Tuesday, November 28, 2006

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I've been finding a whole bunch of magazine/poster/ambient ads for a presentation tomorrow. One of the people in my group wanted to play Immortal Technique's "Dance with the Devil" (you can find it on Dogpile.com, but I gotta warn ya it's got graphic descriptions of violence and rape), and I suggested showing ads which objectify women as sex objects while the song was playing to demonstrate how the media's message that women are things rather than individual persons permeates people's thinking (despite the fact that our consciousness has become desensitized to the sexual exploitation in advertising) and that false and morally wrong idea is used to justify violence toward women.

Here are a few of the more shocking/angering that I've ran across in the past couple days:

Post-It Notes (posted by sloganmaker on Flickr)
I think this one may be the worst. Its message may be a bit more insidious than the next two. I certainly took offense, because it takes one-night stands (something I don't identify with or desire) to that low level of "I dunno who the hell she is, but I'm shagging her anyway" and debases the idea further by either having the guy basically advertise his method of thinking to the woman or implies that she doesn't value herself high enough to not sleep with a total stranger or she is totally okay with the fact that she's just one in a loooong string of his nameless fuckees.

As I take another look at it, the bedroom looks like a woman's, considering the pristine white and vases of flowers. Maybe Jade's the one who slipped him the roofie. (I am an equal-opportunity also means equal-accountability kind of feminist. Feminism should not have the goal of putting women above men, just equal to.) Though that doesn't lead to many logical reasons for her to put the note on her head.

Corona (AotW)
Me and the other three ladies of my group discussed this one the longest. "'Grind it in deeper'? WTF?" but then we decided that the double entendre referred to the slice of lime which has been (rather forcefully, judging from the streaky image) shoved into the neck of the bottle, as well as the obvious penis-into-vagina situation depicted.

Dodge Viper (AotW)
Hey, I might stretch a 2-week relationship into a 3-week one if he has an awesome ride, but that decision would be based on many other factors as well. But I sure as hell wouldn't go to the extent this ad suggests.

Drunk Driving (posted by LiveU4 on Flickr)
Besides the unsubtle hint at necrophilia, are they really attempting to fetishize drunk driving? Can't we leave sex out of our attempts to prevent real-life tragedy? You don't try to make issues like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome provocative, elderly people shattering their hips sexy, or meth addicts seductive. There is a moral line. That boundary may be highly debateable, but we should not sexify and fetishize everything!



At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Jacob said...

Ahh, advertising! My favorite thing to love to hate. It has come to be my belief that advertising it the single most insidious force at work in our society. I think. Well, it's up there at least.

1. Good old 3M. Notice the tiny print as well: "For the little things you'll forget." What's interesting about the ad is the entire thing is extremely washed out (white walls, white flowers, white sheets, overexposed window, very light-skinned couple), which intimates the idea of purity, not a one night stand, except for the big spot of blindingly yellow color with "Jade" written on it. That makes the whole thing stranger, since it's "sullying" what would otherwise be a rather nice looking image: a happy couple sleeping in bed, except for the strange fact that they appear quite far apart (look at the focal blur), she's facing away from him, and there is a disembodied hand in the middle of the bed (no, really, because her other arm is under the sheet!)

Regardless, I am not at all surprised. 3M/Post-it (same company) has a line of "humorous" post-its (and other products, I believe) with the phrase "Women have their faults, men have only two: everything they say, everything they do" printed on them, as well. In short, their morals are sold to the lowest bidder -- in this case, people who glorify anonymous sex and misandrist women who want all the fun of post-its without all the work of having to write on them themselves.

2. It's a beer ad. What do you expect? It's geared towards the kind of guys who think Corona is an acceptable beer. Naturally, a woman in the throes of an orgasm has everything to do with a shitty beer. Or something. What can I say, sex sells. I don't think it's quite right to say this one is objectifying, per-se, because there's really nothing being shown. It's actually not objectifying that woman at all, it's objectifying the idea of intimacy. Now that's slick, you gotta admit. Slick and low. But brilliant nonetheless. As I said, most insidious thing ever. Selling an idea is the most powerful thing you can do, especially when the idea is something like sexual ecstasy -- note: it's for her, not necessarily for the viewer, because presumably that's what sheet-pulling woman would be moaning.

3. Cars: yet another mainstay of lameness. So pick your poison on this one as to which is worse: Ancient Dude getting Bleached Teeth Woman just because he bought a red car, or Bleached Teeth Woman marrying Ancient Dude because she knows he's going to die soon and leave her all his money. Can you taste the immorality floating all around? I can. It tastes of burnt molasses. I hate molasses.

4. I disagree with your interpretation on this one. There's really nothing sexual about it. People tend to be, you know, naked when they're autopsied. It tends to help with the whole "removing parts of the body to look at other parts of the body" business, as I understand it. Presumably they're just trying to say "drinking and driving kills people who don't drink and drive," which for some reason is women (maybe because we have declared a vendetta against hair in our culture, and so hairy man legs would be less appealing to people?).

I have spent hours -- literally hours -- analyzing print ads. Gimme some more, I'd be happy to rip them to shreds for ya. I love it.


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