“The style makes the man,” according to Esquire. In the context of this aphorism, apparently, women are men’s finest fashion accessory — well, one of them, at least.
The magazine’s fall/winter 2014 cover aims to portray “Man at His Best, All Day Long,” with its new “style manual for successful men.” To that point, the stylish black and white cover advertises the latest must-have’s for men this coming season: “Coats, Cars, Watches, Women, Suits, Shoes.”
That’s right, in the pantheon of Esquire style, females rank somewhere between that hot new peacoat and the latest Italian leather loafers. Perhaps the first question should be: Why are women fourth on the list, behind watches? Oh, that’s right, because as “arm candy” we go on both men’s arms.
Esquire, which has attempted to cultivate a reputation as one of the more sophisticated men’s glossies, really missed the mark with this. Here is a perfect example of advertorial sexism at its finest: Women are categorized like consumer goods, items to purchase, just like coats or shoes. Because they are commodities, this type of language also leads to women being fetishized and commercialized to the point that the become interchangeable with other consumer goods.
To everyone’s detriment, this is how men are still too often marketed to. Just look at this ad for “Tom Ford for Men:”