I chose this photo of LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen from the Vogue, “Shape Issue,” because it hailed me through the facial features of the two individuals captured on the cover and how different they were. LeBron James, an NBA player, being one of the individuals captured, looking aggressive and triumphant due to his facial features and tension around his brows and the gaping of his mouth. He wears all dark attire sports gear, the items you would wear during a workout. He wears a tank-top and long shorts, with lace-up shoes. There is also a basketball in the image that’s in mid dribble, inferring to the viewer that he is in fact in sports wear. Around his arm is Gisele Bundchen, who looks likes she’s flowing in the air. Due to the image’s lighting we can see that the outfit she wears is very thin, it is clingy to her body and is flowing with her, her hair is also being affected by this imaginary wind that is captured in the image. Connotatively, she looks angelic; her facial features are soft, her face and body does not look constrained like LeBrons. She is smiling and enjoying the ride, she looks bare and fragile. Not only do they appear difference in sex, and race, but their facial makeup and clothing are complete opposite spectrums. LeBron’s clothing is dark, and Gisele’s is bright signifying something else in the image.
Now that I’ve broken the image down I want to further analyze why I saw this image as depicting the male gaze. The male gaze refers to the act of looking through the eyes of who is behind the camera, it is the gendered way of looking. The male gaze has been explained as being the way in which women are controlled through the way they are seen in the media. In this Vogue issue, Gisele Bundchen, a fashion model, is depicted as a woman with the best body. She’s portrayed as extremely thin, and wearing almost nothing but a silk cloth, objectifying her body. Whereas LeBron James is wearing a shirt and shorts, noticeable clothing items. Not looking at her as Gisele the model, but looking at her as an average woman, she is placed in the hold of a man’s arm as an award not as a companion.
Looking back to LeBron James and how Vogue portrays him as this masculine male ideal, with the sports attire, aggressive behavior, depiction of muscles, and not to mention the woman around his arm. The NBA athlete is portrayed as the unreachable male ideal, he’s multitasking with a woman in one arm and dribbling a basketball in another. This is further implicating how the basketball male athlete is seen to be, and should be all these things, for only then will he have the best body and star athleticism. Calling this Vogue issue, the “Shape Issue” implicates how the ideal male athletic body, key word “body”, is from a black male. Reinforcing the false idealism that the black male body is the most gifted in an athletic career. Vogue could have put him in a suit and tie, or maybe even in Gisele’s silk cloth, but they placed in sports gear stereotyping him as only an athlete, not a business man or a father or anything other, but purely a basketball player that has a great body and a woman enjoying his embrace due to his success.
After deep analyzation of this Vogue cover the viewer can slowly come to the conclusion that this image not only contains the objectification of women but also emulates and connotes the message of the ideal male masculinity and showcasing the stereotypical basketball athlete as a black aggressive male who will have the best body in the sport, that is actually false in reality.