The ads may be attention-grabbing but is it acceptable to use images of subservient men to flog products? Yes, says Voodoo's Kate Hann.Of course if we reverse the genders in this ad we clearly have sexism and some will also cry misogyny. Some feminists have this habit to argue that women can´t be sexist towards men.
"A lot of women love [the ads]," she says. "I think every woman would like to have a selection of men available to them. It was not meant to be demeaning or sexist. It's done in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
Voodoo campaigns have always been about the Voodoo women being strong, confident and in control." - From the Sydney Morning Herald
Thus feminists reject the notion that women can be sexist towards men because women lack the institutional power that men have. - From finallyfeminism101So what is an feminist reaction to such an ad?
Portraying women as sex objects is much more dangerous than doing the same to men, says feminist commentator Eva Cox, who lectures at the University of Technology, Sydney.
"You can't always apply the same gender analysis," she says. "Objectifying women on its own is not a problem. But part of the problem is that it feeds into the idea that women are just there to be f---ed."
"[The ad] is actually sort of spoofing something and putting women into a dominatrix position. But, apart from giving the odd bloke a slightly uncomfortable feeling from looking at it, do we really need to get our knickers in a knot?
"[Objectification] doesn't feed into men being raped, which is the main issue with women being objectified." - From the Sydney Morning Herald
Interestingly there seems to be no gender difference when it comes to the effects of objectifying:
To say "[Objectification] doesn't feed into men being raped, which is the main issue with women being objectified." is unfounded and simply a lie. Pornography that leads to "male-centered objectification of women" (quoting some feminists here) has not lead to more rapes.
Effects of Sexually Objectifying Media on Self-Objectification and Body Surveillance in Undergraduates: Results of Two-Year Panel Study
Sexual Objectification: A surprising finding in this study was the lack of a gender difference in this relationship. This is consistent with experimental evidence that has shown that self-objectification can be primed in both men and women (Fredrickson et al., 1998; Roberts & Gettman, 2004); thus, this study adds that the long-term influence of media on self-objectification is also applicable to both men and women.
This study suggests that there is relative gender equity in the media’s ability to socialize people to self-objectify. In fact, judging that exposure to sexually objectifying television and magazines at year 1 increased body surveillance at year 2 for men but not for women, one might conclude that the media’s ability to increase body surveillance was stronger for men than for women. One possible explanation for this surprising gender difference is that for women, body monitoring is normative and thus not as susceptible to influence by media exposure as it is for men. Indeed, because body-monitoring activities are considered deeply socialized components of femininity (McKinley & Hyde, 1996), it might be more influenced by interpersonal sources, such as friends, family, and significant others. Although exposure to sexually objectifying television enhanced trait SO for both men and women, the stronger effect of media exposure for men was on body surveillance. - from allacademic.com
Contrariwise some researches have concluded that there is an inverse relationship between an increased availability of pornography and a decrease in sexual crime. Since 1973, a time where there was not much pornography available compared to today, rape has diminished in frequency by some 85 percent:
according to the National Crime Victimization Surveys of the U.S. DoJ.
The hypocrisy of Ms Cox can hardly be overseen. I ask myself if "objectifying" women "apart from giving the odd woman a slightly uncomfortable feeling from looking at it, do we really need to get our knickers in a knot" about it? No not really....that would be sexist.