Friday, February 20, 2009

Gendering sexless products

This is probably going to be the first of many posts about advertisements. I'm certainly not pointing out anything anyone else hasn't pointed out yet, but it's irritating and needs to be pointed out as many times as possible.

While watching t.v. at any given time, it is easy to see how products are given a gender based on who advertisers think will buy the product, and the result is this huge division between men and women (predominately white straight men and white straight women). Other groups don't seem to exist in commercials or ads.

One thing I learned is that beer is masculine, and is usually synonymous with watching sports (also masculine). Googling "beer ads" in an image search leads you to an array of print advertisements for beer, many of which portray airbrushed women (obviously for the straight male gaze). There's one that baffles me:
What we see here is a flat-chested woman exploiting the chest of the other woman. It isn't the large-chested woman shading her own beer, nor is it a man, which one would argue makes it not sexist. But this is still for a male gaze because it is invoking some perhaps not-so-subtle girl-on-girl action. Just look at how the woman is checking out the beer-shades.

Ad after ad shows hot women posing with beer to attract their male consumers. What this tells me is that beer isn't really for me. If I drink it, it's for the viewing of some man. Which sucks, because my beer-drinking is not supposed to be an exposition.

I also learned how for a woman, shampooing your hair is like some sort of sexual release. I can't think of any time where I shampooed my hair, and felt like this:
Energy drinks are male, and apparently will make something bigger?Chocolate is for women. Eat this and masturbate!
Except Twix, which supposedly allows men to be pigs, and still somehow get the lady:

Speaking of chocolate, here's a familiar Axe ad:

Since women find chocolate irresistible, you should smell like chocolate! Creepy and misleading? Of course it is! Check out any Axe commercial. It's all about getting teh ladiez. Therefore, if you're gay, Axe isn't for you. This whole getting "girl approved" shit alienates a whole demographic of men who are not into ladies...

Burgers are for the male gaze, and sometimes invokes some pretty violent imagery:

So male they're actually testicles:I was also hoping to find video of the new Stacker 2 commercial, which heavily relies on the assumption that the dude is masturbating just before the hot woman enters his office, but I can't seem to find it anywhere just yet. I change the channel every time that commercial comes on.

What this all boils down to is that the ads that permeate our magazines and television is prevalently white and sexist. I didn't bother writing about the ads for children's toys, since that's a whole other argument. So I'll leave it up to Jared Logan:


Anonymous said...

Hi, I surfed in from WomanistMusings.

I have a small community on LJ for vents about advertising and analysis of advertising. You'd be quite welcome over there for posts like this, if you're interested. advert_eyes is progressive and this post would fit right in.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and about that Axe dude who initially (probably) Causcasian but turns brown when he's made of chocolate? That gives me the creeps because it seems to imply that becoming chocolate is the only reason a man would be brown. I always want to scream "SOME MEN ARE BROWN AS THEIR NATURAL HUMAN COLOR, YOU KNOW!"

FilthyGrandeur said...

oh yeah, i totally noticed that about the white chocolate axe guy. pretty ridiculous, but racism is something some ad campaigns are willing to utilize...

and i will keep your offer in mind if i plan on writing any future posts about advertisements (i'm sure i will--so much to be angry about, and all).

Ajijaak said...

I don't watch TV but I know these ads are sexist and racist. These ads don't do anybody and good. I am always critiquing ads.

I have traveled a lot across the USA by just moving. I noticed that there are not a lot of ads in middle america, which is less populated. When you get back into the midwest (Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin) there are so many ads! I am shocked. Ads make our worlds more toxic. I also notice when I am in the country or in the north (Upper Peninsula of Michigan/Upper Michigan) there are very little ads. Obviously when you are in cities and larger metropolitan areas they advertisers are targeting larger populations. Generally speaking there is more money where there is more people. I wish ads did not exist.

Jared Logan is pretty funny and spot on. I hate all that stuff directed at little girls. It is so sad and not right at all.

FilthyGrandeur said...

i find that every time i watch tv now i can't go five minutes without groaning in exasperation. it's so frustrating that we must still have these conversations about advertisements. i used to live in michigan, and now i live in wisconsin. yes, there is an overwhelming amount of ads in this region.