Exhibit A: Durex
Where to start? Well, first of all, the word choice here tips us off to a few things: Men are controlled by their erections, and women are made up of fruits and contentment and everything nice (oh, and we love giving head). Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with some good ol’ fashioned consensual oral sex, but this ad is taking a consensual act and de-leveling (un-leveling?) the playing field by attempting to provide us with the subjects’ innermost thoughts. Now we can see, even if things look pretty equal, that the woman’s “luscious and dainty” brain is inferior to the man’s “judgment and knowledge” (located in his crotch). Um, at least they’re using a condom?
Exhibit B: France’s Anti-Smoking Ad
As Melissa at Shakesville points out, this ad is more than just a misguided attempt to equate smoking with oral sex – it is also a depiction of blatant sexual assault. The models (clearly quite young, so we’re looking at statutory rape here at best) are being told by the text that smoking turns you into a slave. Presumably in the same way that they are depicted as “sex slaves” in this image? Gérard Audureau, the president of Droits des Non-fumeurs (creator of the campaign), defends the ad by saying, “Using sex is a way to get [young people’s] attention. And if it’s necessary to shock, let’s shock.” This image goes way beyond “shock,” and when it comes to young people (or any people), forced oral sex should not be used as a scare tactic.
G: Don’t be mad…It’s just that it’s small…
G: I don’t know if I can go there.
B: I consider this a spot of worship. It may be small, but it’s brought the driest places to life. Baby, this is paradise. [camera pans to show map of Israel and tourist guidebooks covering boy’s crotch].
G: OK, but if I go down there for you, you have to promise you’ll down south for me next winter.
Hey potential male tourists! Traveling to Israel is just as good as getting a blow job! And you won’t even have to go down on your girlfriend until next winter! Jokes about oral sex on small penises are always hilarious, especially when they’re used to promote potentially life-changing spiritual pilgrimages.
Blow Job Wrap Up:
OK, so we might not be looking at a future where all advertising will feature blow jobs. But! Three recent campaigns are choosing to take the blow-jobs-are-edgy-and-will-get-us-attention route, and that is three to many judging from the ways in which they’ve gone about it. Sexism? Check. Grotesque depiction of sexual assault? Check. Schlocky jokes about small penises and the horrors of cunnilingus? Check. Focusing on male sexual satisfaction only? Check. (Although, to be fair, the Durex campaign includes an image of the couple having penetrative sex where the woman is having an orgasm, but the focus is still on the guy’s junk.)
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that these ads all coming to our attention at the same time is just a coincidence, and not evidence of a new and unwelcome trend in “sexy” advertising. Because that would really suck.