There's a recent UK Lynx Ad in which a man is shown building himself an arc. It's shown that within this arc are many many bedrooms. Then he sprays himself with the Lynx, and then two of every 'type' of girl flocks to his boat. I was relieved when I noticed the girls seemed to be 'sorted' on their hair rather than their skin. However, likening girls to animals that you can hoard onto your boat immediately angered me. My boyfriend thinks it's lighthearted humour. Is this ad sexist in your eyes?
Lynx is the UK version of Axe, so going with your gut is right.
likening girls to animals that you can hoard onto your boat immediately angered me.
I think it's funny that people are trying to argue away the Burger King as not being sexist by saying there's problems with the men's version too. How does that make it any less sexist? Also men don't get to tell women they're not being discriminated against, end of story. Just like any other minority group has the right to voice complaints against negative stereotypes without people who aren't in the group ssaying it's not problematic.
I really like the premise of your blog. I think people often undervalue the power the media has to either perpetrate or change stereotypes/sexist/racist ideas, etc. However, I'd love to see more from this blog. There's so much potential here; perhaps you could write a couple paragraphs about WHY an ad is sexist and explain how a similar add could be done that could fix the problem? I think that would help clarify some of the confusion people are having as well as strengthen this blog?
We’re getting there. Finding our feet again. I used to write a snarky bit o’ text about the message each ad conveys, but I haven’t had the time lately. I can’t speak for Kaitlyn, of course - she can post whatever she wants however she wants to - but when I post ads I’ll try to do more of that.
Re: "the vampires are a positive representation": One of the things that commonly distinguishes vampires from other monsters is that vampires often have the traits we wish we had. They're sexy, elegant, eloquent, and educated. (That's why their popular enemy is the werewolf, our instinctive and base nature.)
I did a presentation on sexism in advertising and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at how many people in my class thought that sexism in advertising was a thing of the past. It was pretty upsetting. Sometimes it seems like people are so used to seeing oppression that they hardly notice it anymore.
It’s the same with racism - “I’m not burning crosses so I’m not really racist!”
The sexism in ads today isn’t as blatant as it was, so people think it’s not really there. That’s why I’m not always wild about those lists of “Un-PC ads of yesteryear!” - It’s implied that it’s an old, resolved problem, that ads still aren’t racist or sexist.
In response to the last ask I saw you answer: I think that the man in that BK ad IS most definitely a sexual representation-- however, his representation invokes power and sexual prowess, where he's in control. The woman's mouth is dehumanized, sexualized, and made into an object to be broken.
Your points have been absolutely right. I just wanted to point that out!
That sounds about right, yes.
I think the point ohsusquehanna was trying to make was, “Hey, here’s a picture of a dude’s mouth, I don’t feel objectified or dehumanized, so why should a woman feel that way about an ad with a woman’s mouth in it?”
I’m sure he felt he was making a Good Point, but he’s really just letting his Male Privilege show.
Here in the Netherlands Suit Supply gets away with everything.. they caught a lot of flac for their latest stuff (see the link after the image) and now their site is prim and polite. Don’t know if they ever apologized, though.. Most Dutch people feel like there is no sexism anymore (and we have come a long way in the past 100 years) but this is just too embarrassing.
Kaitlyn here - they’re using the American Apparel model. (I’m keeping this as a linked image since it’s NSFW)
I don't appreciate my commentary on the matter being removed and ignored and the submission being taken out of context. You remove my name now.
Your commentary is still in the previous Ask - see?
And in response to your commentary, you’re not supposed to feel dehumanized, because the male mouth is never used in a sexual manner in advertising. Female mouths are. All the time. Always and forever.
I don't know if its just me but when I see the male ad the first thing I thing is 'blow job'. I'm not saying you guys are wrong, in fact I think you guys are more then right, just wanted to add my two cents.
It probably isn’t just you, but I don’t think your reaction isn’t what the ad makers were going for.
And his mouth still isn’t the injured one, which is what I find most upsetting.
Dear Anon: The iPhone adverts feature only hands so the viewer can picture themselves as the owners and users of the phone, afterall, most people have hands. A woman being reduced to a sexualised body part, a body part with an obvious 'sexual function' is not intended to be identified with but to be 'used' and 'consumed' in the imagination of the viewer. This is dehumanising because women's bodies have been so fetishised they are property of the public imagination now.
"Because advertising doesn’t work that way." Isn't a citation or a source to back up your argument. You're attempting a "I'm right because I'm right" tautology and that's no basis for a point.
iPhone ads sometimes only feature hands. Is that dehumanizing too? What about ads for products featuring only a voice over? I'm more than a hand and I am more than a voice. Focusing on a part doesn't reduce one to a part. You'd only be reduced to a part if the ad implied that the rest was worthless.
Have you heard of focus groups? A company as big as Burger King is not doing anything by accident. However, this local flooring place whose ads are only on local TV… no, he probably didn’t do too much research. But he’s not a multinational corporation.
As for the iPhone ads, no they’re not. The focus is not the hands - it’s the product. In that BK ad, all we see is her INJURED MOUTH.
Voices and hands are not sexualized or treated as objects.
"I've never seen an ad that focuses on a guy's mouth before. I'd be interseted in seeing one if only to see the reactions"
Okay: i [period] imgur [period] com/f3Uj1 [period] jpg
As a man, I can't say I'm particularly offended nor do I feel dehumanized. I get that the sauce is supposed to be "blood", but I can't say I feel like it's portraying my sex as blood thirsty.
I think that’s because we see men in ads all the time - a man can be a a vampire and he represents himself. A woman is a vampire and she is frequently tied to her sex. (Same in real life - women do stupid things in the military - oh women shouldn’t be there! Men do stupid things - “rotten apple” or whatever.)
In these ads, she is shown as injured while he is shown as a popular, powerful monster.
The fact that it's normalized to see that kind of sexism is appalling. And of courses they're not going to show a man's mouth. We live in a heteronormative, cissexist world where all women have vaginas, all men have dicks and everyone is straight. If it had been a man's mouth, people would be double taking and complaining about what it's implying. As opposed to defending it.
I’ve never seen an ad that focuses on a guy’s mouth before. I’d be interested in seeing one if only to see the reactions…
I can't believe people are still trying to deny that the BK ad of the woman's hurt mouth isn't sexist. Of course it is. The simple fact that someone was able to take the ad and turn it into a condom ad is indicative of the sexism. The burger is a metaphor for an endowed man. It's like saying "eat this and you'll be just as big and manly as the burger that was too big for her mouth." (cnt)
The fact that it’s normalized to see that kind of sexism is appalling. And of courses they’re not going to show a man’s mouth. We live in a heteronormative, cissexist world where all women have vaginas, all men have dicks and everyone is straight. If it had been a man’s mouth, people would be double taking and complaining about what it’s implying. As opposed to defending it.
I don't understand how people don't see the issue with the Burger King mouth ad. The original ad was still sexist because it was SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to make you think about this woman having a big dick in her mouth. This ad is not really about burgers. It's supposed to be "sexy" and "sly" like many ads that use sex to sell things that have nothing to do with sex. Personally I think it's ridiculous. I can't see how imagining this women sucking my dick is supposed to make me want a burger.
"Furthermore, they did not just “flip a coin” - they chose a woman’s mouth for a reason. They want us to stop and look at a woman’s injured mouth." So you have proof of this? How is your guess more valid than mine?
"And it would not have detracted from the message to show her whole face" Perhaps not, but the ad would have been more subtle. It only becomes dehumanizing when you reduce a human to a part. You must hate Apple ads.
Because advertising doesn’t work that way.
"It only becomes dehumanizing when you reduce a human to a part." We have her mouth and only her mouth - is that not reducing her to a part?
Apple ads? The dancing ipod ones or the “I’m a Mac” ones? I’m not following.
I'm absolutely adoring your blog. I don't know if you guys have made a post about this commercial yet but I haven't seen it so far...but the gucci commercial for their new perfume called guilty. The commercial depicts a strong independent woman, who takes charge in a sexual situation, and then as the commercial ends the words guilty, the name of the perfume, appear. This just frustrates me because it furthers the pre existing implications that a woman should feel guilty about enjoying sex.
I just watched it - it stars Evan Rachel Wood and Chris Evans, right?
Gucci wants it both ways - she’s guilty because she’s doing this, but buy our perfume so you can be as sexy and guilty as she is. Smell like someone who feels guilty?
I feel like no one who submits asks to this blog knows how either sexism or advertising work. Advertising is an enormous section of every business. Every single decision that goes into each ad - from the font to the color of the background - is scrutinized and goes through 50 different versions in order to make sure that they have the most calming blue or whatever they're going for. So to say that they don't know what they're doing surrounding an integral sexist message is truly ridiculous.
Very true. I work in design for a living. Everything is very deliberate, is looked at by a committee, and goes through several revisions before it goes public. Sometimes these revisions take months of back-and-forth. Nothing is “by chance.”
The issue at hand is that there is a thick layer of harmful stereotypes and sexism in advertising that continue to be accepted simply because they have become the status quo. It is harmful to show dads only as messy doofuses and women only as sexual objects because it is insulting and demeaning. Furthermore, these tropes become ingrained into successive generations and can alter the perceptions people have towards one another and their own roles in society. Often, the images become so much a part of our daily experience that it seems easy to claim “That is not sexist. I’ve seen it everywhere.” without even a trace of irony.
Just because society has desensitized you to many forms of sexism doesn’t mean it isn’t present or harmless.
People who get upset over seeing sexism called out generally seem to me like they are feeling personally attacked. I think there is a sense from them that they think we see malicious intent behind ‘incidental’ or common sexist themes and that calling it out is a declaration of war. Really we are just trying to bring light to a frustrating and harmful situation.
By the way, you can go to Tide's website and email them to let them know you liked the "stay-at-home dad" ad. I did, and I got a (somewhat) personal response within an hour or two. Maybe if they get a lot of positive emails, they'll start making more advertisements that break the mold!
"As an image, it still bothers me. Why show a woman’s mouth and not a man’s? And again, showing just her mouth?"
Why does it matter? A woman's mouth is just as valid as a man's mouth. For all you know, they flipped a coin to decide or had a hodge podge of models come in and she had the most suitable mouth for the job. Additionally, they obviously only used the mouth because the ad was focusing on the sheer size of the burger. Just the mouth means the message gets across clearly and quickly.
Again, men and women’s bodies and body parts do not have the same connotations in pop culture. Furthermore, they did not just “flip a coin” - they chose a woman’s mouth for a reason. They want us to stop and look at a woman’s injured mouth.
And it would not have detracted from the message to show her whole face - reducing her to her mouth is dehumanizing and well, it kind of creeps me out.
You can show the bigness of the burger in many ways that don’t involve dehumanization.
If the BK ad showed a man's mouth instead, why isn't that sexist? because you're biased blabbering idiots. please.
Why isn’t showing just a man’s mouth sexist?
Blowjobs. That’s why. Okay? Blowjobs. We’re only seeing her mouth - why can’t we see her face? We have a woman’s injured mouth. And nothing else.
As for the blabbering idiot thing - nice ableist language, but yes, I probably am biased and I do blabber on.
A man’s mouth wouldn’t be sexist because we don’t obsess over men’s mouths in advertising and pop culture. It would still be creepy - I’m going to eat something that will injure me? And it’s just a fast food burger?
you seen the new tide ad? it's kind of great since it's coming after the other ad with the mom being all disapproving of her daughter for being a tomboy..."Tide - My Tide TV Commercial - Tide Dad Short Version" on youtube. this would sound a lot less like a spam message if tumblr didn't block links.
I actually tweeted about this ad on my personal twitter account when I first saw it. I think it’s great!
Not only does it feature a dad, but he is totally competent and capable at taking care of the laundry and his daughter. No “doofy-dad” stereotype here. Way to go Tide. Much better than their recent disappointing “Tomboy” ad.