Monday, June 15, 2009

The Billboard That Has Everyone Pissed Off

The billboard that is pissing everyone off
I first saw this ad in the back pages of Ms. where they print ads they deem to be sexist and demeaning to women. Now the ad has been turned into a giant billboard on Houston in Soho.

Pretty much every feminist website/blog/twitter/ I read is up in arms about it. I mean, it's not the prettiest/least offensive thing I've seen walking down the street, but I've seen much worse. What about all those ad campaigns for vodka brands that would show older men having sex with two women at once, or those ads on the other side of the street on Houston that showed two women flirting with each other and grabbing each other in a homoerotic capacity only to have the series end with them ending up in a sexual situation with a guy. Why didn't people complain about those? Remember those ads with Vincent Gallo and multiple women? There was one right over a subway entrance with him buttoning up his pants while a very young model was kneeling over, reapplying her lipstick, using his belt buckle as a mirror.

In my personal opinion, this ad is maybe a bit too much for a giant ad viewable by all foot and motor traffic, but as a feminist this ad doesn't seem to present any more of an offensive role for a woman than anything else I've seen. In dissecting it, I would note that the female's body is in an active rather than passive role, showing her to be taking a consensual part in the sexual activity rather than being a victim. I would also note the fact that the ad features multiple men, rather than multiple women. Whereas, so many ads be they for vodka, Axe cologne, etc. show one much older man with two or more younger women. The ad also promotes a sense of androgyny and the men all look identical, making them perhaps the same as any expendable unidentifiable female model.

What do you think? Is this more degrading to women than anything else in advertising currently?


Janet Jarrell said...

I have enjoyed your honesty. I did share your blog in mine today...

Janet Jarrell said...

By the way, I think simply - the combination of shocking people and sex sells. That may be degrading.

Gena said...

I don't think it's necessarily degrading to women, but I think it's a little much for a billboard.

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