Xavier M. sent us a link to this print ad, which he saw in a Belgian men’s magazine, that uses sex to encourage organ donation (found here).
Text: “Becoming a donor is probably your only chance to get inside her.”
There are some interesting implications here about why we engage in altruism and who is deserving of that altruism.
See also similar posts on PETA (see here and here) and human rights violations in Burma.
At AdFreak, I discovered that Sea Monkeys are being used to sell sex. Sure enough:
NEW (Mar. ’10)! Christina W. sent in this ad campaign for French cheeses using a pin-up calendar:
The video is a backstage look at a sexy calendar photo shoot for…cheese:
NEW (Jun. ’10)! Stephanie DeH. sent in this lovely CPR instructional video (which also got its own post):
ALSO NEW (Jun. ’10)! Lindsey Dale, at Nobody, collected the following ads selling, with sex, archery, a laser detector, tea, and coffee:Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
eallen — November 13, 2008
Not relevant to the message, but I think there might be some Photoshop Disasters going on with this woman. Torso looks awfully short and arms look awfully small.
Vidya — November 13, 2008
Glad you mention 'who is deserving of that altruism'. It's been pretty well established that the lives of people considered to be attractive are more highly valued in Western societies than are those who do not fit these narrow ideals.
The model's low body weight is significant in this case, as many/most transplant centres will refuse to operate on people over a certain weight threshold, as they maintain that organs should go to those who will have the best 'quality of life' -- even when there is no indication that a patient's weight is or will become a quality-of-life issue. Fat people are often simply refused placement on transplant waiting lists unless they 'lose the weight' (a biological/metabolic impossibility in most cases).
Vidya — November 13, 2008
Also, there are interesting parallels to be explored in the way organ transplantation contributes to thinking about and treating bodies and parts as exchangeable commodities rather than holistic entities, and the way that this ad invokes sexualization of women's bodies to do the same.
Bagelsan — November 13, 2008
Also a bit ironic, 'cause apparently heart-transplants (and perhaps other organs as well) work better when done between two people of the same sex. But I guess a picture of a half-naked young man sprawled over the couch, while more accurate, would have a narrower appeal? :p
rrsafety — November 13, 2008
Vidya: Invididuals who are obese are sometime refused a spot on the waitlist not because of "Western society values" (give me a break) but because transplant surgeons are morally bound to maximize the use of each donated organ. Transplanting that organ into the obese who have much poorer outcomes makes little sense when there are equally sick individuals in better health who are more likely not to "waste" the organ.
Bagelsan: Organs do not "work better" between people of the same sex. The deciding factor is body size. For instance, a young teen boy can donate to a petite woman and vice versa. A petitie woman's heart transpanted into a large man however, won't have the pumping power. Body size - not sex - is what provides for better outcomes.
Message to the Guys: Donating Your Organs is Almost Like Sex : The Curvature — November 14, 2008
[...] This ad promoting organ donation appeared in a Belgian men’s magazine. [...]
Hoyden About Town — November 15, 2008
[...] quite a lot of chat around the femiblogosphere about this ad for organ donation, spotted at Sociological Images. (See also The Curvature, Feministe, the [...]
Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Does this make you want to become an organ donor? — November 15, 2008
[...] Via. [...]
Jeremy — November 22, 2008
You stupid putz! Its no Photoshop disaster. Is your depth perception shot to hell from so much acid use? Its a photo taken with her sitting back in what looks like a limo seat. Get a grip. Nothing wrong with the photo.
jd-professional photographer, photoshop expert for over 10 years.
Roulette Systems — November 23, 2008
Simple, but very effective advertising.
jess — February 22, 2009
I agree that this is definitely photoshopped. you can tell because the pixels are all wrong. I've seen plenty of 'shops in my day...
Sociological Images » “SEX SELLS” — March 2, 2009
[...] examples include these posts with ads promoting organ donation, an air conditioning technical school, selling pasta, vegetarianism, aviation, cars, war, travel, [...]
What We’ve Been Up To Behind Your Back (August 2009) » Sociological Images — September 1, 2009
[...] Sea Monkeys! We added new ads for sea monkeys to our post on heteronormativity and a new collection we’re starting on ads that use sex to sell the most unlikely things. [...]
Del Monte says: Get Naked, But Be Insecure About Your Ass » Sociological Images — March 24, 2010
[...] the theme of selling everything with sex, I present Del Monte’s “fruit undressed” campaign. First I saw this along the [...]
Sociological Images Update (Mar. 2010) » Sociological Images — April 1, 2010
[...] W. sent us another great contribution to our post: selling the most unlikely things with sex! It started with organ donation, but this addition involves [...]
How to Make Medical Supplies Hot » Sociological Images — June 21, 2010
[...] H., Elisabeth R., Violet S., Rose B., and two anonymous tipsters sent us another great example of the use of women’s sexualized bodies to sell the darndest of things. This time… medical supplies. A selection of [...]
Selling CPR with Sex (NSFW, Trigger Warning) » Sociological Images — July 6, 2010
[...] certification campaign that embraces the idea that sex sells. I initially added it to our post on using sex to sell unlikely things (e.g., organ donation and sea monkeys), but I changed my mind and decided it deserved its own [...]
moonbathing « Pulsations — July 24, 2010
[...] is it that the media and advertising surround us by sex, but we cannot seem to have candid and intelligent discussions about it? Why is watching murder [...]
adrenalectomized — July 25, 2010
I feel nauseous after seeing that first ad...
Lullabee — May 2, 2011
Sea Monkeys are being used to sell sex.
I also think it's kind of interesting how the sea monkey's legs are the only part of her that looks sexualized. They didn't really make her look particularly like any adult human woman I've ever seen, particularly not the sort you'd usually see in an ad that's trying to use sex. She's got a flat, scaly chest and a round, rosy little belly, and her hair seems to be on upside-down. I guess her face is supposed to be sort of sexy/flirtatious, in a cartoony kind of way, because she's winking and she has big, pink, exaggerated lips, but to me, the torso sort of throws it off because she's shaped like a chubby child.
Blix — July 22, 2011
How sad and pathetic these are! We are so caught up in selling, yet so lazy about it that we resort to disgusting/ demoralizing kneejerk reactions to do so.
Anonymous — November 18, 2011
The other aspect of dehumanising women with these ads is how they are completely erased as an audience. Most of the products in this are not ones we usually consider specifically for males, yet the female half of the customer base is nowhere in sight.
You sometimes even see this in advertisements that are supposedly aimed at women, like most ads for underwear.
Jinx J — November 18, 2011
Okay, the phone ad scares me...it looks like her nipples are scary fingers...which in turn sounds like a bad Syfy weekly movie-- BOOBFINGERS: The Revenge
Rjjspesh — November 24, 2011
Is it 'sex' that sells here- or female body conformity?
Laura Lee — May 14, 2013
Actually, I doubt these ads are effective. I suspect that the people who look at them are distracted by the women and don't even register the product.