Please accept this newest edition of violence is sexy, courtesy of Lisa R. The promo below, designed to advertise two shows about female murderers (Deadly Women and Wicked Attraction), sexualizes murder. The narration goes:
In the heat of summer, temperatures rise, passions erupt, and sometimes, things… turn… deadly.
They “erupt.” Get it? Get it!?
The thing is, these are stories about real women who actually murdered people. Lisa writes:
…the crimes they’re talking about on these shows are not all sex-related, and I’m just going to go out on a limb and say none of them are sexy, either. The only reason I can even fathom for a promo like this is just the notion that women are sex personified, like the green M&M. Even committing horrible, gruesome murders can’t change that.
In other words, if women are involved, best to sexify. If a man murders a man, it’s just violence. But if a man murders a woman or a woman murders a man, it’s sexy, sexy violence. If a woman murders a woman, will the murder be sexualized? I bet it would.
This calls into question the idea that we sexualize violence against women because we find pleasure in harming her. Instead, maybe we sexualize violence against women simply because we sexualize women.
Also in random, bizarre things sold with sex, see our post on using sex to sell the most unlikely things.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.