestion as to who that may be. And of course, it’s a phenomenally savvy PR move for a (I think) exclusively Benelux retailer too – it’s entirely possible they didn’t spend too much time contemplating anything beyond that!
It is complex though – bloody interesting.
I think that using a man is just a way to be bold and catch everybody’s attention to the brand (“No publicity is bad publicity”).
It is totally fine to sell an enhancing bra, there is certainly a market for that. There is just no need to use a man to represent small boobs.
It might even deliver the wrong message offending smaller breasted women by making them feel compared to a man.
I am not offended by the ad, but it just seems unnecessarily risky.
I thought the ad was tongue-in-cheek. It caught my attention (and it certainly caught the rest of the internet’s attention!), and I didn’t feel insulted by it at all. Everyone knows who Andrej is. Everyone knows he’s male. And I certainly don’t feel like this company is implying that I’m male because they used a male model…in the same way the company isn’t implying I’m blonde or implying that I’m a size 4.
Now, if they were using a male model and no one knew the model was male and they covered up the fact the model, I’d have more of a problem with it. But this just seems like sensationalism, plain and simple.
And hey, now everyone knows the bra works.
I wouldn’t have known he was a male if I hadn’t read it. Sure, I would’ve noted the masculine features, but the presence of boobs and a feminine face would’ve made me go “yup, female”. Which I guess doesn’t really matter, because then it’d just be a woman with small breasts modelling the bra, but if they were doing it with the assumption that everyone would know he was male, then it doesn’t work for everyone.