The rampant white-washing of models, actresses, and musicians of color is not a new concept. Freida Pinto, Rihanna, and Aishwarya Rai have all previously fallen victim to white-washing on magazine covers and in promotional images. Beyoncé’s skin was lightened dramatically in a 2008 cosmetics ad by L’Oreal, where she is the spokesperson. These incidents can be contributed to digital retouchers and the outlets that choose to release the images … but what about your own album cover and promo ads? The photos accompanying Beyoncé’s most recent release, 4, have stirred up controversy and it’s not a struggle to see why. Beyoncé is a fairly light-skinned black woman and she generally keeps her hair lightened to a shade that’s more caramel than chocolate. But these shots have her looking straight up like Lindsay Lohan with a subtle tan. If you showed me this image on its own and asked me who it was, Beyoncé would be my last guess.
Again, these light-skinned images are promotional ads for Béyonce’s own album, which leads me to believe that she absolutely approved the photos. [NYMag.com]
When pop culture depicts transgender people, they usually do it in such a facepalm way that I wonder why anyone bothers anymore. The latest what-were-you-thinking? comes courtesy of Libra tampons in New Zealand, which aired a commercial that implies trans folks who dress as women are not “real women.” The commercial shows an ostensibly “real” woman standing next to a trans person in the bathroom, who I guess is a drag queen. They both put on their lip gloss and mascara and adjust their boobs in their tight party dress. Then the “real” woman pulls a tampon out of her purse. The drag queen makes a “hmmph!” face and walks away. Keep reading »
I’m on the fence about this ad for Equinox, an upscale gym with locations in Los Angeles, New York City, and elsewhere. On the one hand, I’m not keen on the juxtaposition within advertisement — that the woman herself is a “joy ride” (despite the fact she is freezing in that outfit) or that riding a motorcycle in a bikini would be a joy ride (again, despite the fact she is freezing in that outfit). It’s another unrealistic portrayal of women’s bodies — not the physical body itself, but the unreal suggestion that she’s so “hot” she’s not losing her tuchus to frostbite.
However, I’m not bothered by the fact a woman in an advertisement for a gym is wearing a bikini, or that her face/identity is obscured by her motorcycle helmet. Even though there are other cases of advertising where a woman’s body is used to gratuitously sell a product — many alcohol ads, for instance — I think a gym advertisement is a pretty legit reason.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Keep reading »
For the first time in eight years, the network hosting the Super Bowl has actually accepted the preliminary script for GoDaddy.com’s bro-tastic commercial pitches. Six racy “Internet only” commercials later — including one rejected commercial with a “beaver” entrendre — I’m still trying to align my neck after all of that strategic screen blocking. GoDaddy certainly isn’t unique in its marketing of sex, especially during the biggest football game of the year. It’s just their total lack of cleverness that normally cushions the hot-girls-performing-exaggerated-sexuality-for-guys message that make them more crude.
Allow me to give you a rundown… Keep reading »
It’s a sad but true fact that in some parts of the world, especially China, baby boys are favored over baby girls. In fact, boys are so strongly favored in some rural areas of China that girls are aborted after their gender is known and as a result there’s a drastic imbalance in the population.
But even in countries where baby girls are brought into the nursery, parents can have a hard time when they learn they’re decorating it pink instead of blue. This has a lot to do with existing sexist prejudices that adversely impact females in society — like lack of access to education and employment — that privilege males and incentivize parents to have boys.
So the magazine Fast Company thought up something completely innovative: it asked a half dozen ad agencies to rebrand girls with mock advertisements. Oh, if sexism were only as simple as bad advertising! The agencies primarily focused on targeting parents — er, consumers — in the U.S. and China and several opted to highlight perceived reasons that girls are better than boys, rather than just appreciating girls for their own sakes. For that reason I’m not sure I like all of these, although all the mock ads are certainly creative.
Take a click through and tell me in the comments what you think! [Fast Company]
American Apparel‘s print ads for their shoes show one going up a woman’s taut, slightly arching butt, as well as a man’s hands pulling up a woman’s dress from behind while they both wear American Apparel shoes. Of course they advertise like this: sex (still) sells. I’m not offended (I think they’re hot!), but I’m not wowed by the company’s uber-creative marketing prowess, either. Ho hum, it’s just a woman’s butt and a shoe! Show us something we haven’t see from you a million times before, Dov Charney. [Styleite] Keep reading »
Romance?! Who wants romance?! Feh! Yuck! Pa-tooey! Bring on scantily-clad strippers in public bathrooms! All men need an ass grinding against their crotch after the appetizer — and not their girlfriend’s, silly, but a stranger. They need fresh poontang constantly! That’s just the way men are.
Axe, you’ve outdone yourself with this Spanish-language ad. The transcript for this train wreck — which aired in Argentina, a country that apparently has a holiday called Boyfriend’s Day — after the jump. Keep reading »
One of the things that comes up in a gender studies class is the concept of the “male gaze.” Generally speaking, it’s the idea that men have a particular and at-times oppressive way of envisioning women (innocent, helpless, submissive, dumb, etc.) which is reflected through the media. The excellent blog Sociological Images hazards a guess that this Olympus camera ad, which appeared in an Australian graphic design magazine, is the very definition of the male gaze. But it’s not the pictures of the attractive women in different colors/tones that are the problem — it’s the caption, which reads “Never get bored of how your girlfriend looks again.” Personally, I think the ad is clever, not especially sexist, although I do understand how it could be read as privileging men to control womens’ appearances. What do Frisky readers think? [Sociological Images] Keep reading »
“Look good in all that you do” is not a slogan you expect to see next to a woman with a nasty-looking black eye. Then again, no one denies the Fluid hair salon in Edmonton, Alberta, was not trying to shock. The ad depicts a woman with a funky hairdo and a black eye sitting on a couch, while an attractive man in a suit stands behind her holding a diamond necklace. For myself and many others, the ad suggests domestic violence — gratuitous domestic violence, actually, because it’s an ad for a freakin’ hair salon.
Insinuating domestic violence is perfectly within Fluid’s rights, of course, and as to be expected, the salon owner is getting huffy about free speech. Keep reading »
Men aren’t usually in commercials for period products. But this spoof ad — which Proctor & Gamble denied via Twitter is affiliated with Always — has lots of them. Men in bright red lipstick, men in bustiers, men with beehive hairdos that would put Amy Winehouse to shame. The spoof stars drag queens and lots of ‘em; each one is boo-hooing like a three-year-old girl because he’s got man parts down south. “There are some people who would just love to have a period,” the subtitling reads. “Let alone a happy one.” I, a person not usually known for her love of advertisements, think the commercial is actually pretty revolutionary. I mean, drag queens? In a commercial? And it’s not the Super Bowl and they’re not being mocked?
Other bloggers did not quite agree with me, calling the commercial “transphobic.” Keep reading »