Friday, October 29, 2010

Optical Delusion

As has been discussed previously, I'm currently attending post-secondary. The majority of classes are fantastic, but some leave a little to be desired in the form of moderation. My Anthropology class, sex and gender, has become somewhat of a feminist circle where we mostly just sit around being appalled at how mean men were and how enlightened women are now. Most days I just enjoy it; it's a little drama to add to an otherwise pedestrian day, and gives me a bit of a giggle to see how outrageous we have become in our persecution of the other sex.

Today was no exception; we discussed sexism in advertising. It is true that going back even a few decades produces scads of horrifically hilarious sexist adverts, with women being portrayed as air-headed house-fraus beholden to their master and craving sex almost constantly.

When we move forward in time, however, sexism runs to both sexes, to the point that everyone's being objectified, and it's rather hard to, well, object, since it's so damn equal. But object we did. We dug and delved and read-too-far until we were thoroughly scandalized, and I chuckled to myself over the length we would go to just to feel downtrodden.

We separated into groups at this point, where we were supposed to compare advertisements we had brought in, and compare to what extent they dealt with sexism and gender issues. (I neglected to bring one, fool that I am, so perhaps I have no right to feel the way I did upon the succeeding incident) I ganged up with the two girls next to me (I claimed them by right of Dowling's proximity rule) and we spread out the two sheets they had brought. One was unfortunately quite banal, showing men and women in equal poses, suggestive, and nude, advertising jeans; we would be hard pressed to make a good contribution of this, since it was pretty much just sexy people looking, well, sexy. The other page was so sexist as to be downright confusing. (I tried to find them online to no success, maybe I'll trawl through the original page later and bring them on)
One showed a nude Katie Holmes, sprawled over a couch, butt in the air, with the caption, "Choir Boy", and I was mystified. She obviously was not a boy; what the heck were they trying to say?
The other was a Porsche against a skyline, with a ruler drawn above it and the caption; "It makes your penis feel this much bigger", and I thought, 'At last, truth in advertising.' My hopes were dashed, however, when I noticed the subtle watermark on the bottom; ""
I love something awful, I really do, and their photoshop skills are unmatched, but it was obvious these ads were faked, and expertly enough that when I pointed  it out to my group-mates, they insisted I was wrong. I pointed out that SA did excellent work, almost indistinguishable from the real thing, but it was obviously a joke.
The girl covered the text with her hand and insisted the ad was still offensive, but there's really nothing offensive about a car on a skyline, I'm afraid. I tactfully suggested I would bring in some for the next class, but the whole incident had me laughing once I left the room. How ridiculous! Worse if we had stood in front of everyone and tried to pass it off as a legitimate ad.

I have much to thank for feminism, without it, I would likely not even be in a position to argue with my fellow students, but we've evolved to a new form of feminism, and we can not use the old standards to judge sexism. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, it's just no longer institutionalized, and most sexist ads won't get the green light anymore, not to forget that we can now constructively evaluate these messages; as women I know I have other options, and that it's not "right" that I should stay in the kitchen all my life (I can if I want to, however).
We really do get preposterous sometimes so just remember:

No comments: