Sexist Advertising. November 28, 2005Posted by Winter in media, sexism.
I’ve been thinking about writing a short post on this for a while. Sexist advertising, and what it is telling young men. Unfortunately the above picture is very blurred and unless people are familiar with this advertising campaign, you probably will be unable to see that the letteres are actually made up of semi naked girls indulging in a little girl on girl action. The use of girls in this way seems to be an ongoing theme for the lynx brand. Sex sells deoderant, use this deoderant, get more sex, it’s an easy equation to make. I just want to put the obvious objectification of women issue aside for a while and focus on a different aspect of this campaign. The use of simplistic images like this carries a second, insideous message to the young men it is aimed at. It says, men are idiots, they are only interested in sex and any short cut to getting that is a good thing. Men are idiots who can’t control their urges. Ok so it’s just one advert, but if you look at many of the adverts aimed at young men, and if you dare to venture past the front page of a lads mag, you will find this message continually used and reinforced. Men are stupid, they just can’t help themselves.
From a psychological point of view, I actullly do think this is quite dangerous. OK, consciously men are not going to go around saying, “I do this because I’m just a stupid man and I can’t control myself,” but these associations are being made and reinforced constantly in the subconscious. When these young men get into situations that do not allow for measured, logical thinking they may well act in accordance with these subconscious associations, and if something goies wrong, you can almost guarentee that everyone will try and defend them with the same rhetoric. “Oh, he’s a lads lad, it was just a bit of fun.”
Really I think it’s time to start engaging with some new ideas of masculinity, because the ideas being put forwards by the lads mags and the advertising industry are pernicious and frankly quite dangerous. They certainly don’t encourage young men to take reponsibility for their actions. (See Gendergeek for a great post on the treatment of sportsmen by the media). Personally, I find it quite sexist and offensive that men are continually portrayed in this way. Yes there are men out there who fit this category, quite a lot of them I’m sure, but there are also many intelligent, sensitive men out there who don’t fit this category, and who probably find this type of stereotyping of their gender offensive. Frankly I find it baffling that more men don’t complain about the sexist treatment of their gender by the advertising industry. Men, why aren’t you out there complaining?