Dead Men Don’t Answer Back

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Blogging, Fashion, metrosexuality, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I have been involved in a discussion about objectification, with feminists at the blog cited above.

The feminist blogger has presented the subject as being about objectification of women, particularly in advertising. I have tried to open up the debate to consider the objectification of men in visual culture, as well.  Some of the mainly women feminist commenters have resisted my arguments, but others have taken them on board.

You can read the discussion yourselves. But I was looking for some more images and I found the one I have posted here. I often find models in fashion and other adverts to be corpse-like. It is almost as if advertisers have finally given up pretending they are living things and present them as the commodities they are. Or is it that culture is dead itself, so nobody would recognise a human actor anymore anyway? I don’t know. But this image stood out because the woman is in a dominant pose and active, and it is the man who looks like he could be dead. And as if she might have killed him?

Anyway, of all the comments on the post about objectification in advertising I found this one the most apt, from a man (I think):

‘Think of the French Connection campaign which had dull-witted young hipsters parading around town with the misspelled word fuck emblazoned on their chests. Controversy! Defiance of accepted norms! They just lap this stuff up…

I don’t think the advertising industry or the people who staff it hate women, or love women any more than they hate or love anybody or anything. They’re just supremely indifferent to anything other than the bottom line.’

  1. Gs says:

    I read the “Advertising misogyny” blog and am, mostly, disinterested in the rants. Between the conflicting moralities of; freedom of expression, artistic liberty, pornography, and freedom of sexual choice etc., I’m happy not to add more confusion to my life.

    However. . .

    I will say, I view most of what’s termed ‘objectification’ as submissiveness portrayed. Admittedly, portrayed to titillate; afterall, this is advertising not the Museum of Modern Art.

    If you notice, the women in the blog photos are all of submissive poses. The one and only one which is not is the girl who rejects the male reader by not going down. Thus, the only strong willed girl, who decides not to go down, is the one nobody wants.

    So, as you said, advertising is designed to sell. Either the current ‘sex sells’ fad is submissiveness or advertisers are trying to create a fad of submissiveness. I’m more likely to think advertisers are selling to what we want, not trying to create something misogynistic.

    • I think you are right, Gs- it is to do with ‘the gaze’ I think. when we look at someone in an ‘erotic’ way (which is the way we look at adverts on the whole- they are exploiting our desire) we are looking at them as a passive or submissive figure.

      So men in adverts are passive too. But because of that great, nebulous thing called ‘gender’, there is a difference between an objectified, ‘submissive’ male body and an objectified submissive ‘female body’…

      • elflojo84 says:

        “But because of that great, nebulous thing called ‘gender’, there is a difference between an objectified, ‘submissive’ male body and an objectified submissive ‘female body’…”

        So you keep saying, but I still don’t really see it. I see that individual women are more likely to react negatively to someone else being photographed and looked at in a tittilating way [nb I try not to use the word ‘objectified’ because I disagree with the whole concept…] than are individual men; but in two given situations of a woman being viewed like this and a man being viewed like this, I don’t see a fundamental difference, either in the subject of the photo or the viewer.

        I did despair slightly at Cath’s response to your “sporno” link – her instant reaction was that this was for the “male gaze”, not even dismissing the notion that pictures of naked, rippling male torsos were primarily of erotic interest to straight women but apparently not even considering it!

  2. maybe if you read Marks ‘sporno’ essay elflojo it might give some sense of what I am saying…

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