(pictures from here and here)
In recent time, both David Beckham and Beyoncé have been featured in H&M's ad campaigns. David Beckham and his ridiculously well-shaped body have been showing off men's underwear and leaving a lot of women going "It's stuffed, right?! Is it? Yeah, it must be....but...well, is it?". Beyoncé, or "Mrs. Carter" as she likes to call herself by now, has been showing us the new bikini and bathing suit line for this summer. Both ad campaigns are fairly regular in terms of ad campaigns and they are, as it must be expected from an international multibillion clothing company, beautifully done. Where Mr. Beckhams pictures were all taken in a serious black&white and high contrast manner, Beyoncés pictures are flashy and very, very colourful. So far, so normal.
BUT, there is one significant difference between the pictures, and it gets apparent as soon as you put two pictures next to each other. David Beckham, a man known not only for his football skills but also for coining the term "metrosexual" is shown in a very manly, "testosterony" manner. Black and white, high contrast, a facial expression that doesn't say "cuddly teddybear" or "I want to cry in front of you whilst we both listen to Dido" but is rather snarling a "Don't fuck with me, buddy!" into the onlookers general direction. Mr. Beckhams cock is occupying - literally and figuratively - about 40% of this picture. Everything about it is confident, masculine and in charge. Beyoncés picture on the other hand shows us Mrs. Carter, shot from above, while she lolls lasciviously on an air mattress. Her mouth is slightly open, the view on her crotch only obscured by a small strip of cloth, her legs are slightly spread and her thighs are moist from the water. It is - undoubtedly - quite hot. Beyoncé is - also undoubtedly - a very attractive woman. But nothing, nothing at all about this picture says "I am confident. I am in charge.". Instead it reminds you of a woman spread out to be fucked. Not to fuck, but to be fucked! Just to be clear - I don't blame Beyoncé for this (I am actually pretty sure that her facial expression is supposed to show confidence), neither do I blame the photographer nor even H&M necessarily. Who do I blame then? The guy who picked the picture? The person who came up with the idea for this shoot? The man who invented the bikini? Well, society would be a good answer, but maybe a fairly vague one. But, essentially, it is ourselves we have to turn to and say "Do I want to live in a world, where a woman is apparently considered sexy if she is submissive?". Do I want to look at models, actresses and - in this case - the same woman that sung a song about girls running the world, looking like some dude just jerked off all over them?