Madonna’s latest cover album, entitled Hard Candy, raises a number of controversial issues centering on gender roles. Sporting a champion belt and fighting tape, the image portrays Madonna’s most recent reinvention as victor of the music industry. She reemerges onto the scene ready to defend her title as music’s greatest. Are her constant reinventions of image truly a sign of greatness or merely a spectacle used to keep the attention of a public that is constantly in need of something new?
Sexual connotations can be observed from the chosen title, her clothes – or lack thereof – and the way in which she is presented taping her wrists. Madonna is marketed as being desirable and successful, traits that consumers can achieve in listening to her music.
It is evident through the comparison of marketing approaches of different generations that the roots of advertising remain similar. Women continue to be presented in a way that places the needs of others before their own. Presently, women are marketed as commodities of beauty. It is important for a man to carry a ‘winner’ on his arm in public. Half a century ago, women were marketed as commodities of the domestic role. This can be seen in the Coca-Cola advertisement discussed in class during my group presentation. It was important for men to select a woman for marriage who fit the traditional gender role.
Similar is the participatory culture, brought about by Madonna’s Vogue, in which consumers could be part of the revolution by buying the record. Consumers can now be considered beautiful and successful by buying Hard Candy, so says Madonna. Do we conform or resist to the dominant culture?
Click here for "Hard Candy" image:
Click here for "Coca-Cola" image: