Margaret M. sent us this commercial she recently saw on TV in Budapest. It’s for an ice cream bar called Maxi King, and I think it’s not stretching to say that the ice cream bar is a stand-in for the guy’s penis:
The placement of the container she takes it out of, her sexy look, the shot of the ice cream with the white center and the caramel goo…yeah, that’s a penis. And the commercial is playing on the stereotype that Black men are particularly well-endowed. Massive satisfaction!
In both cases, Black men’s sexuality is fetishized for White audiences. They represent a fantasy of exotic, hypersexual, and sexually-gifted Black men. While the stereotype could appear positive — after all, they’re presented as desirable sexual partners — the flip side is that Black men are thus also often presented as more animalistic and sexually aggressive than White men, a stereotype that has been used against them time and time again.
And as we see in the second commercial, representing a fantasy means you are interesting because of that fantasy, not because of who you are. When the man failed to live up to the woman’s fantasy, not only did she no longer find him attractive, she and her friend found the situation laughable…because you certainly wouldn’t want to sleep with, or even date, a Black man from Shropshire. If he’s not an exotic sexual fantasy, what’s the point?
UPDATE: Reader Carlo says,
I took the joke in the second commercial to be on the woman. She allowed her race based assessment of the man as an exotic other to make a fool of her when the man proved to be just like her (from somewhere local). Even though this commercial is obviously playing on recognized stereotypes (women find exotic men attractive), it sort of points out the ridiculousness of those assumptions. In the end, her friend is laughing at her for being, essentially, that daft white audience that equates blackness with the exotic.
For another take on fetishizing Black men, see our post on male sex workers in the Caribbean.Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.