Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008


a toner cartridge exploded on me yesterday. luckily i was wearing glasses, otherwise i might be blind in my right eye. and my pants are now magenta.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

they love the gulyas

we've had a cold snap. someone told me it's the coldest it's been in portland in 30 years. we actually had a snow day at work. it's not supposed to snow here. the result has been much movie watching and hot chocolate. spatzel stew is very popular in my house these days.

i've also been introduced to veronica mars, which turns out is a pretty good show. bonus points for the theme song being the dandy warhol's we used to be friends, which is both thematically appropriate and a great pop song (though, it maybe sticks in your head a little to easily).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

my fellow marketeers, or why i hate being in a marketing department

Alex Leo posted, what seemed to me to be, fairly reasonable remarks about sexist trends in advertising:
This was a big year for women: The first serious female presidential candidate, the first predominately female state senate, the first female Top Chef. Yet the advertising world has not caught up to the advances of half our population and continues to use stereotypes and violence to prey on our most vile desires. Here are the worst of them--the trends that won't die despite our cultural outrage, and personal boredom.

continue reading...
I was appalled, though not surprised, at some of the hateful responses readers posted. While I don't agree with all of Alex's analysis regarding the ads in question, I do agree with her overall point. I got into it a little bit with some of the commenters on the site, which I know is an exercise in futility. But sometimes it's fun to argue. Anyway, I've cut and pasted the exchange below. I get kind of high-horse-y in places, but if you read some of the earlier comments before my post, you might have a better understanding of why I ended up with that tone. (Parental units, please note that there's some harsh language used here.)

Flushy McBucketpants said...

i think a number of you are missing the point of what this post is about. (or maybe i am?)

it seems to me that this post isn't in opposition to sex in advertising. it's against perpetuating what should, at this point, be outdated and unacceptable modes of thinking about women—the idea that women are sex objects and should be subservient, that their reason for being is to please men.

the post's author does not complain about ad campaigns like the one that Dove ran not too long ago featuring "real" women in their underwear or the Marithe & Francois Girbaud take on Da Vinci's last supper (, which are both sexy, eye-catching, and tasteful.

just as there would be an outcry if there was an ad-campaign depicting people in blackface, people should be upset when women are treated like sex toys.

it is offensive. and in this case it's also dehumanizing.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

furthermore, regardless of the narrative that the viewer places on these images, they all have a clear subtext. You may not see the Dolce & Gabbana ad as as explicitly a gang rape scene, but it would be hard not to see it as an image depicting male dominance—a man appears to be holding a woman down while a group of other men look on without any of them showing a hint of misgiving. she's just an object for them to take advantage of.

the BMW ad is sexualizing a model with a very young features. while the model may in real life be of age, that does not seem to be what they are hoping to depict. and it doesn't excuse what seems to be an endorsement of pedophilia.

as for the LAMB ad, maybe there are societies where getting jizzed in the face is a noble deed to be trumpeted and applauded—the last ceremonial act before being crowned queen (or king) of all the land. but generally in the US, at least, it's considered somewhat degrading, and is often nothing more than the climax of male power fantasies.

for those of you that have the urge to defend these ads. stop and think if for a second. are you in favor of perpetuating male dominance? should children be portrayed as sex objects? were women put on this planet with the sole purpose of pleasing men?

i like beautiful, naked people. i like sexy ads. i don't like these ads.

David Kendall said...

Flashy, your post confirms that we each view an ad through our own eyes, bringing to it what we want to bring.

Now, I'm not trying to defend or attack the ads -- in a country where there's freedom of expression, even in advertising, you can't stop people from depicting whatever they think will sell their product -- unless you stop buying the product. But my point is sex sells, so they use it.

If you're objecting to the "objectification" of women, ANY ad does that. It then becomes a question of degree. I mean, you can't have "beautiful, naked people" and "sexy ads" without objectifying the subjects in the ad. A naked girl advertising soda is still naked, still an object of desire (supposedly), and is still being used to hawk a product, whether she's standing in the street, sitting on a bench, or lying on a bed with a guy.

The same is true about a beautiful girl, in tight jeans and a t-shirt, hawking the same soda. You're attracted to the girl, and then you notice the soda.

Same with the ads for men's cologne on tv -- you see guys with 6-pack abs playing soccer, and then you're told about the product. ALL advertising with models is objectifying the subjects for the sake of the product (unless the ad is simply a picture of the product). And ads that depict pseudo-rape, or purported "pedophilia" are simply pushing the envelope as far as they can before they alienate the consumers to the point where they won't buy the product.

As I mentioned before, the ads are not going to create the desire in people to rape, or stalk children, or act like sluts. They may attact people with those predipositions to the product, which is the point of advertising, but they don't cause the problem, and they don't perpetuate it. They feed on a pre-existing attitude for the sake of sales.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

David—I agree with you that all understanding is subjective. However, I wasn't intending for my argument to be about personal perception or semantics, but rather about social perception, social norms, values, and morals.

I do not believe that men will go running about gang-raping women upon viewing the Dolce & Gabbana ad. However, I do believe that images like that both reflect and help perpetuate patriarchal tendencies. When images like that are presented as a selling point instead of in a critical light, it only reinforces those kinds of gender roles whether you're interested in participating in a dominant–submissive relationship, or whether you're just interested in socially interacting with the opposite sex. We see the effects of male dominated society everywhere, from the gender split in classroom participation, to who runs the country (politically and economically), to the picture people imagine when they think of the words scientist and homemaker.

If I had a daughter I wouldn't want her bombarded by images of submissive, subservient women whose value lies in their ability to get men sexually aroused.

Objectifying people for beauty and objectifying people for sex are two different things (though there is often crossover). But it's not simply a matter of objectification. It's also an issue of respect for women and general decency. I may sound like some pro-censorship conservative whack-o, but I don't believe I am. I just want the people making these ads to be more judicious in their representation of people. I don't know why that's such a difficult thing to accomplish.

MarcWPhoto said...


Re: I just want the people making these ads to be more judicious in their representation of people. I don't know why that's such a difficult thing to accomplish.

It's not difficult to accomplish. However, the people who make ads are not being paid to do what you think they should do. They are being paid to do what their clients ask, which is to get people to buy their clients' goods and services. If your way worked better, they would do that.

If your way does work better and they won't do it, the obvious answer is for you to open your own ad agency and laugh all the way to the bank.


Flushy McBucketpants said...

Marc, I understand that people are paid to do this. But I'm pretty sure I gave a couple examples (Dove's "Real Women" campaign and the Marithe & Francois Girbaud Last Supper of ad) in one of my comments above that successfully used sex and beauty but in less dangerous ways.

Just because one way works doesn't mean another way doesn't. And just because one works doesn't mean it should be used. Company's use bribery and espionage all the time to turn a larger profit and get ahead of their competitors, that doesn't make that kind of behavior good.

Just because one type of ad helps generate profit doesn't mean that (a) it also doesn't have detrimental effects and (b) there aren't other ads that would work just as well without the negative effects.

Frankly, this type of advertising (e.g., the D&G ad) is not just morally reprehensible in many ways, but it's also unimaginative and lazy.

Yes, it's the ad agency's job to give the client what it wants, but somehow I doubt that the client asked for an ad that could be construed as representing gang-rape.

MarcWPhoto said...

The difference being, bribery and corporate espionage are against the law. :)

If D&G shared your opinion about the ad, they could have just not used it. Since they are a billion-dollar fashion icon and you are, well, Flushy McBucketpants, I am not yet convinced that they are idiots and you are superior in your evaluation of what sells and what doesn't.

If it makes you feel any better, the ads have been banned in some countries and the US will doubtless follow in their progressive footsteps at some point. Eventually you will win.


Flushy McBucketpants said...

It does not make me feel better that these ads are banned. That's not really what I'm looking for.

I am looking for some compassion and consideration, some respect for fellow humans.

When these kinds of ads are the outliers, it's not so much of a problem. We can look at them and say, "Wow. That's provocative." When these ads are the norm, they prove to be both reflections of society's accepted norms and also buttress those cultural standards.

I think promoting misogyny is wrong, whether it helps you earn money or not. That many people appear not to care about our society accepting and promoting misogyny just shows how heartless those people are.

Obviously this upsets me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


wordpress is nice, but for some reason they make embedding things like video a pain in the ass. also, i do like not having to pay for the privilege of altering my html and css when i want. as such, i've come crawling back to blogger begging for forgiveness.

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muxtape in all its original freewheeling glory was killed by the RIAA, but there are a couple websites vying to be legit replacements. one of them is 8tracks.