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Shadow Play

"Must it always take a woman in your life for you to say: 1) do I smell good? 2) Gosh, my underwear."

Shadow Play
The Rivolta underwear advertisements always present a good-looking man partly as a picture and partly as a silhouette. The model is almost ready to cringe because he can't quite stand the glare of the femine gaze. The play of light and shadow suggests that he is taken by surprise – by the fact that women have a roving eye as well. He is not delighted by this fact. He is clearly ducking her gaze.

Undress code for men? Why now? Because it is they who are being undressed now. Hence the ad's copy. “Must it always take a woman in your life for you to say: 1) do I smell good? 2) Gosh, my underwear.” In other words, the Rivolta underwear is not about expressing male sexuality, it is about recovering it. The Rivolta underwear will certainly not make you macho. Why? Machismo is the desire to have a woman look at a man in the way in which he would ideally like to be looked at. The Rivolta man, however, is more interested in looking at himself in the way in which women have traditionally been looked at by men.

(Shiv Kumar Srinivasan, the writer, has done a doctoral thesis on the Apollonian and Dionysian dimensions of the unconscious.)

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