On Tuesday we posted on the Dustin Hoffman video that's gone viral, in which Hoffman reveals the moment during the making of Tootsie that he realized how he and men in general look at women. That our society teaches that women are supposed to be sexy, and if they aren't, they are less valuable. The above video demonstrates that same point. First by showing how women in advertising are hypersexualized, a point we need to be reminded of because it’s so obvious that it is easy to forget. The next move made by the video is to show how women are often literally equated with objects, with the most egregious example coming in an image of a man and a woman getting it on in bed…but the woman’s face is replaced by a picture of a car.
The idea, of course, is to translate the sexual desires that everyone feels into the desire for products that no one needs. It’s a tried and true marketing tactic, but one that has clear gender roles: women are the object of desire, men the taker of that object. Ads that show that relationship are ubiquitous, and are targeted at both genders.
But what happens when you switch the roles? In the final part of this video, ads are reversed so that men are the sexual objects and women the dominant ones. Instead of sexy and dramatic, it just looks silly. All the questions that one ought to be asking about the normal ads pop into one’s head when you see the gender switches. Why are they in that position? Why would a guy want to have sex when you give him a box of tools? Why is that naked guy draped in sunglasses and handbags?
Of course, it’s not enough to point this stuff out, and say, yeah, that’s bad, companies should stop doing that. We have to stop buying what they are selling until they switch to less offensive marketing.