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JC Penney Objectifies Women to Sell Men’s Clothing [VIDEO]

JC Penney Objectifies Women to Sell Men’s Clothing [VIDEO]

It seems JC Penney has moved from girls to women. A couple of weeks ago, the company came under fire for selling an “I’m Too Pretty To Do Homework” t-shirt. Outraged parents and insulted girls got the company to remove the t-shirt. But perhaps that shirt wasn’t just a slip up and instead is part of a company culture that promotes the objectification of women and girls.  Now JC Penney has a commercial on its YouTube channel that uses a sexualized video of a bikini-clad woman to sell men’s clothing.

The 30 second commercial starts with a man saying “JC Penney understands that you don’t like advertising for clothes. Who does?” He then goes on to say that if you take a look at the “smart fashion choices” that they’ll show you something great. The rest of the commercial shows a scene of bikini-clad Phoebe Cates from Fast Times at Ridgemont High alongside a series of shots of men in Van Heusen clothing. It ends with “JC Penney: It is seriously hot in here.”

Decades ago, commercials targeting men frequently objectified women to sell everything from cars to beer to cigarettes. While this trend has significantly decreased recently, it appears to be making a comeback with ads like the “Free Girl with Every Can” ad for Old Milwaukee beer, a variety of sexist car commercials and now this ad for JC Penney.  In its apology for the “I’m Too Pretty To Do Homework” t-shirt, JC Penney noted that its “merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them.” I guess they still have a lot of work to do in that regard. Perhaps some gender sensitivity training is needed at the company.

But this issue is, of course, bigger than just JC Penney. What will it take to end the objectification of women in advertising targeted at men?

Related stories:

JC Penney Pulls “I’m Too Pretty to Do Homework” T-Shirt after Social Media Uproar

Good News: It Pays to Speak Up About Sexist Remarks

“Miss Representation” Shows How Media Mistreats Women

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Screen capture from JC Penney Commercial.

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60 comments

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7:03PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

In Brazil (from where I'm from) women's body are used to sell everything from beer to car wheel. Not appropriate.

7:15AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

If you can't tell the difference between that "too pretty to do homework" shirt aimed at teen girls and this ad aimed at men, I feel sorry for you. You hurt your cause when you make a big deal about men liking to see women in bikinis.

12:36PM PST on Feb 22, 2012

Lighten up! Sex sells and both genders or objectified. Not a big deal. Right now women are making money but stuck in the old romantic ways. Soon women will be looking at a success man(object) or house husband. Then what?

7:46PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

That would be a good J.C. Penny ad.

2:25PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

BTW - Marilyn Monroe was a glorified whore. We love to glorify whores in America. She deliberately chose that path, it was pathological, wanting the attention she never got from her father...It's sad that she had to die without knowing her own true worth. She was beautiful and had good qualities, she deserved better. But, she's no role model. She lived for the attention of men, instead of for her own true bliss.

2:20PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Read Joseph Campbell - he talks about how women used to be revered - we were considered goddesses - men honored our ability to give birth. Then a few thousand years ago, the Hebrews went in and took over changing it to a patriarchy - from goddesses to gods - from shamans who had visions, who had insight, imagination - to priests who don't work from within. Equality is in regard to power, to respect, to dignity. In Africa, women walk miles just to get water for the home, while the men are out f-ing everyone she has his babies and they die from Aids - most of the little girls aren't even allowed to go to school - only the boys - in India, little girls are forced to marry old men - look around, do some research, think deeper and see the ramifications that this trajectory has - it's got a ton of negative affects - it's irresponsible and selfish to just think of oneself and ones own sexual attraction - the world is bigger than that.

2:13PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Of course there's differences in men and women- no one denies that. And who doesn't like to look at attractive or sexy people - male or female? Who doesn't enjoy sex? That's not the point. The point is the lack of balance - the hold that men have AROUND THE WORLD that keeps girls and women in lower status positions in every area of their life - home, work, security, safety etc. Women are propped up to sell products for the titillation of men - catering to men. That mindset that women are here for men, that our job is to please men - is an empty plight - it's what keeps women from having their own security, their own sense of safety, their own money, their own validation. Where is the value in here's a sexy woman so buy this product? What is the impact on other girls, and women? Young girls think they have to look attractive and sexy - they devalue themselves, how they look, they do stupid things like become anorexic, or get breast implants - they turn their focus from education to getting attention from men - it's got a huge negative impact on girls. Girls and women are far more worthy than just sexually satisfying men. There's a time and place to be sexy and to try to seek the attention from someone you're interested in - but everyone? Really? You want everyone to want to f you? And how does that sit with girls who get molested and raped by their brothers, fathers, uncles, neighbors? They get ogled and grabbed and raped every day while other girls are out there shovin

1:24PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

The problem is that women are still being used as property and it's not helped them gain their rightful equal status in power,money, position and satety all around the world. For those who don't see a problem, it's apparent that you are unaware of the problems that girls and women face around the world. You may want to research all the problems that girls and women face due to being considered as less valuable, and less important than men - they're still considered men's property. Young girls are forced into sex trafficking, girls as young as 5 and 6 are forced to marry old men, they aren't allowed to even drive in some countries, they get molested, raped and beaten by husbands, boyfriends, brothers and fathers, they get paraded around as a piece of property - in the US, it wasn't that long ago that women were legally the property of their husbands who could legally beat them with a stick no thicker than his thumb - we get bombarded with sexual images of females while you rarely see them of men - because it's obvious that men are in control - and they play the lead while we play the supporting role. We only recently got the right to vote - the woman who started Planned Parenthood 100 yrs ago got arrested just for talking about birth control. Women couldn't even go to college or be artists or do common things that men could do. History and current day is rich with the subjugation of women - and it comes from the male holding the women in a sexually controlled position. Wom

7:13PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

The video is PRIVATE? What? Oh well. From reading the description of the ad, it didn't make sense at all.

11:31AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

I am so tired of the whole objectifying women argument. Give me a break! That is pretty much denying one of the most intrinsic things about being a woman. We are sexy! Yes, men like to look at our naked bodies because on a biological level it means they could potentially make babies with us. That is anything but sexist to me. I certainly enjoy seeing attractive men, does that make me sexist against men? Yes, women haven't had equal rights in a few thousand years but we are also holding ourselves back by trying to say that we are equal in every way to men. We aren't and neither are they. Separate but equal was a ridiculous statement when it came to skin color, but women and men are equal of mind but different of bodies. We are chemically different, we are born with genetic differences that give us different drives and passions. I highly recommend the documentary "The Nature of Sex". It goes into the many scientific differences between men and women. We aren't going to bet treated equally until we stop running from our inherent femininity.





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