My friend showed me this ad specifically to discuss in my blog post this week. Besides being incredibly graphic, this ad hows that a picture is worth a thousand words and more because of the fact that the ad is not in English and I, by no means, understand German. The ad shows a naked women performing (what looks like) fellatio on a naked man. The moaning sounds, coming from both parties, indicate that they are both mutually satisfied by their sexual encounter. A few seconds later, a bottle of Sprite is shown bursting in the place of where a man’s penis would be. While the subtitle reads “I could really go for a Sprite right now,” I really did not pay attention to this until the second time I watched the video.
This ad poses a problem for several reasons. One, I did not know what was being sold for the first 20 seconds of this 35 second ad. I would never think that Sprite was what was being sold because of the sexually explicit nature of the ad and the lack of correlation that sex has with Sprite, in my opinion. Naked bodies are used as agencies through which advertisements are being sold regardless of product. Secondly, this ad reminded me of many of the music videos pervasive on television today which connote and denote the inferiority of women in the sex and gender hierarchy. Men in music videos are shown using water as a tool of eroticization and women are lured in by water and consequently, never say no to men. The positioning of bodies also emphasizes this hierarchy. A women is the one who is giving pleasure to a man and even though nothing is being done to her, she also expresses pleasure in their sexual act. This further supported the idea of this hierarchy because a woman’s sole role in this ad is to be sexually available for a man and she enjoys it just as much as a man, despite nothing being done to her directly. Having the Sprite explode on the woman’s face resembles the way in which a man might climax on a woman which has a pornographic connotation as well as the implication that this is what women enjoy, judging by the smiling face she exhibits afterwards. While I agree with the idea that sex sells, I think this is taking it too far.
I love Scotch, it’s my favorite alcoholic beverage. Give me a good 25 year-old single barrel and I’m in heaven. Unfortunately, Johnny Walker Red doesn’t go down smooth, in this ad, or in real life. Johnny Walker Red taste like gasoline and wood chips. I don’t know who would give this to a woman other than some pervy cheapskate trying to get them drunk. Suggestive advertising is a common strategy used by companies around the world. This allows the ad to overtly appeal to the readers love of Christmas with a hint of sexual undertone. Two messages in one advertisement is double the bang for the advertising buck. Unfortunately the message being sent here is buy our Scotch and she will give you sex. The true undertone is that of getting a girl wasted for your own sexual gratification. So if you want to give the gift of Johnny Walker this Christmas remember; Green, Gold, or Blue Label for the one you love. If you go for the cheap Red, you might find yourself drinking alone sexually frustrated.
“You want a hot body, you better work. You want a Maserati, you better work.” Britney Spears’s new song Work Bitch is a new wave of controversy. The lyrics are all about putting in work to make it to the fast-lane lifestyle. The video has sexual outfits and scenes alluding to racy behavior. The music video certainly got the UK’s attention, being banned within a week. Fox news reported that it is a “stab at her own gender.”
However, is the meaning of the song empowering?
Susan Bordo believes “Today, however, the well-muscled body has become a cultural icon; working out is a glamorized and sexualized yuppie activity.” Heather Locklear, a promoter for Bally Matrix Fitness Centre believes “ You exercise, you diet, and you can do anything you want.” I agree. I think that the song in general is inspiring. The sexualization is a bit much in the music video but the overall message works. Being physically fit and a woman can feel very empowering. Having the ability to do certain things and achieve goals such as earning a large salary, or losing weight is evidence of success. The song lyrics encourage the listener to work hard because things such as these can be achieved if the listener is willing to put in that work.
Bordo also believes that “the body has become a symbol of correct attitude. It means that one cares about oneself and how one appears to others, suggesting willpower, energy, control over infantile impulse, the ability to shape your life.” I could not agree more. Society has centered success around appearance, and as unfortunate as it may be, it is the truth.
Bordo, Susan. The Slender Body. https://genderandsociety2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/bordo-reading-the-slender-body.pdf.
When it comes to sex, safety and consent are two of the most basic (and most crucial) responsibilities. However, as Rachel Kramer Bussel points out, if one wants to have a fulfilling sex life, our responsibilities do not end there. In fact, she claims, “it’s our duty to ourselves and our partners to get more vocal about asking for what we want in bed, as well as sharing what we don’t” (Bussel 46). Doing so can lead us to more satisfaction, and allow us to avoid potential regret or shame. While some may think sex is something trivial to take so seriously, I think Kramer’s ideas on expanding beyond simple, legal consent to enthusiastic and informed decisions about sex are central to a fulfilling life. We are responsible for knowing what makes us happy and healthy and and what does not, and this very much includes our sexual experiences.
Rachel Kramer Bussel, “Beyond Yes or No: Consent as Sexual Process” (2008)
Consent is easy to define as a notion, but is sometimes difficult to understand and respect in practice. Consent can mean verbal permission, but can also encompass more than simply yes or no. In Yes Means Yes, Rachel Kramer Bussel argues for a higher standard of consent. Specifically, she contends that it does not suffice to only know whether or not your partner wants to engage in sexual intercourse, but consent must include an understanding of why and what kind of sex.
Having a serious discussion about consent is important. In a society that, according to Bell Hooks, condones and celebrates rape, setting boundaries helps to safeguard individual autonomy. These boundaries, however, become nebulous when different communities define consent in different ways. Recently, Antioch College adopted a rule that defines consent in a highly explicit way. Although consent defined as a formality may sometimes serve to set clearer guidelines and prevent unwanted sexual encounters, I would make the case that it is generally harmful.
First and foremost, arguing for a more explicit version of consent reduces consent to verbal permission. This approach fails to account for the subtle nuances for which Kramer Bussel argues. As opposed to advocating for such a strict policy as this one, Antioch should have adopted a policy that compels students to openly share their sexual expectations during sexual encounters. Secondly, a policy of soliciting explicit consent sterilizes the sexual process, an experience that ought to be organic and enjoyable.
Hooks, Bell. “Seduced By Violence No More.” Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. New York: Routledge, 1994. N. pag. Print.
Rachel Kramer Bussel. “Beyond Yes or No: Consent as Sexual Process.” From Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. Seal Press: New York, 2008.
We have seen music videos that present inequality between men and women; women are fragmented, oversexualized creatures whose sole purpose is to please the dominant male artists. Men have the freedom in music videos to exert power over women, and it is simply assumed that women enjoy it. The reality, however, can be quite different. It is our responsibility to separate what we see in music videos with how we act in everyday relationships. Mutual consent is the key to successful and respectful relationships. Our job is to understand that consent “should encompass more than yes or no,” and that “silence is not consent.” We are responsible for communicating to our partners what we do and do not want, and we should ask them to share their feelings as well. Consent is not passive; we should not allow ourselves or our partner to simply see how far we can go, or do what we like without asking about our actions. Unlike the fantasy of music videos, actual male/female relationships need the female to say what she likes too, instead of only the male taking charge without discussion. When everyone in the relationship takes responsibility to speak honestly about their desires, respect any instance when a partner says no, and ultimately treat each other as more than just their bodies, then it will be easier to put distance between the sexism in music videos and sex in the bedroom.
Bussel, Rachel. “Beyond Yes or No: Consent as a Sexual Process.” Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & a World without Rape. By Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2008. N. pag. Print.
Biologically, men are stronger and produce more testosterone than women. In terms of sporting events there are men’s championships and women’s championships. Throughout history, men have always taken the powerful leadership positions. Today, there has not even been one United States president that is a woman. Whether it is the media, entertainment, or generally our society, women are perceived as the lesser sex.
The song “Macho Man” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO43p2Wqc08) really says it all. In Anzaldua’s artice he supports that the word “macho” was a result of hierarchical dominance of males and came from oppression, poverty, and low self-esteem. This term is derived from “machismo” meaning strong and able to protect women. At the time, it almost portrayed that women were so inferior that there was something wrong with them.
“You’re nothing but a woman means you are defective” (Anzaldua, 83).
Do you think society is doing enough to even out the reputations of each sex? Will there be a female president soon? Are you too now singing the Macho Man song in your head?