May 4, 2010

Hunky dory billboards

Yeah I'm a humourless feminist and think that the Hunky Dory ads are pathetic, exploitative and sexist. The ads dress women in bikinins so brief that their underwear is shown and adds to the sexualisation. They mock women's participation in sport and posit women as sexualised objects to be used for body parts, primarily breasts and buttocks. Having half naked women on billboards, HD only care about their cis straight male audience.

They reinforce the culturally imposed role for women to perform femininity - No matter where or in what context women must always be beautiful, thin and be available for sex. Such advertising has proved to traumatise girls and provoke extreme dieting. In addition, how can boys learn to have healthy relationships with actual girls when all they see are airbrushed images of perfection.

Obviously Hunky Dorys don't want women, girls or gay men to buy their products and I for one am delighted to never purchase any of their products again.

The standard defence is that it's only a bit of a laugh and that anyone who objects has no sense of humour. It's not fucking funny. The company has also decided that its ok cos the photographer has done Sports Illustration's photoshoots in the past and therefore is an artiste!

Women's sports teams are undervalued in this country. They are rarely lauded on the national sportscasts or given widespread public recognition. Since HD was promoting men's rugby why didn't HD put men in revealing bikinis? If you think that idea is ridiculous, why is it ridiculous? Why are women put in this position and not men. There seems to be a prevailing attitude that people don't want to look at barely clad men. Well, bring it on. Someone should do the exact shoot with male models and plaster it all over the country with suggestive slogans. Would you still laugh and tell men who feel objectified that they are overreacting?

The French rugby team pose for a mostly nude calendar every year. There is nudity, it is very popular and it is a world away from the exploitative ads that Hunky Dory produced.

The usual non apology apology was trotted out by Raymond Coyle, chief executive of Largo Foods:

I’m sorry if some people are offended.... we don’t think the ads are sexist or too provocative. Walter Iooss, the photographer for Sports Illustrated, took the photographs and we think they are very good.”


Classic!

Well portraying women as sex objects contributes to Ireland's rape culture, which has become so evident in recent months.

The difference between these ads and the nudish photographs of the French rugby team could not be more different... engagement with the camera, the gaze and the fact that these are actual players who have chosen to wear few clothes. These two things are not the same. Compare and contrast the following (NSFW)






See the difference?

4 comments:

Henry said...

"Classic!

Well portraying women as sex objects contributes to Ireland's rape culture, which has become so evident in recent months."

typical ultra pc reaction for such a small add campaign.

was'nt so long ago the women in the office were swooning over that bloke with his diet coke. gimme a break.

i've lived in france for over 2 yrs, there are adds in the pharmacy's which show naked mens and womens bodies (obiviosuly not full frontal) selling creams for weight loss to cellulite reduction.

reason why the french people are ok with it?

BECAUSE THEY ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THEIR SEXUALITY. UNLIKE MOST IRISH MEN AND WOMEN WHO WERE BROUGHT UP TO BELIEVE SEX IS A DIRTY THING.

Mór Rígan said...

Oh yawn. Way to miss the point, Henry. Nudity is not a problem. Sexuality is not a problem. Neither are relevant. Did you miss the half naked men above?

Objectification of female bodies is the problem.

Learn to read, dude

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I don't really buy this idea that sexualized advertising = rape. That's several steps too far. I think these ads are cynically moronic and I'm not at all interested in buying the product advertised, but I'm not going to pretend like this is the same thing as sanctioning rape. And that's despite the fact that I have this crippling affliction to my decision making faculties called "being a man." Believe it or not, not everyone needs to be told that these adverts aren't a realistic depiction of reality, nor do they need people with vaginas holding their hands and telling them what to think because otherwise they couldn't figure this out on their own.

As for objectifying men, of course advertisers do it, but heteronormativity requires that they disguise it in more subtle ways. Next time you watch tv (if you watch tv) count how many times you might see a flash of abs, or some implausably good looking male or waifish young guy in the frame with a young woman. Advertisers know how to cover their bases - they generally depend on bisexuality to sell their products for them, and not simply objectification of women.

Mór Rígan said...

not everyone needs to be told that these adverts aren't a realistic depiction of reality, nor do they need people with vaginas holding their hands and telling them what to think because otherwise they couldn't figure this out on their own.

That's true Anony. Not everyone needs handholding but many do. People with vaginas and well as people with penises. I point it out because, objectification of the female body is so pervasive that many do not notice it anymore.

Also in the OP I noted the differences between the use of male and female bodies. While the former may be problematic dependent on the depiction, the latter is standard in many ad campaigns, television, movies, talk shows ... etc.

Heteronormativity is another but equally pervasive problem, as is representation of queer, disabled, non white, fat and old bodies.

As for the sexualized advertising = rape idea, that you reject, research

(Sex Roles
Volume 32, Numbers 9-10, 639-649,
Images of women in advertisements: Effects on attitudes related to sexual aggression by Kyra Lanis and Katherine Covell) indicates that

analyses showed that males exposed to the sex-object advertisements significantly more accepting of rape-supportive attitudes, and females exposed to the progressive female images were less accepting of such attitudes than were controls.

Rape-accepting is not the same as rapist but it is a step on the road. I think these ads and representations are damaging to people of all genders and plays into heteronormativity.