Seriously. The landing page of the new Levi's LadyStyle site opens with the language "Ever wondered what it's like to sneak into a sweaty, steamy mens' locker room? Well, imagine no more…" For research purposes, I clicked and entered the site. It opens with a shot of an empty locker room. Enter aforementioned male, a model whose movements have been made a bit animatronically slow and surreal (as is the pace of the whole site, rather annoyingly.) He looks up at the viewer, smiles, looks down, then slowly back at you. He's actively being flirtatious, complicit in the peep show. He's well-dressed and urbane looking but sweet and personable; his look and demeanor seems to be culled from surveys about what women actually like: i.e. not a super-buff, artificially tan and hairless preening mirror-magnet. This guy radiates "approachable." He strips down to a pair of regular-guy boxers and opens his locker. A mirror in the locker reflects the image of a woman watching him with an arch smile. She's brunette, which we all know in advertising terms translates into "smart" and "real." Subtle grey text on the black background appears on the outer edges of the page, with messages like "now its your turn." More than just a playful turning of the advertising gender cliché tables, the site seems to be tapping into a zeitgeist, a tide of outrage that seems to be rising among women as objectified images of women become ever-more-ubiquitous on the web and the line between pornography and, well, any other kind of publishing, becomes increasingly blurred. A link at the bottom of the page allows women to "peep into a men's magazine." That link actually takes you to a page that invites women to "get it off their chest" about what they really think men want in a woman. So, while the site is ostensibly turning one cliché on its ear, it is only in the end drawing us back to another one—the chance to muse and "start a debate!" about what we think men want from us. It's kind of a letdown from the ostensible "message" of the site. I mean, come on ladies, don't we have better things to talk about?
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