While some bodies are socially-defined as For Display, others are defined as embarrassing or disgusting. Indigo and Artemis sent in a great example of these distinctions being reinforced. This series of billboards appeared in The Netherlands with the tagline “The Sooner You Advertise Here, the Better”:
The billboard humorously advertises the billboards availability for advertising, a clever version of “Your Ad Here.” It does so, of course, by suggesting that the model’s body is so repulsive that the threat of simply seeing it should be enough to make us reach for our wallets. While cultural beliefs about who is and isn’t attractive are often framed as biological or evolutionary, it can’t be denied that, at least in this case, we are receiving a strong social message as well.
Via Copyranter and The Daily Dish.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.
Jihad Punk — June 9, 2011
yeah, haha. Sooo funny to see a big guy taking his clothes off.
Casey — June 9, 2011
Fuck you guys.
Vinny — June 9, 2011
All they need to do now is add some lipstick or a wig to the guy, then they could be sending a message about body size and gender-non-conformity at the same time.
If you think about it, in a lot of popular movies larger bodies are used as comic material or portrayed as being very repulsive- and not simply fat=repulsive, but the larger characters non-physical attributes are presented as more repulsive.
Zee — June 9, 2011
Just for the record - good to remember this when people say stuff like "It's so hard because women have to have the perfect bodies etc etc but a man can be fat and nobody cares".
We are "receiving a strong social message" for sure, but that doesn't mean that social message didn't originate from something biological or evolutionary in the first place.
Yrro — June 9, 2011
I do find it amusing that a fat guy is more likely to be used comedically this way. You would never see a similar gag (where stripping is a threat) with a fat woman. Most gags involving a fat women involve the "joke" of one coming on to normal guy.
It is simultaneously ok for a fat guy to be shown acting confidently like this, and to laugh at him for doing so.
m Andrea — June 9, 2011
and yet in most of them he looks like he's having fun, which is very attractive. Apparently I'm supposed to be repulsed, but I love people who know how to have a good time no matter what else is going on.
holizz — June 9, 2011
I must say, this is the least-depressing comments thread on SocImg related to fat people in a long while. Are the fatphobic commenters all at the gym, (not) eating a salad while having weight loss surgery? According to them it's how you stay slim, so I assume they all do it too.
Gilbert Pinfold — June 9, 2011
Visual attractiveness is more important to men. This ad was probably conceived by a man. Maybe it was originally a large woman, but then changed for PC reasons. Now it sort of doesn't work. Or maybe it's meant to be ambiguous in the feelings evoked ('eew gross' versus 'lotsa lurv').
decius — June 9, 2011
How many people here want to avoid seeing the fifth iteration, the one that (I presume) isn't exemplified? The reason doesn't matter.
E — June 9, 2011
What does it tell us about the cultural messages surrounding age, too? Of course the fact that we live beyond reproductive years, at any size, really kind of throws the evo psych out the window.
Aoirthoir — June 9, 2011
WOW. WOW WOW WOW!
Once again ANOTHER fat-hate fail from socimages. So what socimages and so many commenters got out of this was that the ad was "suggesting that the model’s body is so repulsive that the threat of simply seeing it should be enough to make us reach for our wallets."??? REALLY??
As a fat man I didn't get that take on it AT ALL. The man is beautiful, smiling, he's NOT repulsive at all, NOR does the ad IMPLY he is. This ad isn't shaming we fat people, it is the RESPONSES to the ad.
If it were an image of someone YOU socimages considered attractive would you EVEN DARE FOR ONE SECOND to SUGGEST that the ad was suggesting the model's body is "so repulsive that..."? The ONLY way you can come to that kind of conclusion is if YOU feel the model's body is repulsive.
HE definitely does not feel his body is repulsive. As a man in a similar shape who LOVES the LOOK of my own body, ***I*** don't feel his body is repulsive.
I definitely did not feel the ad was saying "you better advertise soon or we're going to show his entire body and gross you out..." I had to look and look and I STILL don't see that as the message.
The message I got was, "alright time for a beat down, I'm a big strong strappin, handsom man and I'ma gona wail on you like the warriors of old (you know WHOM FOUGHT NUDE!). Now I would have found that problematic if it was not CLEARLY a joke that he's not ACTUALLY going to beat on anyone, he's not REALLY a warrior of old.
But NO, instead socimages and most of the comments have to immediately start into "the message is this man is disgusting..." which could ONLY be the message if YOU felt he was disgusting. I felt he was handsom as feck.
Nice fat-fail socimages. TWICE in one week. You're working on a record.
Aoirthoir — June 10, 2011
Some people seem to be missing a very important point. That point is:
You cannot use one ism to defend another ism.
When defending against fat hate we DO NOT need to resort to ableism.
Fat-hate is fat-hate and should be so labeled. It is not fat-phobia.
Persons with phobias do not deserve to be thrown under the bus and have their very real neuro-atypical experiences conflated with hate.
We would not insult people that were differently abled in other respects by labeling fat-hate as fat-lame or fat-retard or fat-dumb. Doing so would be UNACCEPTABLE. It is just as unacceptable to label fat-hate as fat-phobia. It's not a phobia it's a hate.
The same applies to any other use of -phobia and its time we STOPPED throwing persons with phobias under the bus.
eduardo — June 10, 2011
I found the ad amusing, and the guy in the picture looks like he’s having fun. Personally, I don’t find the ad degrading but I can see why some people would.
I’m willing to give the advertisers a pass, because they simply tap into existing attitudes. There’s a reason that sociologists and psychologists can also be found in advertising teams.
Moss — June 10, 2011
why is it ok to chastise smokers about their health but not the people who stuff their faces with food until their obese about THEIR health? i personally think americans need the social messages.
Tim — June 10, 2011
I think there are problematic aspects to this advert, sure, but I don't think socimages have hit on the best one with the fat-hate interpretation.
Traditional attitudes to male and female fatness are not the same (obviously). The male beer belly is a symbol of strength, appetite and self-reliance (because, of course, only unmanly men care about their appearance), and the idea that it is unhealthy and unattractive reinforces that self-reliance message. This model is clearly not supposed to be ashamed of his body.
I suspect the impact of the advert comes more from homophobia (men will have to see a naked man! oh no!) and possibly from rape culture (this man is going to expose himself to you, and there's nothing you can do about it, and he's loving your discomfort).
I appreciate the homophobia point may seem a stretch - obviously women will see this too - but the advert is aimed at advertising executives and company bosses, and I suspect most of those are still men.
Aoirthoir — June 10, 2011
"No, no, and no.
Identifying the intent of this ad tells us more about the advertisers. Identifying common stereotypes, tropes, and patterns does not signal that person's bias and prejudice."
Except Lisa didn't identify bias. She EXPOSED HER bias.
"It means that they know something about the world and how it works."
Or in some cases when they're not ACTUALLY IDENTIFYING bias, it means they know how to make things up. Then the peanut gallery will just be led around by the nose to agree out of hand with what they've said and NEVER critique the critique.
"You think that this is an example of the naked warrior motif. Good for you. Obviously you don't need to be told that you can respond to this in your own individual way."
Yeah cause I ACTUALLY know something about the world, history, the warrior motiff, fat men, and how all THAT works. Fat men are not repulsed typically by our fat, we typically LOVE LOVE LOVE it. So people like Lisa can reserve her fat hating "that's repuslive" comments to themselves.
"But I find it very, very hard to believe that that's what they were going for. I just don't think people would "get it" on that level."
Really? Well let's find out WHY you think that shall we?
"I bet that it you polled people about why this was funny, they'd reveal that that guy was ****gross****, and they don't want to see him naked."
Emphasis, mine. Fat-hate, yours.
See the only ones who think other people think this guy is gross, are the people WHO THEMSELVES think he is gross. SEVERAL OF US in these comments right here said plainly we think the man is attractive. Everyone one of us that felt the man was attractive HAD A DIFFERENT TAKE on the ad than Lisa and you with your fat-hate. If this were the same ad with Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Christina Hendrix or Johnny Depp, or other stereotypicallly beautiful persons, would Lisa have claimed the ad was meant to repulse us? Or more specifically if the ad featured a person SHE was attracted to? Or in this case YOU were attracted too?
If the answer is NO, which it IS, then we can ONLY CONCLUDE one thing. That those that claim THIS ad was meant to repulse, ARE THEMSELVES repulsed. You can be repulsed all you want. Fat men don't give a damned. It becomes fat hate when you start spewing it, and when you PROJECT YOUR REVULISION onto someone else.
"It's about the ability to try to think from the perspective of other people. That's what people here are doing. It doesn't make them fat-hating monsters. It shows a general awareness of the world."
Then they've made a HUGE fail here. Because they arent thinking from the perspective of other people, in fact the MAJORITY of people who would say this man is attractive. They are thinking from their own fat-hate filled world view. Hey, its ok if they don't like me. They can even say so. But lets keep it to words like "Im not attracted to fat men," rather than projecting "this ad is repulsive, see look **I** didn't say this man was repulsive the ad did..." even though you DID say this man was repulsive.
Sorry but neither you nor Lisa get a pass on this one. Fat-hate is fat-hate. And it's obvious fat hate at that.
"You think the ad is doing one thing. A lot of other people think it's doing something else."
Right. And what we think the ad is doing on either side is MORE TELLING ABOUT US, than it is about the ad.
"Go ahead and have you individual response... but if THIS MANY people think that it's about laughing at the fat guy, then on some level, that has to be true."
No not actually. And I never said it's not about laughter. I laughed because he is smiling and making funny faces. I, being a fat man of similar shape laughed WITH him, not AT him. My laughter was not based on revulsion but on comraderie. The laughter of MANY others is similar to mine. In fact MOST people aren't repulsed by the man.
"And it doesn't mean that they're the problem. It means that this ad is on some level, intentionally or not, encouraging it."
No actually it DOES mean they are the problem. The ONLY persons who see the ad as portrarying this man as repulsive are the people repulsed by him. TO A PERSON everyone of us that think the man is attractive, find the ad attractive and don't see it as promoting him being repulsive. So yeah, THEY are the problem NOT the ad.
Further the reason they are the problem is that none of you are taking the time to actually CRITIQUE YOUR OWN CRITIQUE. You say such NEGATIVE and OBJECTIONABLE things about a person and you DONT EVEN CONSIDER THE CONSEQUENCES to other people. When someone with low self esteem reads Lisa's words he's getting the message LOUD AND CLEAR< "lisa is repulsed by people like me..." Did she STOP AND THINK for one minute? COuld she have CHOSEN OTHER WORDS?
NOPE. Cause SHE doesn't HAVE to critique herself or think about the impact of HER words on people. She gets to do that to OTHER people.
So anon take your fat-hate and see this roll on my left side, this BEAUTIFUL ROLL? Put it right there and STOP IT.
Bagelsan — June 10, 2011
I firmly believe that Lisa is describing fat hate (or possibly just naked-middle-aged-man hate) here, rather than engaging in it herself. She doesn't say the model's body is repulsive, she says it is "socially-defined" and "suggest[ed]" to be repulsive. I myself can simultaneously find a body attractive and still acknowledge that I'm supposed to label it "unattractive" or the reverse. For example, supermodels: they are often much thinner than the average woman, and thinner than many people find ideal in a female body, but they are understood to be "beautiful" by society even if that doesn't match most individuals' personal preference. We all sort of agree to pretend they are the peak of model beauty.
The things we like and the things that we know society wants us to like (or pretends we like) are often really different. I think that many commenters have made it clear here that they would be totally okay with seeing more of this guy (free billboard beefcake? Yes please!) But the way the ad is phrased ignores this attraction -- if the advertisers thought we would want to see the next (naked!) billboard, then they would expect us not to pay them, and simply wait happily for them to keep filling the space. It's a follow-the-money conclusion: do the advertisers make money if the public decides we want to see this man naked? No! They make money only if the public decides to reject this man's naked body.
By saying in the ad “The Sooner You Advertise Here, the Better” they turn the slow striptease into a countdown -- telling the public to hurry up and advertise! And the only way to stop the striptease/countdown is to pay the advertisers, which implies that the countdown is to something bad (ie. the model becoming fully nude is "bad.")
Even though lots of people like the idea of seeing the model nude, the phrasing makes it clear that his stripping and eventual possible nudity is unattractive, and must be avoided. A naked (fat, middle-aged-ish?) man being nude is therefore framed as not something the public wants to see (even though the public maybe does want to see it!) It's like a reverse striptease; the goal is not to see more clothes come off, it's to pay to stop him taking more clothes off.
If the model were being socially defined as "attractive" the ad would not encourage us to prevent his nudity by buying the billboard space. Instead, the ad would read more like a typical porn site: "Want to see more? Buy this space!" or something like that. Because that would frame the nudity of the "attractive" body as desirable, which is how the public is supposed to treat it (no matter how much the public disagrees privately with the label.) Then the advertisers would expect people to say "well, I do want to see him naked! Let me pay you for that!" unlike here, where the advertisers expect a response of "NO I don't want to see him naked! Let me pay you to stop it!"
Aoirthoir — June 10, 2011
"Fear and hate are related. As are actions. Calling someone a fatophobe for actions that indicate a fear of fat people is not unfair to people who are pathologically afraid of fat people. Calling someone lame for limping is not ableist."
Occasionally fear and hate are related. Most of the time this claim is spurious. Very often hate is directed by those in power towards others. Very rarely are these persons who hate the other group in fear of the other group. Some contend that they fear losing their power to the other group. But this is actually a rare problem for in power groups. The in power group might make use of fear to encourage OTHERS to marginalize the other. But generally speaking that's about the extent of the relationship fear has to hate OF THIS NATURE.
Now if someone ACTUALLY has a pathological fear of fat people then that would be a phobia. It would be medically diagnosable and perhaps treatable. Persons with actual phobias generally AVOID anything related to their phobia. They typically are not seeking out ads about them, creating ads about them, or in other ways interacting with the subject of their phobia.
Assuming that a small subset of those that practice hate, also are actually fearful of the subject of their hate, we should still avoid throwing the neuro-atypical under the bus with our insistence that we should be able to call them a something-phobic continues to conflate phobias with hate. This creates a further stigmatization of those who suffer already enough at the hands of a society that marginalizes them in far too many ways, often stripping them of their rights. Giving more power to the phobic-haters is not something we should be doing. So even in those rare cases where someone might have a fear in addition to hate, it's untennable to call them phobic.
While I understand your reasoning that calling someone lame who is limping is not ableist, the exact opposite position has been claimed by many including those that are limping, or in wheel chairs. That is, that it is ableist. Calling someone retarded who is neuro-typically "slow" even though the word retard means slow, as in "to retard the spread of the oil we poured sand on it," is considered ableist. We'd certainly not say a sexist person is "retarded" we'd say they are sexist. We'd not say a racist is "race-dumb" we'd say they are racist. So we should not say those that hate homosexuals or fat people or this or that group are "phobics" but instead, label them for what they are, haters.
"I work in a hospital. People will smoke right outside the doors, despite signs which say it's illegal. This is actively harmful to people with pulmonary issues."
People also shouldn't play soccer in hospital halls. But playing it out of doors, well...
"Smokers can smoke in the privacy of their own space or other areas where they are allowed. Unfortunately, many ignore places where they shouldn't smoke."
I agree many do. If I ask you not to smoke in my car, I mean it. I won't poo in your car. It's a fair trade.
"Kids who are exposed to second hand smoke have far more respiratory illness than kids who aren't. Second hand smoke may or may not be harmful to adults, but it definitely is for children."
Kids? Or Kids who live with smoking parents or guardians? Cause that's a big difference. Many smokers smoke A LOT. Sure a house filled with smoke all of the time, I find it hard to deny that it cannot effect non-smokers health. But just passing by a smoker walking your dog, I'm dubious.
In any case, in none of this does mocking, insulting or trying to hurt the feelings of smokers help solve the problem. All it does is make them feel bad about themselves. People who feel bad about themselves rarely feel good about others. And so you get smokers who blow smoke in your face. So if we think it is wrong to insult some people, it's unfair for us to think it is ok to insult others.
"Actually, “obese” is a medical term based on BMI. BMI has its own flaws, including poor correlation with anything of medical significance."
Agreed. That's what I meant when I said "BMI is completely false..." It's a relatively new system for measuring obesity though and once they instituted it, millions of persons who were not obese, suddenly were.
Dan said (among other brilliant things):
"The irony here is that the model looks confident. Unaffected. If this guy heard everyone here arguing about whether he was “repulsive,” he’d probably tell most of you to find a better use for your time."
Right. Only a handful here think he is repulsive. And their projecting their revulsion onto the ad agency that ran the ad. I mean after all THEY could NEVER practice fat hate. The really telling thing here that demonstrates that I am correct is that they won't even take two minutes to analyze themselves. Instead it is "society".
Decius also said:
"Let’s look at what we mean by “fat”. I presume someone with a 1″ to 1 1/2″ layer of subdermal fat, so that a pinch test measures 2-3 inches."
Sure. Fat is just fat. I also have bones and hair. So saying I'm fat, by which it appears people mean I have a good covering of fat (that's certainly what I mean when I say "I'm fat") is just fine.
"I don’t know or care about the health implications of that characteristic, but find it an attractive quality in a partner."
Actually I do too. I like my lovers to be squishy. They can be however they choose of course and I still love them. But squishy is my "fetish". (Contrary to the comments otherwise stated).
"It ceases to be attractive to me when the presence of fat becomes a negative impact on hygiene."
Since I've gotten fat I do have to pay more attention to cleaning up. But of course when I worked in the trades I had to pay more attention as well. So would you say the two are congruous? That it's not really anything related to the fat, just the hygiene?
"The character portrayed appears fat enough to be comfortable and not so fat as to be disgusting."
Yeah exactly. That's what I keep saying. The agency is in no way trying to create revulsion in us. Those that see it that way well, as I said it says more about them than it does fat men, fat models, or this ad agency. They'll tell me to see it how OTHER people do. Yet they are the ones refusing to try to see it how those of us who are attracted to him see it.
"clearly even more unattractive and even dire to look at than the man."
To which Dan cleverly replied:
"Really? Clearly? Or are you just reading that into it?"
Well yeah. I mean think about it, the man IS unattractive to look at, DIRE to look at. I've not found him unattractive to look at or DIRE. I mean by the holy Gods DIRE??! And so now the woman is all this and MORE? So each time I read a response about his purported unnattractiveness, it needs to be followed with a "UNNATRACTIVE OR DIRE OR REVOLTING OR REPULSIVE TO ME and I am PROJECTING that feeling that I HAVE on EVERYONE ELSE, including 'society' and the ad agency. Cuase then I can EXCUSE myself, it wasnt ME that thought that, I'm critiquing THEM!" But, I say, how about those of you that keep on with these fat-hate terms, saying things like the man is repulsive or DIRE to look at, CRITIQUE YOURSELVES and ask yourselves why YOU PERSONALLY feel these images are revolting when they are actually BEAUTIFUL.
Bill Angel said:
"How one views this fellow can also depend on one’s preoccupations."
I’m a “straight” 63 year old male who struggles with controlling the skin disease of psoriasis. So to me, in the last shot of the sequence it is like he is visually bragging that he is totally free of such a skin disease."
For me he's got the physique I've been trying to get. In some respects I am there, but its a long battle for me. In your case it might be painful and I'm sorry you have to experience that. I too see him as bragging, entirely about what he looks like, physique, skin tone, girth, strength, all of that. In my case it's something I would like to aspire to.
Jay replied saying:
"This is true, and I don’t want to diminuish your position, but it’s not a common reading, Bill (whereas readings relating to sex, race, and physical appearance are approaching universality)."
Yes most likely. But the moment I read what Bill said, I concurred with him. As I said it's a warrior piece to me, quite obviously. And Bill's interpretation fits the braggart role of the warrior. Though his reading may not be common, this model is unique. And we should stop assuming (all of us) that what we're seeing is what a media creator created.
There was a great episode of Southpark about this. They got to read Catcher in the Rye and looked futility for the offensive content. Finding none they wrote their own. Everyone started interpreting it as meaning this or that. Pro-life, pro-choice, conservative...liberal and so on. It was a funny take on exploring the "hidden" meanings in art. Sometimes their just not there. Sometimes an attractive fat man with beautiful skin, is just that, not a message to be "revolted" by.
"I’m mildly disabled, and I used to be great at sports that required the use of my spine and functioning knees: I find a lot of billboards and commercials deeply painful…but would, in this forum, perhaps not start a long discussion unless actual disability were the issue."
Well I think there is one case of saying, this is how I FEEL about this. I personally never dismiss another's feelings or thoughts. It's when we do what some people commenting here and the original author do, of transfering or projecting our thoughts or feelings onto another. You MEANT this when you said THIS COMPLETELY OTHER THING over here. You THOUGHT this when you wrote this COMPLETELY OTHER thing.
So yeah if you were to tell me or others that this or that display made you feel a certain way, we'd listen. Sometimes it helps to get it out. You shouldn't be shamed for how you feel. Others shouldn't be shamed for their creations because of purported hidden meanings. Telling us what you feel isn't doing that.
"It’s like you’re not even speaking english any more."
I'm not. I'm speaking leftist.
Then Casey said:
"By the way, you know these marketers eat all this "controversy" stuff up, right?"
There is NO bad press.
"If you all were really offended and not just posturing to seem offended so you can support your self-image of yourselves as caring and open and sensitive,"
"then you'd simply ignore or destruct this ad."
Except if you really analyze what Lisa said and the others that hate this ad, their critique is really telling about how THEY PERSONALLY feela bout fat men, not what the ad agency intends. Remember in the case of the ad agency what they intended DOESN'T MATTER. But in the case of the leftists, well suddenly intent is all important. "I INTENDED to critique the ad agency, it doesn't matter that I ACTUALLY said something fathateful."
"The debate has vastly outstripped the content anyway. The reason it's on this website is as a comment on how we as a society might find it funny and to reflect on why. It's not (or at least it shouldn't be, though this site frequently fails in this aspect) to make or pass judgment on the advertisers or on the Netherlands or on people who find fat repulsive."
"By re-framing the debate into moral judgment, you do even more to create and demonstrate the culture behind those who label themselves (or have attained the degree of) sociologists. I know a lot more, for example, about how the individual people (and Lisa) feel about this set of images than I do about how people in the Netherlands view this set of images."
Exactly. The problem I have with these critiques isn't that the writer says, I SAW this and I FELT that. They say, I SAW this and the creator (agency, artist, corporation, individual etc) MEANT this, INTENDED that, THOUGHT this other thing, FELT this thing over here. That's complete transference.
I don't speak Morse Code. Can you repeat that in Gaeilge?
"It made me laugh for a second; but, then to think.:
I think I laughed b/c what society reinforces can be so absurd sometimes."
I laughed too, for completely different reasons. I didn't see any absurdity in the ad. I saw someone beautiful smiling and having fun and imitating strength and saying LOOK AT ME YOU! and all sorts of fun other things.
"I think it is sad that some people who have so much to offer the world are made to feel unattractive."
Agreed. It would help if when we critique media images like these we don't refer to models as repulsive or DIRE to look at. Yeah, that would help.
"I think it must have been fun for the fat guy to do these.
He must be laughing at at least three of the following:"
I think he had all sorts of fun with it. Most of the fat men I know LOVE showing off their bodies. I've hardly met any that are ashamed. And why should we be ashamed?
"I agree. I’m a straight guy, and I find those fun to look at. He looks like a dude who’d be fun to hang out with.
And am I the only one to think of Mark Addy in The Full Monte?"
Uh dude, yeah! And yeah I would totally hang out with this guy. He makes me want to get a fatman convention going. All of us walking around in towels. Which makes me think, maybe the people who should be critiquing these kinds of ads, should be the people living like the model in them. I mean we men walk around nude in our gyms no problem. We're just fine showing off our bodies in ALL OUR VARIOUS shapes. Thin, talk, fat, short, hairy, shaved, bald, you name it. It is true I've met SOME men that are unhappy with their bodies, but not many.
So yeah DT, let's get him and some others and have a stout.
To which Tree replied:
"i wasn’t, but now i am! i’m with you and M Andrea. these ads made me grin."
HOORAY! I am glad to see so many people who have a positive take on this model and the ads. It's been really refreshing to see all of yall come out in force and reject the negative imagery some of the comments and the original article would have us believe.
"I firmly believe that Lisa is describing fat hate (or possibly just naked-middle-aged-man hate) here, rather than engaging in it herself. She doesn't say the model's body is repulsive, she says it is "socially-defined" and "suggest[ed]" to be repulsive."
Well sure, if it was ACTUALLY suggested that we should be repulsed, I'd might agree with you. Except that a great many of us don't see any such suggestion. I've TRIED and TRIED to even READ INTO it such a suggestion, there is none. Her suggestion is really just her talking out of the side of her mouth. It's a way to say what SHE feels, without taking responsibility for it. The same goes for the others that commented likewise.
"I myself can simultaneously find a body attractive and still acknowledge that I'm supposed to label it "unattractive" or the reverse."
I've not actually seen where I'm SUPPOSED to label someone unnatractive. I've never even been shamed for finding someone attractive that some others weren't attracted too.
"For example, supermodels: they are often much thinner than the average woman, and thinner than many people find ideal in a female body, but they are understood to be "beautiful" by society even if that doesn't match most individuals' personal preference."
What is "society" here? I keep hearing people say "society tells us this" or "society teaches that". But you know real people seem never to be in line with that. I think people often confuse "GIANT MEDIA CONGLOMERATES" with "society". No one really believes a d'mned thing that the giant media conglomerates tell us. Including who is or isn't attractive.
It isn't that we're attracted to thinner than usual supermodels and NOT attracted to the so-called average woman (I've never known any person that was average). Rather, we're generally attracted to BOTH and MORE. This isn't a this OR that thing, it is a this AND/ALSO that thing. The "thing" here being our individual respective personal attractions.
"We all sort of agree to pretend they are the peak of model beauty."
Who is we all? I don't know anyone who thinks this at all.
"The things we like and the things that we know society wants us to like (or pretends we like) are often really different."
What do you mean "society"? Cause I've never run into anyone that WANTS me to be attracted to anyone. Unless it's those I am in competition with who DONT want my competition OR those that WANT me to be attracted to them personally. But "society" wants?
"I think that many commenters have made it clear here that they would be totally okay with seeing more of this guy (free billboard beefcake? Yes please!)"
"But the way the ad is phrased ignores this attraction --"
No it doesn't. The CRITIQUE of the ad ignores this attraction. With violence frankly.
"if the advertisers thought we would want to see the next (naked!) billboard, then they would expect us not to pay them, and simply wait happily for them to keep filling the space."
If you thought this you would do that. If you thought that grapes would good you would eat cabbage. I like grapes and I eat cappage therefore you must also eat cabbage to prove your love of grapes.
People actually and feel and act and react different from each other. One of the things that people have a tendency to do though is to think, if I did such and such I would have THOUGHT such and such. Therefore since so and so did such and such they MUST have thought such and such. But that's just not reality.
As I said the ad clearly suggests not that we don't want to SEE him naked. But rather that we don't WANT him to get naked because he is about to go into BEATDOWN fight mode if you don't buy this space. The difference between you and I in this case is, while that is the take I got on the ad, I don't presume that the agency MUST feel my way, your way or any other way. The ad clearly doesn't read the way you say it does.
"It's a follow-the-money conclusion: do the advertisers make money if the public decides we want to see this man naked? No! They make money only if the public decides to reject this man's naked body."
Don't you mean if the public decides to reject a funny fight from this man and buys the adspace?
"By saying in the ad “The Sooner You Advertise Here, the Better” they turn the slow striptease into a countdown -- telling the public to hurry up and advertise! And the only way to stop the striptease/countdown is to pay the advertisers, which implies that the countdown is to something bad (ie. the model becoming fully nude is "bad.")"
I think that many people have a misconception of the word "implies." Rather you INFERRED that's what message they were giving. I INFERRED something else. Now what either one of us INFERRED might be just what the agency IMPLIED. Or it might have been IMPLYING something else entirely. Our INFERENCES do not an IMPLICATION make.
"Even though lots of people like the idea of seeing the model nude, the phrasing makes it clear that his stripping and eventual possible nudity is unattractive, and must be avoided."
No it doesn't. It might for instance be IMPLYING that nudity is to be avoided IN PUBLIC, regardless of how attractive the person is. Since, you know, here's an attractive man, but gosh we can't let his GOODS out in the open. In addition it could as well be speaking to HOW RIDICULOUS it is that a man's "goods" cannot be seen but a woman's can. I mean we STILL get people suggesting that its ok for a WOMAN to strip down naked for her music video, but those same people ..YES THOSE VERY SAME PEOPLE, have called for jail time for men who appear in public naked.
So the messages you are INFERRING ar there, well they MIGHT be. But I've tried and I just don't see them. I don't even have to see anything other than LOOK AT ME I'M A BILLBOARD!. Which, like it or not folks, THAT's the message.
"A naked (fat, middle-aged-ish?)"
MIDDLE AGED? Ok now I know you're joking.
"man being nude is therefore framed as not something the public wants to see (even though the public maybe does want to see it!) It's like a reverse striptease; the goal is not to see more clothes come off, it's to pay to stop him taking more clothes off."
Except again that conclusion can only be arrived at if we feel the man is unnatractive.
"If the model were being socially defined as "attractive""
Ok what does "socially" attractive mean? People are attractive to other people or not. So JUST WHO are the people that find this man unattractive? Hint...Look at the "By so and so" part of the article.
"the ad would not encourage us to prevent his nudity by buying the billboard space. Instead, the ad would read more like a typical porn site: "Want to see more? Buy this space!" or something like that."
No it wouldn't. The ad would read exactly as it read.
"Because that would frame the nudity of the "attractive" body as desirable,"
So, porn frames nudity as attractive, but other things don't? This ad frames the body as attractive, without having to say HEY THIS IS ATTRACTIVE. But since you brought up porn, have you seen any lately? Most of the men in porn look surprisingly similar to this guy. Since porn is portraying men that look like me attractive, it follows that the message of this board is, exactly that, THIS MAN IS ATTRACTIVE.
"which is how the public is supposed to treat it (no matter how much the public disagrees privately with the label.)"
"Then the advertisers would expect people to say "well, I do want to see him naked! Let me pay you for that!""
Um no. The ad is most definitely NOT an ad to catch passersby on the freeway or road system and HOPE one of them has enough money, will be REPULSED buy this ad and then purchase space to avoid nudity. That's just not how the advertising business works.
Ad spaces on billboards are typically bought up weeks and months in advance. Prime locations can be bought by an agency or a conglomerate years in advance. So very often it's difficult to find ad space on billboards. The adspace on billboards is EXPENSIVE. This kind of expensive advertising is GENERALLY part of a LARGER campaign, costing into at least the tens of thousands and often to the hundreds of thousands or millions. These campaigns focus on things like branding, brand recognition or introduction, brand consistency, demographics, wide area coverage, multiple media outlets and more. The media coverage for something like this would include the billboard advertising, magazine placements, mailers, television and radio spots, at least one website, or more, ads on other websites owned by the company, email campaigns, ads across the web, newspaper fliers and more.
In short this sh't is far to expensive to chance that some driver will be "repulsed" as you all keep claiming and just "buy up space" so as not to see a nude man. An agency advertising on THAT premise, would be OUT THE DOOR, their FUTURE contracts terminated. No, an ad like this is what's called a CALL TO ATTENTION ad, NOT a CALL TO ACTION ad.
But hey, I love it when people not ACTUALLY in the business, tell us how we work, what we feel, what we were thinking.
"unlike here, where the advertisers expect a response of "NO I don't want to see him naked! Let me pay you to stop it!""
Nope. Sorry. Wrong.
Then BAGELSAN followed up with:
"To be clear, I don't actually want the next billboard stopped!"
Trust me it won't be. This agency has used a brilliant campaign, made itself known, got sh't-tons of free advertising by being plastered all over blogs and the internet. This meme and the conversations surrounding it are going to be carried into the next couple of years at least. So they've plenty of more work waiting for them. Thanks for the help in spreading the word! :D
"This guy isn't my type, personally,"
How do you know he's not your type? What do you mean he's not your type?
"but I would love to see a giant naked person in the middle of town."
I wouldn't. I don't like naked humans. You all are gross:D.
":D But I can recognize that my response is not the "correct" one from the advertiser's point of view."
Actually your view is EXACTLY the one that advertisers go for. Contrary to your view that that's not what they go for. Like I said you transer what YOU feel to what advertisers feel. The two are not congruous.
Nony — June 12, 2011
This guy is fat but not mindbogglingly or too disgustingly so. Depending on where you live in the world, are a third to half of the people you see on a daily basis are a similar BMI to this guy. Probably the percentage is lower than most parts of the US in the Netherlands and this guy is more clearly fat there than here. Still, like others commented he does not look quite so bad. I feel that there are much less attractive humans if that's the point of the ad.
For example, if they put one of those hugely obese people, would it be more repulsive and perhaps too repulsive (and not funny)?
TIAS — June 12, 2011
I find this man attractive, and I do find the images amusing - he's obviously acting and having a fun time, yeah. However, that text - "THE SOONER YOU ADVERTISE HERE, THE BETTER." rather ruins any positive feelings I have about this and makes me feel more as if I'm supposed to pay to make him stop stripping.
Danny — June 15, 2011
Its pretty clear that this was meant to be "hey hurry up and buy this ad space before the fat guy takes all his clothes off" and no amount of "I find him attractive" is going to change that. In fact the "I find him attractive" opinion just means that the people of that mindset would not buy that ad space. But I wonder if that's because they find him attractive and just want to look at the ad or its because they find the ad agency's message offensive and don't want to do business with them. Personally I'm of the latter.
Oh and apparently not only did the space get sold in time but it also won some sort of advertising award.
I wonder what would happen if that were a poster of a man that's considered attractive*? My money says that straight guys would be complaining and everyone would suddenly be up in arms about homophobia and straight male privilege. Or a woman that's considered attractive*? Or a fat woman (if anything my money says that this post would not be anywhere near as gender neutral as it is now)?
* - By "considered attractive" I'm talking about society's norms.
Rscholten42 — July 28, 2011
here are three more similar ads from the same company, including one with a woman.http://www.ibelieveinadv.com/2010/06/interbest-outdoor-man-woman-nose/