The AXE Effect

AXE, a deodorant for men, is notorious for it’s advertisements that consistently cast multitudes of attractive women seduced and fighting for one man’s attention. The company labels this so-called phenomenon “The AXE effect”. Time and time again Axe portrays women as brute desperate women that exist for the sole purpose of pleasing men. This particular Axe ad shows hundreds of thousands of women running animalistically through rainforests or swimming wildly through the ocean in order to reach this one man bathing himself in the deodorant. Furthermore, this Axe add uses various hackneyed techniques found not only in other ads but also other forms of media such as music videos to sell it’s product. These techniques include provocative clothing, camera angles, wet bodies, and fragmentation to objectify and sexualize the women. As noted in the documentary titled “Dreamworlds 3” music videos use these technics to appeal to the pornographic imagination. This “pornographic imagination” offers a very narrow view of women in which women are portrayed as hypersexualized, perpetually aroused and objects of desire. They exist only to be looked at, as if on display. The techniques described earlier all cater to this imagination and thus dehumanize and objectify women. The parallels between this ad and both music videos and pornography demonstrate the extent to which this narrow view of women is embedded in society. To deconstruct these views, these images need to be eliminated or broaden to show women as multifaceted humans not just objects of desire.

Dreamworlds 3. Dir. Sult Jhaley. N.d. Film.


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