Enough of these disgusting ads already!

25 09 2009


Here’s another episode in advertising FAIL. What is wrong with this ad?

1. It objectifies a woman and positions her in sexual submissiveness to advertise men’s shoes, so clearly the gaze clearly is male. When sex is used to sell products, which it often is, the gaze is pretty much always male. Thus women in the ad who are objectified embody a “to be looked-at” ness in which their subjectivity and personhood is denied. They simply exist as sexual objects to satisfy (cis, het) male viewing pleasure.

2. Notice the racial undertones in this ad – the woman who is tied up is Asian. Two stereotypes are being perpetuated here: one is that women are submissive and available for the male gaze and enjoyment; the second is that Asian women are subdued and submissive. She is also wearing a kimono, something that is traditionally and obviously Asian, which speaks to the exoticization and eroticization of Asian women.

3. The woman has a sexy, come-hither kind of look on her face. However, what is sexy about this? She is clearly in a subordinate position (her movement in space is entirely confined seeing that she’s tied up and displayed), sexually available because she cannot resist. She is tied to a shoe, so she is literally attached to an object. Her passivity renders her personal and sexual subjectivity entirely absent. The conflation of female bodies with objects for consumption reinforce and perpetuate rape culture and violence against women by showing that women are readily available and accessible for male consumption. It makes female helplessness seem sexy.

Many people may argue that this ad is just a shoe ad and that all these criticisms are just reading way too into it. My response? This ad does not exist in isolation. It is important to situate it in our cultural context and see this as symptomatic and emblamatic of not only misogyny but racism. We are socioculturally conditioned to be blind to sexism, racism, and other forms of oppression. So if you fail to see anything wrong with this ad, you are not examining it critically enough.

Hanes and the Sexy Librarian

26 08 2009

Here is a vintage Hanes Mystrece stockings ad which features the sexy librarian look:


The full text of the ad reads:

You can read about women who are unforgettable, disarming, and a not-so-quiet sensation,
or, become one by wearing new MYSTRECE. If you dipped your legs in liquid chiffon, you’d get the fit, the look, the utter cling of MYSTRECE. And for pennies more, you get that Hanes exclusive: No run can grow past the nude heel and demi toe.

How exactly does wearing Mystrece, “dipping your legs in liquid chiffon”, make a woman unforgettable, disarming and a not-so-quiet sensation?

Diesel Fail

4 08 2009

Diesel Intimates and Underwear has a new ad campaign out, featuring model Ariel Meredith, posing in these images:


Diesel 2

Diesel 3

This is a very tacky and sleazy ad campaign.  What’s up with the guy smearing lotion on her stomach?  And what’s up with the butt grabbing?  That is purely objectifying, especially the butt picture which only shows her butt being grabbed.

Barney’s, This is Completely Unacceptable

27 07 2009

File this under WTF?!!  What were you thinking?!! Via Sociological Images, Barney’s New York had this window display up this past week, but took it down when shoppers complained:

Barney's 1

Barney's 2

The mannequins (obviously female) are apparently being attacked by some invisible assailant with what is supposed to be blood. This display glamorizes violence against women, making it seem fashionable and sexy for women to be in danger or hurt. Depicting women being violently hurt for the purpose of selling clothing is despicable and serves to perpetuate rape culture and a culture of violence.

You wouldn’t want sweat to ruin Your Big Day!

19 07 2009

I saw this on Oh, You’re a FEMINIST?!:


This was an email that The Knot sent out with the subject line as “Worried about sweating excessively on your wedding day?” The body of the email said:

BOTOX® is approved by the FDA as a treatment for excessive underarm sweating when antiperspirants fail. There are enough things to worry about on your wedding day! Sweat stains on your wedding dress should not be one of them!

Aha. With sweat being so unfeminine and all, brides should really just get Botox so they don’t ruin their wedding by sweating and leaving sweat stains on their dresses. Makes a whole lot of sense to get this injection to stop sweat on Your Big Day, doesn’t it?

For Your Saturday

18 07 2009

Here are some good posts in the feminist blogosphere to check out:

Lessons from the Rape Culture and a piece inspired by that post.

The Obamas and the Door of No Return.

Hillary’s Challenge – Would putting women first make for better foreign policy?

The Latest Marriage Dust-Up.

Reproductive Rights Matter At Every Age.

Shave and get drunk, because you’re already brilliant.

“Disabled Girls” Video Game.

The Supreme Court and Redefining Racism.

Intact hymens and the fetishization of virginity

14 07 2009

Via Sociological Images, an older ad marketing a tampon:


The beginning text of the ad goes like:

I really wanted to use tampons but I heard that you had to be, you know, ‘experienced’. So I asked my friend Lisa. Her mom is a nurse so I figured she’d know. Lisa told me she’d been using Petal Soft Plastic Applicator Tampax tampons since her very first period and she’s a virgin. In fact, you can use them at any age and still be a virgin.

It’s laughable that this is the actual text of the ad. It’s also ridiculous that people used to fear that girls could lose their virginity by using tampons. “In fact, you can use them at any age and still be a virgin” – OMG Yay! What a relief! Oh gee, society and its fetishization of virginity.

Read the rest of this entry »

More ageism and sexism in advertisements

8 07 2009

Saw this ad for Ripolin Paint on Sociological Images.  Sociological Images, in the post, also points out some more ads that criticize and mock older women.

The images are not necessarily safe for work or lecture, so they are below the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Vintage Sexism: Tide

3 07 2009

Here is your average heterosexual white couple where the man is the breadwinner and the woman (“his ‘Missus'”) is just there to service him by doing his laundry, among other things, in this vintage Tide advertisement:


“He wears the cleanest shirts in town… His ‘Missus’ swears by Tide!”


Resistance to Misogynist Images and Advertising

30 06 2009

Misogynist images that objectify women are pervasive throughout our society. Sometimes it can be overwhelming because these visuals are everywhere, so many people have become desensitized to them. Means of resistance include noticing and pointing out the offensive nature of these images and advertisements.

Via Sociological Images, here is a series of pictures that illustrates how people are not letting misogynist advertising go unnoticed. These photos were taken in Seattle, Washington by Jonathan McIntosh.




Simple stickers as such call attention to the misogynist nature of the images, reminding people that such images (though they are pervasive and persistent) are counter to a society of basic human respect and freedom.

BK Epic Fail: Sell a sandwich by suggesting fellatio

24 06 2009

Burger King ran this ad in Singapore:


The text of the ad says:

Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER. Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A1 Thick and Hearty Steak Sauce.

“It just tastes better” and “It’ll blow your mind away”, huh?  Featuring a blonde all made up with her mouth hanging open as if she was about to give a guy a blow job is a tasteless and demeaning way to sell a stupid sandwich that will probably clog your arteries.  Degrading and devaluing women makes it taste better doesn’t it?

This is an enraging ad and hopefully many people will look at this like Um, WTF?!!! But of course there are always those who will just be like “whatever, it’s just an ad, stop making it such a big deal!”  No, it’s not just an ad, and yes it is a big deal.  You can’t just look at this ad in isolation – it’s part of the larger patriarchal culture of sexvertising that utilizes and normalizes sexist images that reduces women to mere body parts, therefore dehumanizing and objectifying them.

The ubiquity and the normalization of these bullshit, vomit-inducing images perpetuates a misogynist culture in which women are second class citizens and perceived as merely objects for public consumption.  This contributes to rape culture in which rape is pervasive and sanctioned through sexist attitudes and beliefs that make violence against women seem like a natural, normal and inevitable part of society.  Paradoxically because misogynist imagery is so normalized in society, we don’t see it because we see it everywhere. 

Burger King, way to epically fail again.

Eating meat = Being a man

21 06 2009

Via Sociological Images:


Unsurprisingly, here is another ad that suggests that meat is oh-so-manly! And this is why there are these great Father’s Day discounts in place – so dads can have all the meat he wants to affirm his masculinity.

Bacardi Misogyny Makes Me Drink More Malibu

20 06 2009

via Jezebel:

Bacardi has a new promotional site through Tel Aviv ad agency McCann Digital for it’s Bacardi Breezers that is just disgustingly awful.  The site has been created in both English and Hebrew.

The idea behind the site, entitled “Get an Ugly Girlfriend!,” is that all that women have to do to look attractive is find a less attractive friend to accompany them to events.

The site stresses that women can find “ugly” friends to accompany them to the pool, the beach, the mall, or a barbeque.  The site suggests that with sexy fashion accessories, lots of Bacardi Breezers, and these “friends,” any woman can look hot.


Vomit, vomit, triple vomit.

Read the rest of this entry »

PETA’s Next Move: Recruiting Che Guevara’s Granddaughter

19 06 2009

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has recruited Che Guevara’s 24-year old granddaughter, Lydia Guevara, to promote vegetarianism for their South American campaign that will premiere this October in Argentina, a big beef eating country.

lydia guevara

The posters and print ads will (shockingly!) feature Guevara scantily clad, “wearing nothing but the infamous Che beret and an ammunition belt of carrots”. Again PETA, must you use female bodies in order to promote vegetarianism?

The campaign’s tag line: “Join the vegetarian revolution.” This will be PETA’s first campaign in South America. Thoughts?

Friday Blogaround

19 06 2009

Sorry posting has been slow lately, but here are some interesting reads.  Enjoy and happy Friday everyone!

Happy Juneteenth, Peeps!

Trigger Warning: A young trans woman in New York was tortured to death yesterday, via A.E. Brain

New College Alcohol/Assault Stats – What seems to be still missing from the discussion is prevention

This is depressing – UK Officials Assigned to Fight Rape Actually Promote Rape Myths

Racism Review has a round-up of links to stories on Race, Racism and White Supremacy

Fat and Fashionable AND happy? Impossible!

How the Recession Impacts Women: More Women Forced to Reduce Maternity Leave Under Stress of the Economy

Two great pieces from MoJo: Bush Officials Cash In as More Americans Lose Out and Obamanomics: The Good, the Bad, the Weak

I’ve heard a lot about the new movie, The Hangover and how it’s super hilarious and a must-see.  Here’s a more critical review of it, More White Men Behaving Badly: A “Brain-on” Look at The Hangover

Safer Sex PSAs Conflate the Penis with a Firearm (NSFW)

Wealth-Care Reform: Fixing our health-care system will make us more economically secure.  It won’t make us much healthier.

Jessica Valenti on The Virginity Movement, Rebranded

Depression in Action, or Why I’m Still a Radical Feminist Despite it All

A Study in Ableism

Advocate’s (And the Gayosphere’s) Jacked Up Reporting on Black Transwoman’s Marriages