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Five Sexist Trends the Advertising World Just Can’t Shake

December 8, 2008

n4202756_30812171_2415 Alex Leo Operation Itch Contributor
This was a big year for women: The first serious female presidential candidate, the firstpredominately female state senate, the first female Top Chef. Yet the advertising world has not caught up to the advances of half our population and continues to use stereotypes and violence to prey on our most vile desires. Here are the worst of them–the trends that won’t die despite our cultural outrage, and personal boredom.

getinteresting2BONDAGE – This year Remy Martin debuted it’s “things are getting interesting” campaign that features a mediocre Website and a series of billboards/magazine spreads depicting women in degrading bondage positions. You may think, “hey this one shows two women, there aren’t even men involved, how can it be sexist?” But most of the ads (not available online) have men between the two women in controlling positions. And even without that, these women are obviously putting on a show for an outsider, not having a passionate lesbian love affair for themselves. These types of ads gain traction in cultural periods of female advancement–capturing the fantasy of “putting us back where we belong.”

Remy Martin describes its followers as“influential, social, and multicultural urban males, ages 25 to 35.” Men of this ilk and age range (read: over 16) should know better than to fall for this kind of pandering. If we switch the view from this being sexy, to this being a pathetic attempt to make an undersexed male feel powerful in the face of female accomplishment, the image loses its appeal. I would like to start a “things that are not interesting” campaign, which would include men insecure enough about themselves that they can’t talk to women who aren’t physically degraded. I would also include cognac.

RAPE — The world of high fashion has been the worst offender in the violence-as-art game. Cavalli hadpirates, Chanel had a wife beater, and now Dolce and Gabbana has this.dolcead090808

Let’s get this out there now: It’s not edgy, it’s ridiculous. This is a gang rape, and any woman that sees those shoes instead of that message deserves those shoes. Any man who doesn’t see that this is rape is probably looking at one of the hard bodies in the background and therefore not really a threat to women.

 

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