Lotion is socially constructed as feminine in the U.S. and so some men, attempting to avoid the prevailing insults of our time — gay, fag, bitch, pussy, douche,girl, and woman – are disinclined to use it.
You know who you are, guys.
Sunscreen is a category of lotion and so putting on sunscreen is equivalent to admitting you’re the sun’s bitch. Men are supposed to let the sun bake their face into a tough, craggy masculinity that says “yeah, I go outdoors and, when I do, I don’t give a shit.”
In her now-classic books The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Pornography of Meat, Carol Adams analyzes similarities in the presentation of meat products (or the animals they come from) and women’s bodies.
She particularly draws attention to sexualized fragmentation — the presentation of body parts of animals in ways similar to sexualized poses of women — and what she terms “anthropornography,” or connecting the eating of animals to the sex industry. For an example of anthropornography, Adams presents this “turkey hooker” cooking utensil:
Adams also discusses the conflation of meat/animals and women–while women are often treated as “pieces of meat,” meat products are often posed in sexualized ways or in clothing associated with women. The next eleven images come from Adams’s website:
For a more in-depth, theoretical discussion of the connections between patriarchy, gender inequality, and literal consumption of meat and symbolic consumption of women, we highly encourage you to check out Adams’s website.
This type of imagery has by no means disappeared, so we’ve amassed quite a collection of our own here at Sociological Images.
IndianFeminist sent in this example from India for a Mango flavored drink called Slice. “The brand ambassador,” our reader writes, “is Katrina Kaif, undoubtedly India’s most popular actress.” The ad puts her inside the bottle and merges her with the liquid, then offers her as a date.
An ad I found for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter turns Spraychel into a female politician:
Blanca pointed us to Skinny Cow ice cream, which uses this sexualized image of a cow (who also has a measuring tape around her waist to emphasize that she’s skinny):
Mustard and ketchup make up a “sexy” woman (from Las Vegas Living):
Are you hungry for some lovin’, er, lunchin’? Do you have an all-American appetite for chick(en)s? Or are you secretly ravenous for pig? We think we might have just the thing to satisfy your lust for breast, thigh, and rump:
Amanda C. sent in this sign seen at Taste of Chicago:
Dmitiriy T.M. sent us this perplexing Hardee’s French Dip “commercial.” It’s basically three minutes of models pretending like dressing up as French maids for Hardees and pouting at the camera while holding a sandwich is a good gig:
Dmitriy also sent us this photo of Sweet Taters in New Orleans:
Jacqueline R. sent in this commercial for Birds Eye salmon fish sticks:
Crystal J. pointed out that a Vegas restaurant is using these images from the 1968 No More Miss America protest in advertisements currently running in the UNLV campus newspaper, the Rebel Yell. Here’s a photo from the protest:
@zeyneparsel and Stephanie S. both sent in a link to a new craze in China: peach panties. I totally made the craze part up — I have no idea about that — but the peach panties are real and there is a patent pending.
I thought they were a great excuse to make a new Pinterest board featuring examples of marketing that uses sex to sell decidely unsexy — or truly sex-irrelevant — things. It’s called Sexy What!? and I describe it as follows:
This board is a collection of totally random stuff being made weirdly and unnecessarily sexual by marketers who — I’m gonna say it — have run out of ideas.
My favorites are the ads for organ donation, hearing aids, CPR, and sea monkeys. Enjoy!
Ten women marched in defiance of the stigma against women smoking cigarettes as part of the New York Easter Day Parade in 1929. The interesting thing was, however, it was all a sham. The tobacco industry had set the whole thing up with the help of public relations mastermind, Edward Bernays. American Tobacco Company President George Hill knew cigarette sales would skyrocket if more U.S. women smoked, a behavior reserved for men in the 1920s that had closed off the female market.
Within one year of Bernay’s stint, women were smoking.
Today, similarly, Japanese fast-food has found a way to bypass the cultural stigmas that impede their profits. One food chain noticed many women would not buy their biggest-sized burgers. The culprit was ochobo, a Japanese custom that prevents women from opening their mouth widely in public. Small mouths are considered beautiful and opening them widely is considered “ugly” and “rude.” The restaurant concluded that it would get into the business of “freeing women from the spell of ‘ochobo.’”
The burger chain invented a wrapper that would allow women to open their mouths larger, but not be seen: theliberation wrapper. It is a profitable tactic touted as a cultural solution.
You can watch them introduce the wrapper in this short video:
The liberation wrapper was welcomed in Japanese media and social networks, spreading its popularity. Similarly, Bernay’s public relation’s stint in 1929 garnered much of its success from the media hype that ensued then.
The approach has produced results. Sales of the Japanese chain’s biggest burgers jumped 213% after the wrappers were made because they allowed the burgers to become “socially available” to women.
Of course, the irony is that the burger chain’s “solution” isn’t actually liberating women. By hiding the deviation behind a paper mask, it is actually reinforcing Ochobo. After all, the social reality remains — it is not acceptable for Japanese women to display an open mouth in public.
Michael Lozano is a graduate of CSULB’s Sociology Honors program and frequent contributor to NewAmericaMedia.org and VoiceWaves.org, a hyper-local news site based in Long Beach, CA.
by Marci Cottingham PhD, Jun 26, 2014, at 09:00 am
While there has been significant attention to recruiting women into STEM fields, what about the converse – recruiting men to female-dominated fields? My recent article in Gender & Society analyzes the recruitment strategies of key health care players, examining themes of masculinity in text, speech, and images.
Some recruitment items, like this early poster from the Virginia Partnership for Nursing, asked viewers “Are you man enough to be a nurse?” Aspects of hegemonic masculinity — characteristics associated with being the culturally defined “ideal man” — are common themes in the poster, including sports, military service, risk-taking, and an emotionally-reserved demeanor:
Since the “Are You Man Enough?” campaign in the early 2000’s, nurse leaders have tried to make recruitment messages less ostensibly gendered. In discussing the American Assembly for Men in Nursing’s (AAMN) new campaign, Don Anderson notes:
Nursing recruitment efforts needed to evolve from asking men if they were masculine enough to be a nurse to something less gender specific
Despite the effort to “de-genderify” nursing (Anderson’s word), masculinity is still front and center. Though the slogan is different, materials continue to emphasize culturally idealized forms of masculinity. One of the AAMN’s newest posters, “Adrenaline Rush,” avoids the “man enough” rhetoric, but maintains the theme of a stoic, emotionally-detached masculinity through visual cues. Most of the nurse’s face is covered – limiting emotional expression—while risk-taking is emphasized.
But not all recruitment materials employ a macho form of masculinity. Johnson & Johnson’s 30-second clip “Name Game” portrays a caring and emotionally competent nurse:
Key health care players, including an international organization (Johnson & Johnson), urban hospital systems, nursing programs, and organizations like the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) have devoted resources to recruiting men into nursing. Analyzing their recruitment strategies reveals as much about contemporary tensions within masculinity as it does about the profession’s push for gender diversity.
Check out more of the recruitment materials and a more in-depth analysis in the article, “Recruiting Men, Constructing Manhood: How Health Care Organizations Mobilize Masculinities as Nursing Recruitment Strategy.” For a free copy, contact me at email@example.com.
Marci Cottingham is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Akron. Her research spans issues of gender, emotion, health, and healthcare. For more on her work, visit her site.
Earlier this year, Barbie posed for Sports Illustrated, triggering a round of eye-rolling and exasperation among those who care about the self-esteem and overall mental health of girls and women.
Barbie replied with the hashtag #unapologetic, arguing in an — I’m gonna guess, ghostwritten — essay that posing in the notoriously sexist swimsuit issue was her way of proving that girls could do anything they wanted to do. It was a bizarre appropriation of feminist logic alongside a skewering of a feminist strawwoman that went something along the lines of “don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful.”
Barbie is so often condemned as the problem and Mattel, perhaps tired of playing her endless defender, finally just went with: “How dare you judge her.” It was a bold and bizarre marketing move. The company had her embrace her villain persona, while simultaneously shaming the feminists who judged her. It gave us all a little bit of whiplash and I thought it quite obnoxious.
But then I came across Tiffany Gholar’s new illustrated book, The Doll Project. Gholar’s work suggests that perhaps we’ve been too quick to portray Barbie as simply a source of young women’s self-esteem issues and disordered eating. We imagine, after all, that she gleefully flaunts her physical perfection in the face of us lesser women. In this way, Mattel may be onto something; it isn’t just her appearance, but her seemingly endless confidence and, yes, failure to apologize, that sets us off.
But, maybe we’re wrong about Barbie?
What if Barbie is just as insecure as the rest of us? This is the possibility explored in The Doll Project. Using a mini diet book and scale actually sold by Mattel in the 1960s, Gholar re-imagines fashion dolls as victims of the media imperative to be thin. What if Barbie is a victim, too?
Excerpted with permission:
Forgive me for joining Mattel and Gholar in personifying this doll, but I enjoyed thinking through this reimagining of Barbie. It reminded me that even those among us who are privileged to be able to conform to conventions of attractiveness are often suffering. Sometimes even the most “perfect” of us look in the mirror and see nothing but imperfection. We’re all in this together.