In an advertisement for Mark Nason Footwear featured on page 133 of Details Magazine’s March 2015 issue, a full page image attempts to sell this particular brand of footwear by featuring a pair of grey suede boots propped up on a table or desk top with jean-clad legs disappearing off the left-hand bottom corner. The idea that the scene is in an office is suggested by a dark wood file cabinet in the background. On top of the file cabinet is an old-school silver fan standing on top of a small pile of books and a black and white framed line drawing. The walls are deep browns and reds, with a dark door to one side. There are some unidentified cabinets in the background to the right and an antique globe to one side, just off the edge of the image.

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A woman fills the right side of the image in the middle ground, dressed in a tight white shirt and black skirt. She’s leaning over slightly to lay a pencil on the table and her chest threatens to burst out of the shirt. Her other hand is up at her hair, toying with a strand of dark shoulder-length hair falling messily over her shoulders. Her lips are slightly parted as if she’s excited and she’s looking in the direction of the owner of the boots. The only words seen in the image are in a black text box at the bottom of the page with the name and logo of Mark Nason Footwear and, in tiny letters at bottom right, the company’s website address.

While there is no real indication that a story has been taking place, the scene it presents is all too clear. The man wearing the boots is very attractive to the woman and she is practically throwing herself at him. She is probably his secretary and he is probably very successful because his office is so richly colored and he is still all casual – wearing jeans and stylish boots to work suggesting he can wear anything he wants. Even though we can’t see him, the way the image is set up makes it feel as though we, the people outside of the image holding the magazine to view it, are in the position of the man. It seems as though we’ve come into the scene just at the point where things are likely to get intimate, but it’s completely in the hands of the man whether they do or not. As has already been mentioned, the colors in the office are rich browns and deep reds, making it seem as though this is a richly appointed office. The woman’s white shirt really stands out against this background, making the eye continue to go back to her. The grey of the boots suggests the popular erotic film 50 Shades of Grey.

The underlying assumptions of the image are that these shoes will make the man who wears them irresistible to women so that they will throwing themselves at his feet, panting for his attention. While the advertisement seems very effective in putting the man in the shoe-wearer’s position, making it seem like this hot woman is about to jump over the desk at him if he’ll just say the word, it’s actually a somewhat negative image because it shows women as unable to control themselves and suggests that only breathless women with big chests and skimpy shirts are desirable. Through its implied connection with the popular 50 Shades of Grey film, it perpetuates the idea of women as toys for men. It makes a basic appeal to a return to male domination over women.
Works Cited
“Mark Nason Footwear.” Details. (March 2015). Print Advertisement.