Feeding the Macho Appetite
Nothing turns a man on like a “hot” woman cooking in the kitchen, and nothing sells a man’s deodorant like the fantasy of female servitude. This tasteless ad for Lynx deodorant (which features a shapely twenty-something female, cooking dinner while dressed in lingerie) objectifies women and reinforces domestic inequality. Like the turkey that she is preparing, the woman’s life is devalued, and she exists merely to satisfy a man’s appetite. The accompanying text: “Can she make you lose control?” reinforces the desirability of women whose sole purpose is to serve. As a final touch, the ad’s retro styling cleverly reminds men of an era that predates the Women’s Movement, when a woman’s place was in the home, and a man’s home was his “castle.”
This ad features the type of gender stereotyping and sexist attitudes that have perpetuated a patriarchal system in the home. Belkin notes that women have made progress in the workplace, but still shoulder the majority of domestic responsibilities (4). As implied by Lynx, some men are not only oblivious to this unfairness, but find the power differential to be a “turn on.”
Although the ad has been effective in boosting sales, it is primarily geared towards white heteronormative males and has limited appeal to specific segments of the population. From the perspective of an African American male, the image of servitude may be a distasteful reminder of the master-slave dynamic and trigger repulsion rather than attraction. When seen through the eyes of a homosexual female, the sexual intent of this ad may be confusing. Since domestic responsibilities are shared more equally in same-sex couples (Belkin 13), doing housework is routine for both partners and unlikely to be perceived as sexually “hot.”
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” The New York Times 15 June 2008: 1-15. Print.