Stinky Sexism

“The world is facing one of the biggest crises in the history of history,” says an older man in a setting that resembles a TED Talk, “Girls are getting hotter and hotter.” Well, so much for educational.

This recent Axe commercial goes on to say that the increasing “hotness” of women has become a danger to men. By describing women as “hot,” an adjective that refers solely to physical characteristics, Axe is not only objectifying women to sell its product but also enforcing socially determined standards of beauty and femininity.

The commercial continues to show men in “danger,” getting hit by cars or falling over as an attractive woman walks by, implying that a woman’s appearance can cause a man to lose control of his actions. The acting here may be slapstick, but the message borders on victim blaming, a truly dangerous concept. What is most concerning about the commercial, however, is that it is telling the target audience, teenage boys, that the attitudes expressed here are acceptable and even expected.

While Axe clearly meant for this commercial to be funny, I can only describe it in the same way I describe the scent of their products: gross.

One thought on “Stinky Sexism

  1. virseymour

    This commercial drives me crazy! This reminds me of the film archetype, the femme fatale. To shamelessly borrow from wikipedia, a femme fatale is “a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous and deadly situations.” Apparently (I read this on, arguably the most absurd website ever created), men can’t resist a dominant woman that will ultimately be the dudes downfall… or whatever. This archetype frustrates me SO much because it puts women in positions of power, but this archetype is full of unhinged women (see: Glen Close in Fatal Attraction) and the foil (see: Kim Novak in Vertigo, even though she’s awesome) or even villain to the main character who is usually just some poor dude that falls under this nefarious woman’s spell. It seems like even now (I’ll admit, my examples aren’t exactly this year’s blockbusters) a woman in a film or even a commercial like this can be a badass in charge without being fetishized as a dangerous sexual object that men can’t (but want to) control.


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