“This beauty is fast and easy.” “She’s expensive but worth it.” “Ride her hard and then get a new one.” Is this a sexist male talking about his female lover, or about his luxury sports car? BMW would like consumers to equate the image of a “hot” young female with their “hot” new vehicle. This ad (which features a handsome, forty-something male making love to a woman whose head is covered with a photo of a red sports car) clearly objectifies and devalues women. The faceless woman lacks an identity and is exchangeable for any other woman or object in the man’s life. The line that runs across the ad: “The ultimate attraction,” reinforces the devaluation of women by implying that they are a compromise. Research has shown that objectifying a person into an “it” is the first step towards violence, and Hooks cautions the objectification of women is endemic to our “rape culture.” Unfortunately, there are signs that women are starting to objectify men. This may especially be the case for successful white women who are focused more on career advancement than a committed relationship (see the article about Penn hook up culture: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/fashion/sex-on-campus-she-can-play-that-game-too.html).
People from a lower socioeconomic level may view the ad as disturbing because it suggests that people with money (both males and females) tend to objectify others. Although mutual objectification in heterosexual relationships appears to reflect sexual equality, it is a dangerous interactional pattern that can lead to social alienation and a profound sense of loneliness for both sexes, regardless of their material success.
Hooks, Bell. Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. New York: Routledge, 1994. Print.
Taylor, Kate. “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too.” Www.nytimes.com. New York Times, 12 July 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.