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contradictions: women as sexy robots / women as natural nurturers

After seeing these Svedka ads, I had to share these finds from the Condé Nast travel magazine I was reading in a waiting room the other day (yes, I ripped them out). They're from the same issue of the same magazine.

First, we have another Svedka ad:

And we have an ad for Citibank's "Women & Co." that describes women as "natural investors" investing "our time, energy and love with the proficiency of experts."
So which is it for women? How do women negotiate these contradictory expectations?

Illustrating Gender as Performance

Andrea G. in Switzerland snapped these pictures of an ad campaign for TerraSuisse natural agriculture. Their tagline translates as "TerraSuisse guarantees natural Swiss agriculture." They might be useful for a discussion of doing gender (West and colleagues) or gender as performativity (Butler). As Andrea S. noted, it's obvious instantly that the bird is supposed to be female and the chipmunk (ferret?) male by their pose alone.

Posed like a chick:

Posed like a dude:

They might, also, be a nice contrast to this one for which a gender is not immediately apparent (to me... but who knows in Switzerland):

Thanks Andrea!

The Miley Cyrus scandal

Sarah S. pointed us to a blog post by Bluemilk about the recent outcry over 15-year-old Miley Cyrus in this month's Vanity Fair (below) and the more general sexualization of little girls.

Bluemilk calls out Abercrombie and Fitch, Fred Bare, and, elsewhere, Bratz Dolls.

Abercrombie and Fitch marketed a pair of thong underwear that says "wink wink" and "eye candy" to ten-year-olds. The product was pulled after protests:

Fred Bare's summer collection includes a slide show with many images of little girls hinting at a sexuality utterly inappropriate for their ages:

And Bratz Dolls, well, are Bratz Dolls:

(found here)

(found here)

Halloween costumes too (found here):

I think it's interesting that the Miley Cyrus cover is getting so much negative press, when these other instances include girls who are so much younger. Thoughts?

Thanks to both Sarah S. and Bluemilk!

Also in the sexualization of young girls.

Svedka Ad: Sexy Female Robots

Larry H., from over at The Daily Mirror, sent these Svedka ads along. They have weird sexualized female robots in them.

I don't know what this even means:

I wonder if Tom Cruise knows about this one:

This fembot's boobs are rather drastically out of proportion to the rest of her body:

Thanks, Larry!

Barack, Hillary, and Obama on the WWE

These Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lookalikes took part in a WWE Raw match on Monday. John McCain and Bill Clinton lookalikes were also there. All three actual candidates taped a message for the show:

This could be useful for a discussion about the effort to appeal to the much-discussed blue-collar voter. The WWE crowd--and probably the need to appear "non-elitist"--has become so important that every candidate felt it necessary to take part in this.

Also, Barack Obama just wasn't funny. I'm just sayin'.

Thanks to Larry H. from The Daily Mirror (an L.A. Times blog) for sending this one along!


American Evaluation of Various religions and atheism

This table, a Gallup Poll, reveals the attitudes (positive, neutral, negative) or various religions and atheism (click table to enlarge). What pops as most interesting to me is the fact that, on average, even after 911 and the demonization of Islam, Americans hate athiests more than Muslims. What's most interesting to you?

Found at Total Drek.

Illustrating Polysemy And Advertisers influence

Miguel E. sent us these interesting images and text. They may help illustrate the notion of polysemy and the importance of how our interpretation of images is influenced by copy.

Thanks Miguel! Found here.

Blatant Sexist Anti-Hillary Clinton Product at popular store

You may have seen this Hillary Clinton nutcracker around, but did you know they are selling it at the super popular Urban Outfitters?

Analiese M. said that when she "ran across this item in Urban Outfitters online store... [she] emptied [her] shopping cart." Awesome, Analiese!

More sexism and racism in the 2008 elections: sexist anti-Hillary propaganda, comparing sexism and racism, and "How do we beat the bitch?"


Gee, Thanks Kentucky Fried Chicken

Julie C. caught this assumptive KFC ad:

As Julie says: "Because, of course, only moms cook..." Thanks Julie C!

Also in women are responsible for cooking and cleaning: a commercial montage, Italian dye ad with a twist, women love to clean, homes of the future, what's for dinner, honey?, liberation through quick meals, and my husband's an ass.


Mental Illness and Stigma

Alicia T. sent us this promotional material for "Psycho Teddy." I can't tell if it's an actual stuffed bear, a cartoon character (see video below from youtube and purchase the ring tone if you so desire), or both.


We’re letting our Pulse members in on the latest craze… he’s cute, he’s cuddly, he’s a great dancer, but he is also insane… don’t call him at a bad time, or you may trigger a psychotic episode!

Apart from that, he really is a very sociable, well traveled, well connected Teddy, who is storming up the charts and fast becoming the world’s favorite bear.
I think he goes psycho about 1/3rd of the way in. Enjoy!

Thanks Alicia T!

Also in mental illness: kipnapping ads get pulled after protests.

Conservative T-Shirts

These t-shirts are all available here. The site has the following definition:

Presumably the fact that I'm posting these means I don't understand humor. Of course, these could also be useful for a discussion of what is "funny" and who gets to decide that.

Liberals are emasculated sissies; conservatives are real men:

Torture is funny:

So is lynching:

Some about guns:

Thanks to Breck C. for sending us the link!

Male Bodies in Interior Design Magazine Ads

I thought these two images were interesting because they are using sexualized images of men in a magazine called Metropolitan Home. It struck me at first because it's pretty unusual to find sexualized male bodies used in ads targeting a general audience that might include straight men. Then I started thinking--maybe the fact that it's in an interior design magazine means advertisers assume the readership is mostly female or, if male, gay, so there is little fear of offending straight men with these types of ads.


Hearts of Fire Diamond Ring Ad

The smaller text says,

Every hearts on fire diamond is cut and polished at 100% magnification to guarantee a life of intensity.

I honestly don't know what we're supposed to get out of this--that buying this ring will bring so much passion and "intensity" to your relationship (by setting your "hearts on fire") that there will be no reason to stray? That buying her a ring will turn her on so much that the sex will be fantastic enough to satisfy him? I really don't know.

From Metropolitan Home.

Fair and Lovely Skin-Lightening Cream Ad

This Indian ad, for Fair and Lovely Ayurvedic "natural fairness" cream, makes it clear that lighter skin is more beautiful. The woman can't get a job at first; notice how she is also dressed in a sari. After her father gets her some Fair and Lovely, we see the stages of her lightening. She then goes back to the store--now wearing Western-style business clothes, like the women who previously rejected her--and gets a job. She also attracts the attention of a light-skinned man. Next we see her new, glamorous life.

So light skin = modernity = beauty = success at work and in love.

Fair and Lovely also has a line of skin lighteners for men called Menz Active. The Fair and Lovely Foundation also awards college scholarships. And provides career advice.

Here's an interesting video where Indian Americans discuss skin tone and respond to the Fair and Lovely ad:

Random fact: the company that owns Fair and Lovely, Hindustan Unilever, is owned (the majority stake, anyway) by Unilever, owner of brands including Dove and Axe.

Thanks to Chris H. for sending this one in!


Horribly Misguided Anti-Animal-Cruelty PSA Uses Images of Domestic Violence

Stumblng Tumblr sent along this PSA from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, along with this comment:

I am confident that the animal-protection video to which I've linked in this
post...will astonish you.

Indeed it did.

Thanks, ST!

Theorizing Feminism and its discontents

This photo art by Sarah Maple might be useful for starting a conversation about what feminism is and isn't (and is and isn't), who has control of such definitions (seems like Rush Limbaugh has had quite an impact), and what's so scary about it:

Thanks to lawgeek for the tip!

the social constructedness of social groups

The way in which we divide ourselves in society, the differences that we make salient, the social groups that we invent and label are all social constructions. What makes all things masculine hang together (beer, hunting, being a CEO, eschewing baths), except that they are all things we identify as masculine? What makes limited government and the Defense of Marriage Act seem related, except that we place them both on the right side of the political spectrum? And what makes brains the opposite of beauty, except our insistence that it is so?

The videos on this website for Edina Realty, sent to us by Stacy B., capitalize on our taken-for-granted beliefs about difference of several different kinds by pairing unlikely pairs. They might be useful for illustrating the existence of these divisions and starting a conversation about the social constructedness of social groups.

Here's two examples from youtube:

Thanks Stacy!

"Class Is Forever" Rolex Ad

I found this Rolex ad in Metropolitan Home magazine. Pair with this ad series that plays on the idea of "generations" of class. Or this ad for Patek Philippe ads, also using the generations theme. Then compare to this Acura ad that ridicules "trust-fund," old-money types. It could also lead to an interesting discussion about the ways in which we use the word "class" both as an economic group and as a personal characteristic (i.e., "She has class") and the way "classiness" is here turned into something you can buy for yourself.

Even Post-It Ads Have Sex in Them

Oh, honestly.

So you can use a Post-it to help you remember the name of your one-night stand. Apparently Jade either has a better memory or doesn't care to know the guy's name.

Thanks to Ivaylo S. from Bulgaria for sending this one in! He found it here.

Old Money Is Old-Fashioned: Acura Ad

I found this ad in Rolling Stone and thought it was an interesting take on class. The text at the top says:

This isn't trust-fund luxury. This is start-up, do-it-yourself, this is gonna be the next big thing luxury. A new generation has arrived.

At the bottom it says:

Introducing the all-new Acura TSX. Forget silver-haired luxury. This is modern, i-VTEC, ELS Surround Sound luxury. Luxury that innovates, with features like the most advanced on-screen weather information and alerts. And luxury that thrills, with an aggressive new body style, a re-tuned engine, and a sport-minded suspension. The TSX with Technology Package. It's luxury for a whole new generation. See it at acura.com.

So they're playing on the idea of the self-made man--he creates the "next big thing," he "innovates." And he's young and "modern." And "aggressive." All in contrast to those who inherit wealth, who are "silver-haired" and, presumably, not aggressive or brave enough for this car. This could be useful for a discussion of social class, in particular the old-money/new-money divide, as well as different ideas of masculinity.



I hear around the blog-o-sphere that we are "depressing" and "increase blood pressure."

Ah ha, I say! Something we like!

Behold a Skittles ad that problematizes the idea of stereotypes in a hilarious and tasty way:

Find more videos like this on AdGabber

Actually, I tried those skittles when I was visiting Gwen. Not exactly tasty. Gwen concurred.

Nonetheless, well done Skittles! (The commercial, not the candy.)

Map of Child Well-Being Rankings

The Every Child Matters Education Fund has an interactive map that allows you to click on a state and see where it ranks in terms of several indicators of child well-being.

Keys To The VIP

Here is a clip from the Canadian TV show "Keys to the VIP":

Laura K., who sent the link to us, says:

I recently came home from work to find my boyfriend watching "Keys to the
VIP" and was fairly disgusted. It is a Canadian TV show wherein two men "battle"
to seduce women. The men are sent to a bar and compete in various games to try
to secure a woman's phone number within a set time limit. There is sports-style
commentary by four "pick up experts". The men lie, flatter, do anything to get
these girls' phone numbers. I thought it would tie in with the Hunting for Bambi post because women are depicted as challenges and conquests.

Thanks, Laura!

Take Their Money And Run

We here at Sociological Images have been less-than-positive about efforts by companies to co-opt activism by linking the purchase of their products to (tiny) donations (see here, here, here, and here). For an alternative to the typical strategy, see this really awesome South African commercial announcing a collaboration between Samsung and POWA (People Opposing Woman Abuse). It might make a nice illustration of how such collaborations could be different.

Thanks to Marinus for sending this along!