Fully-Clothed is Bewitching 

Fully clothed women are bewitching?

A fully clothed woman is bewitching?

Looking at old ads suggests something about how we’ve changed and how we’ve stayed the same.

A perusal of Sociological Images’s past Halloween posts revealed an ad that they had found on Vintage Ads. It looks like it’s from the 1970s.

The first thing I noticed was the allure of a fully clothed woman who is showing off pretty much no curves. Don’t see that much anymore.

Not sure whether today’s obsession with revealing clothing is a backlash to feminism or tied to our more pornified culture, which comes courtesy Internet porn.

But even as things change they stay the same. Both now and then women are portrayed as the object of the male gaze.

1970s men, on the other hand, apparently needn’t be attractive at all, as we witness Mummy and Werewolf. Both today’s men and women are more objectified.

Meanwhile, those 1970s men are predators, a portrayal that seems less common today.

So things have changed in ways both good and bad.

Sources: Sociological Images and Vintage Ads

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on October 29, 2017, in objectification and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. This was very interesting to me, because I never knew that men in the 1970’s were portrayed as predators and unattractive. But in today’s time period, men are just as objectified as women. It’s fascinating how the allure of women changed in time. I have noticed that in this day and age, a woman who is less clothed is far bewitching than a women who is fully clothed. Personally, I think a woman who is fully clothed and a woman with little clothing on can both be bewitching. I think it all depends on the person’s preference. Looking at the photo, it made me imagine what an ad like this would look like today. I think the men would look less predatory and more sexy, and attractive with less clothing and maybe their abs on display. On the other hand, I think the women would unlikely be dressed in gowns but more in revealing clothing.

  2. This is a very interesting photo. Women look very sweet and elegant, while the men behind look rough and ugly. In fact, I think many concepts are indeed changing now, now Halloween, boys dressed as mummies or werewolves can also become very sexy or cute, especially in South Korea and Japan, many boys will give themselves some very attractive Makeup, then put on some very cute dress. And also very popular.

  3. I was attracted to this post because is quite lighthearted among others I have been reading, and I love that ad. Fully-clothed woman yet sophisticated and hence sensually charged is depicted as a prey and apparently the predators are a werewolf and a mummy, which is quite interesting. Men were not considered in that ad unless they were depicted as those creatures. What strikes me is the fact that fashion at that time was still aiming to make women look sensual and elegant at the same time (this is my frank opinion) with a more conservative approach. Nowadays, I found that fashion, especially for young people, are giving the message that to be sensual it is necessary to show more skin as possible. People can dress how they like, but not necessarily there should be an association with bare skin and sensuality. It is true that at that time singers, actresses, and models weren’t so “undressed” as they are today, which underlines the power of media in influencing people’s minds. Nowadays, the women’s image is much more explicitly sexually objectified and hence the fashion and media work in synergy to reflect such image. At the same it is indeed interesting to see how men were depicted; women were the center of interest, but not much men, who culturally at that time were not interested in fashion or shopping and hence did not matter much how they looked in the ad compared to women. Today, men are more involved in using beauty products as much as more sensitive to fashion creating a market opportunity for fashion companies; undoubtedly, this new interest created a cultural shift since that ad and consequentially even men in ads and commercials are showed half naked. The objectification of both sexes has increased, but the women ones remains the more pronounced.

  4. Upon reading this blog, I could already think of many various points of why it could be such a wrong thing to be fully-clothed in public. When I was younger, my mother would always tell me that there’s more to a lady than just what meets the eye. I took this advice as her trying to tell me that women doesn’t have to flaunt their looks in order to gain attention from other people. This little piece of advice is what most people lack of in their morale towards other people. Growing up in middle school, almost all of the girls in my grade were already wearing makeup and a sports bra with a low-cut shirt, and while some girls like myself still played with dolls, they were already talking about crushes towards the boys. This unfortunate social stigma has always something to do with how sexuality is displayed in the household. Children copy adults’ actions, just as children imitate their parent’s words. It’s such a shame that younger generations of society today are gravitating towards feeling like they have to act and/or dress promiscious, solely because that sort of attitude is becoming socially acceptable.

  5. Sarah Yoffe-Sharp

    This blog compares women’s clothing and men’s roles in the 1970’s to current times. It makes the point that men are not portrayed in the media as “predators” now as much as in the 1970’s. However, there are still movies for children like Despicable Me 3 and Ninjaro, which depict the ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ character as a male. This stereotype is common throughout the media. Children’s stories often depict a ‘bad’ character as a male. For example, Jafar in Aladdin, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Captain Hook in Peter Pan. If the story does depict a female villain, then it is especially rare for them to be attractive. For example, the ugly stepmother Lady Tremaine in Cinderella, or Ursula the overweight sea witch in The Little Mermaid, or the terrible hair style of Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians. These stories are older stories, but they have been remade and children are very familiar with these characters. As a society, we must acknowledge these stereotypes and attempt to break out of the mold as we create new stories and deliver them to impressionable children.

  6. I don’t see the problem of women being fully clothed. Why is being fully-clothed bewitching? There are many women today who have different preferences in what they want to wear whether it is revealing or not. Because of today’s society, it is different for others to feel comfortable to wear revealing clothing cause of men who like to stare, whistle and make comments about them or because they aren’t comfortable showing off their own skin. It has nothing to do with feminism. Although, what I found interesting about this article was that didn’t men were also being objectified in today’s society. I didn’t know that because I only have heard more about women being objectified. Why don’t we hear about men being objectified?

    • Why don’t we hear about men being objectified?

      Probably because men have run media… literature… art… for so long. We’ve now all internalized that women are the sexy objectified ones.

      If women had run all these things I imagine it would be reversed.

  7. The title is very clever since this is looking at Halloween ads to compare the differences in older ads and newer ads. In these older ads, we see that the women are still the main focus point in the image, even if they are fully clothed. The women are in the front to stand out more and the men in the picture have masks in covering their faces. The focus point of an ad doesn’t always need to be a barley dressed person. You get the same message across with a clothed person. Now our ads can be very revealing for the men and women. I think that ads have become more sexual explicit because our culture is pornified. If you look on any billboard or ad, 80% of the time there is half naked people on there to get your attention. A lot of people believe now that to be “beautiful” or “attractive” you need to show off your body. People make fun of others for being covered up or “they look frumpy”. Women and men have no sense of respect for themselves. I believe that there are somethings that should only be seen by their partner, and that is not something that is common today.

  8. I personally think that men and women are set to higher standards in today society. Women have always been looked at as beautiful objects as opposed to men where they were seen as the breadwinners who didn’t always have to be super good looking. Times have changed and men are also now set to high standards consisting of big muscles, jaw lines, beards etc. As seen in this photograph from the 1970s it is seen that these women are fully clothed as opposed to our ads today; woman are almost always in bikinis. I think that our society have idolized these bikini models wrongly. Before women were seen as beautiful because of their way of being and facial features. Today woman are idolized because of their insanely thin figures; of course their facial features. Times before were also a lot more conservative as opposed to our society today. I think that this also corresponds to the reasoning of models today. A lot more people are liberal and like to see woman show off a little bit more or a lot more in this case. As for men I think that they are still considered to be breadwinners although gender roles are becoming a non-ritual meaning that a traditional breadwinner doesn’t always have to be male. Many women are starting to become the main income for their family. Men and women today are both held standards when it comes to body images and beauty. Our society has transformed negatively.

  9. There is an allure to a fully clothed woman. Since today women are more objectified than ever before, we think that a woman can only be sexy if she is showing some skin. Especially in the hollywood industry, where both and women have to add nude scenes just to put people in seats at the cinema. And this is not just for women. In the latest movie Thor: Ragnarok, Chris Hemsworth was pleased to hear that he wouldn’t have to appear shirtless in a non relevant scene just to add sex appeal to an action movie. But half way through the movie, he was asked to do so and he tried to argue against it but in the end had to do it. So we see that it’s not just women who have to take it all off but men too.
    What’s been forgotten and been left behind is the mystery of getting to know someone and their body as well. Women who cover up, show discipline and also are still appealing since there’s a sense of mystery to her. We don’t see that alot anymore since girls are always posting on their social media pictures that are revealing and it also gains them publicity. This is all well and good and it’s everyone’s choice to do so. But it begs the question, why do we have to show skin to be liked or appreciated. Our bodies don’t equate to who we are as human beings…

  10. I believe that women who are fully clothed are bewitching, every woman should be allowed to wear what they want and what they feel comfortable wearing in their own skin. Women shouldn’t be judge for what they wear, they have the freedom to dress as they please and every women is beautiful in every way. However i don’t think that women should be admired or loved because of what they where, it should be because of who they are as a person. I feel that both ways whether women are fully clothed or not fully clothed they are alluring and there is nothing wrong with it. Men shouldn’t be so focused on the clothes that women wear but because of social media women are. Everyone will have different opinions about women’s clothing, is usually that women who are fully clothed are because they are religious or it’s because of their culture or because they are insured and those who show skin are putting themselves at risk and placing himself as a sexual object, yet in my opinion i feel that women wear whatever they want to make them feel comfortable or for whatever reason and should not have to be questioned on their clothing.

  11. Zosimus the Heathen

    I tend to find fully clothed women more interesting and attractive than naked (or nearly so) women. That could in part be due to the fact that I’ve always found a woman’s face the most attractive part of her (breasts? What are those?), and also the fact that as a cross-dresser (and therefore a statistical anomaly – best pay no heed to my blatherings!), I tend to find women’s clothing fascinating anyway – there’re few things I find more pleasing than the sight of an attractive women wearing something really interesting that complements her looks. Indeed, I have a funny habit of mentally dressing attractive women I see in clothes and outfits that I think would look good on them, which I imagine is another thing that would make me something of an oddity (certainly, from what I’ve heard, the stereotype is that it’s women who do that sort of thing whereas men are only interested in mentally *un*dressing those they find attractive!).

    • That’s so interesting what you say about “dressing” (In the imagination) someone you find attractive in something that would be more attractive on them. I think women do that with their partners all the time, and even suggesting they wear a different type of clothing.

  12. It is interesting how this article points out the observation that both women and men are more objectified today. I hadn’t really thought about that much before but I think it’s because we’re becoming more feminine as a culture. Big buff hollywood actors now stand on the same level as softer, more handsome characters like Justin Bieber. It’s an interesting phenomenon that threatens many heavy lifting, meat eating, bearded veterans ( of the crowd I am sometimes a part of), but I do sometimes find it nice to dress well and shave. Thankfully, this switch in culture allows people like myself to switch back and forth from handsome a suave to bearded and muscular. Sometimes though, I can’t help but feel a little stuck in the middle. Both sides have their critics and the internet is ever bursting with personal opinions. I think we’re on the way to accepting both styles for men, just as well as we accept girls as tomboys.

    When I first read the article, the title had me thinking it was trying say that fully dressed women are often portrayed as witches or as malevolent characters. That reminded me of Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, where she played a witch in a long dark dress and horns. A stark comparison to her portrayal of the tomb raiding hero, Laura Croft. The more I think about it, the more I remember seeing fully dressed women being portrayed as witches or as grumpy CEO’s. Hmmm…

    • Thanks for your thoughts on this. The culture is valuing women and femininity more so that it’s increasingly more okay for men to take on traits associated with women. Of course traits associated with both women and men have positive and negative sides and objectification is more the negative side.

  13. I find fully clothed women to be bewitching. This may not apply to anyone and I know for sure that some like women to show off their skin more. I feel am really attracted towards women who show less or do not show at all. It gives me a sense that she is mysterious and respects herself enough not to demonstrate herself as a sexual object. At this point, I begin to worry that I may sound a little bit dogmatic here by implying that women who show a little bit or more of their skin view herself as a sexual object. I am actually not saying that. What I am saying is that it appears to me that way. It does not mean it has to be that way. At the end of the day, it is different from people to people. Some may people may prefer women to dress in a certain theme.

  14. Exploiting women in another way, extra money is made from selling women tight, skimpy clothing, Clothes manufacturers get more garments from a bolt of cloth, the garments are quicker to sew, and stretch garments that don’t require fitting — don’t require highly-skilled sewing machine operators.

    From my aesthetic viewpoint, stretchy fabrics that flatten down a women’s bosom or buttocks, or force-squeezes these features out into some opening, is not attractive. You don’t want to distort the feminine form, which is naturally beautiful.

    • Offering something to “fix” your problem is one way of making money. Which may or may not be ethical, depending.

      And luckily for women, all different body types have been found attractive in different cultures so it’s not like a woman must have one particular body type to be attractive. And we are attracted to people because of more than just their looks, which is also lucky.

  15. Isn’t this just a different ideal – not sexual but sensual: elegant, lithe, and certainly feminine.

    I think also the clothing is suggestive, and not quite as concealing as it pretends to be. Just because you can’t quite see it, doesn’t mean the mind can’t conjure up the impossible perfection beneath – and, indeed, exposure is generally less exciting than the anticipation of exposure. Taboo glimpsed has more value than taboo displayed.

    Which is more erotic? Bleona Qereti in fishnet and a thong, or Cate Blanchett in full Alexander McQueen, sans underwear?

  16. Oh yes! Women can certainly be alluring fully clothed. That picture and your comments, for some reason, reminded me of young Audrey Hepburn. I think I first saw her in Pygmalion. I had an immediate and lasting crush on her, which had nothing to do with sex. To me, she was simply magnetic. 😀

  17. not sure what is meant by bewitching wouldn’t you think nakedness was more bewitching or is that more attractive? I know I’m going to probably get hate mail for this but it’s just a simple question

    • It depends on how you understand bewitching.

      Partly you can look at the definition. Here are some synonyms: delight, enchant, captivate, charm, enthrall, entrance, bewitch, beguile, transport, thrill, excite, exhilarate, intoxicate

      One could enchant and beguile via nudity. That’s what we typically see today. But there are certainly other means.

      One could enchant thru their charming ways of being, their mystery … something from the personality or the soul. It doesn’t have to just be physical. Some of these ways of being enchanting are deeper and longer-lasting. Few of us have “perfect” bodies and we all age, for instance. And yet we can still enchant.

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