Hansaplast condoms has a new marketing campaign in France:
Apart from having absolutely nothing to do with condoms, these advertisements reinforce the objectification of female bodies and further normalize sexual violence. The women in the advertisements are looking at the hand prints on them in a confused and annoyed way because they did not consent to being groped. You can also tell that they are clearly not too thrilled about this.
What exactly is the story line here? The women were sleeping out in the sun and then groped, and possibly even raped? The tan lines on these women’s bodies seem to suggest that they were more than just groped. They make it look like there was someone who was on top of or behind the women. The tan lines and the facial expressions on the women’s faces all imply that whatever occurred, whether it was consensual or non-consensual (and therefore sexual assault or rape), women are the passive receivers, the inferior ones, in which something is done to them instead of being equal participants in sexual activity.
Whatever the heck these images are supposed to mean, they reflect the patriarchal sense of entitlement to female bodies and female sexuality. In a patriarchal society, women cannot fully occupy public spaces. Public spaces can be hostile spaces where women cannot navigate as safely or freely. They are kept in line by sexual harassment (ranging from catcalling to groping), sexual assault and rape.
This reminds me of a conversation I was having with a friend lately about how at frat parties, sometimes men (strangers too) feel entitled to just come up to women and put their arms around them, or to just start grinding up behind them. Not only do we find this uncomfortable but we find it intrusive as well. Male privilege and the constant objectification of women make it seem like female bodies do not belong to females but rather are public property and up for grabs.