Don’t be stupid, protect yourself. – Condomshop.com

In a marketing scheme to deliver more “creative” ads, Condomshop.com delivered with some questionable interpretations of safe sex. In the following ads, two situations showcase a group of guys, armed with their phallic symbols and protective equipment, at a crossfire in roles historically portrayed by only men. In both groups, there is one man not just fully engaged in the action but also, fully naked. Both ads illustrate the cry of wisdom: “Don’t be stupid, protect yourself.” At first glimpse, this ad seems harmless. It appears to be endorsing the use of condoms in what is implied heterosexual intercourse (following a long pattern of heteronormative advertisements where men use their phallic either as weapons or hoses).  However, as creative the ads may be, they showcase certain implicit problems.  As Judith Lorber summarizes, “As a social institution, gender is a process of creating distinguishable social statuses for the assignment of rights and responsibilities. “ Lorber reminds us that the problem is endogenous with their use of gender. The destructive nature of the gender binary is rooted in its very function- not just consequence- in assigning roles to both men and women in an unjust hierarchy. First, we see that women are absent in both situations. This implicitly infers a few things: the counterfactual (i.e. if a naked woman filed up behind other men…) would be deemed inappropriate or, Lord forbid, inconceivable for the public because, as this and other ads show, only men can fit these roles (and can be naked in public advertisements with their chest in display). In other words, the ad is unaware of its own less-than-ideal vision of women or anyone fitting outside their heterosexual mold. Only heterosexual men can fit these roles!, the ads shout-unaware, that variability in safe sex can be just as “creative” as those performing it.

 

YeooYeo1

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