Search results for deadgirl

Stephanie DeH., Cara McC., and our intern, Lauren McGuire, sent in this CPR 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 discussion.

What was interesting to me about this example is the sexualization of the possibility of dying. The fact that a person might die is apparently not serious enough to make it unsexy.  It actually took me a minute to even notice the weirdness of sexualizing the risk of death.  After I noticed I thought “How crazy!”  But then I thought again: in a society that regularly sexualizes violence and murder, the sexualization of near-death is par for the course (which, of course, is why it didn’t strike me as particularly weird in the first place.

NSFW and possibly triggering, so images are after the jump:


Last night some friends and I were on the Strip here in Vegas and wandered over to look at City Center, the new casino/very high-end shopping center/”walkable city within a city” that was such a big deal when it opened recently that national news outlets, including NPR, talked about it. Anyway, we were wandering around and came upon a lingerie store with this mannequin in the window:

She’s blindfolded, handcuffed, on her knees. Another mannequin was also blindfolded, with ties around her ankles, and a third had a long pearl necklace wrapped around her neck and then tied around each wrist.

Our reaction was, basically, “Agh! Agh! WTF? Why?!?” We all, men and women alike, interpreted it as an icky depiction of sexual domination of women, perhaps even violence.

But of course, there’s another way to interpret it, particularly given that it’s a lingerie store: as consensual participation in S&M/bondage or sexual role-playing.

I still can’t shake off my initial feeling. We often see implied, or obvious, violence toward or sexual harassment of women as marketing or entertainment (see the trailer for the movie Bounty Hunter, vintage Betty Crocker ad, PSA for labeling cleaning products, violence against women in prime time, ad for CSI, t-shirt to show team spirit, ad for shoelaces, Lanvin ads, trailer for Dead Girl, Barney’s window display showing splattered blood and mannequins under attack, is stalking romantic?, trailer for Observe and Report, Rene Russo photo shoot, ha ha! She wasn’t being beaten!, “going in for the kill has never been so satisfying”, oops, I strangled a woman, and…oh, there are many more, but I don’t have time to link to them all). It seems naive to think that people can see mannequins posed like this and completely disconnect them from other portrayals of women bound, gagged, dead, sexually assaulted, etc., that are meant to be funny or sexy.

But it also seems problematic to dismiss the idea that in at some situations, such as this one, the situation could be consensual S&M. Allusions to at least light bondage has become more common in pop culture, particularly handcuffs as a sexy prop (sometimes used for laughs if one partner ends up handcuffing the other to something and then robbing them, stealing their clothes, etc.). Yet those who participate in S&M are also often stigmatized as sexual deviants.

But then, how do we think about S&M/bondage given that the sexual norms common in the U.S. include the idea of female sexual passivity and submission? Is this mannequin problematic in any way even if the store meant to invoke the idea of sexual role-playing?

I am confounded by this. The mannequin creeps me out. I don’t like it. But I’m sure many people can make eloquent arguments against my reaction, or how we approach the various issues involved. So what to make of this mannequin, readers? Help me out.

NEW! (Mar. ’10): SOM sent in this photo of the display in the window of the shoe store Sole Experience in Edmonton, Alberta, that shows a woman in high heels with her feet bound. This image, to me, seems to more clearly imply violence than the one above, possibly because of the use of rope rather than handcuffs, which are associated with sex role-playing:


When I was 15, for some bizarre reason, I saw War of the Roses (trailer).  The movie stars Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas, who play a married couple in the midst of a divorce and basically spend the entire movie trying very, very hard to hurt each other physically and emotionally.  It’s a violent, violent comedy.

I remember really liking it and telling my Dad who, with his usual gentle wisdom, said something to the effect of “it’s never funny when two people who are supposed to love each other try to hurt each other.”  I was chagrined.

I was reminded of this moment when I watched the trailer for Bounty Hunter, sent in by Ryan G.  In the movie, Jennifer Aniston plays a woman who fails to show up in court and is then, essentially, violently kidnapped by her bounty hunter ex. The trailer:

Now, 20 years later, I’m with my Dad.

(Trigger warning for all the links below.)

What it is about U.S. society that makes sexually-charged violent hate so funny? Are we, as the bemoaners claim, anesthetized to violence? Is it an internalized sense that men and women are at war? Is it the idea that (heterosexual) relationships are, ultimately, a zero sume game? Is it a conflation of sex and power, and a constant affirmation that good sex (and relationships) include violence, that makes a movie such as this so titillating? Is it a true hate for the other, supposedly opposite sex? In other words, why doesn’t this trailer, for most, inspire disgust instead of anticipation?

Also related: violent divorce cakes.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

This one I put out there for debate.

I don’t get a chance to watch the many dance shows out there, but I’ve seen a bit and I have a question for those of you who’ve been watching them more carefully.

The video below is of Sébastien Soldevila and Mimi Bonnavaud dancing at the Cirque de Demain festival (thanks for the info, netrus).  In the dance, a woman is torn between rejecting a man and being powerfully drawn to him.  I’ve noticed that this theme crops up frequently in even just the little bit of dance programming I’ve watched. In this video, you get the idea in just the first few seconds, though you might want to watch the rest because it’s awesome. (Video title, btw, is not mine.)

I can see why choreographers return to this theme again and again. I think this is a common human experience (lord knows I’ve been there) and great fodder for art.

My question is: Is this theme gendered? That is, is it usually the woman who is desperately trying to escape the man and her attraction to him, and not vice versa?

I ask because, if it is, what we’re really seeing is not just a drama about a conflict between attraction and repulsion, we’re seeing a drama in which men are allowed to be deaf to women’s insistence that they want to be left alone, released. Really, deep down, this narrative tells us, she wants him. Therefore, it’s perfectly ok for him to ignore her “no.” If he just follows her for long enough, grabs her to make her look at him one more time, forces her up against his body enough, then she will relent.

From a different perspective, this is a man who is stalking and harassing her, but the narrative (which almost always ends in her giving in to him/her desire) suggests that this is perfectly reasonable, even passionate, loving, devoted behavior.

Do we sometimes (or ever) see women doing the stalking and harassing in these choreographies? Or is it usually the man?

Also in “no” doesn’t mean “no”: caveman courtship, it’s not “no” if she’s a zombie, you may say “no,” but your perfume says “yes,” and some pretty grotesque t-shirts.


Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Cate M. emailed us about the promo for the movie “The Killer Inside Me,” saying,

The level of violence is at NSFW levels and quite possibly one of the most ‘trigger warning’ vids I’ve ever seen used to promote a non-horror film.

We get a lot of submissions about sexualized violence toward women, so I thought, “well, ok, we’ll see.” And then I watched it, and at 1:15 in had to pause because I was already horrified. Here’s the whole 5:42 promo. It’s Not At All Safe for Work, and you won’t want to watch it if scenes of sexualized brutality toward women would be a trigger for you. And also, I guess, Spoiler Alert, if that’s your main concern.

UPDATE: The promo keeps being taken down; here’s a link that works for now, but I don’t know for how long.

Clearly, Casey Affleck’s character is a sadistic asshole (the cigar on the guy’s hand), but in the promo, at least, the graphic, sexualized violence is reserved for women…who also appear to like it, at least for a while. Jessica Alba gives in to him, and apparently starts a relationship with him, after he pulls her pants down and whips her. Perhaps that’s because she’s a prostitute; of course she’d like a dominant man who plays rough, right?

The thing is, you could make this movie and tell the same story without actually showing all the violence in such a graphic way. Movies imply things all the time. It’s a choice to show this type of violence toward women as a form of entertainment…and to show the women liking it.

See our posts on increases in violence toward women on primetime TV, sexualized violence on TV crime procedurals, and the movie “DeadGirl.”

Parents Television Council just released their new data comparing the incidence of violence against women and girls by CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX during prime time sweeps in 2004 and 2009 (report here).  They found a 120% increase in depictions of violence against women and girls amidst a steady rate of overall frequency of violence.


They write:

Cumulatively, across all study periods and all networks, the most frequent type of violence was beating (29%), followed by credible threats of violence (18%), shooting (11%), rape (8%), stabbing (6%), and torture (2%).  Violence against women resulted in death 19% of the time.

Violence towards women or the graphic consequences of violence tends overwhelmingly to be depicted (92%) rather than implied (5%) or described (3%).

So those’re the numbers, how about some examples of the normalization of violence against women: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty, forty-one, forty-two, and forty-three.


Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Lisa was invited to co-host a Racialicious Podcast this week with Tami Winfrey Harris and Minh-ha Pham.  If you’re interested, you can listen here.

Also, in case you’re new to SocImages, you’re welcome to friend us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.


Sociologists use the term “racialization” to describe the process by which something that isn’t associated with any racial group, becomes newly associated.  In October of 2007, we offered the pit bull as an example of racialization.  Also features Weird Al Yankovic.

People often use the Gay Republicans as an example of a social organization that brings together two ideas that seem to be at odds.  Another example, detailed in a post in October of 2008,  is the pro-environment/anti-immigrant movement (protecting the environment means restricting immigration).  The post features a couple really interesting ads.

Also, haven’t had enough Halloween yet?  Here are our Halloween posts from previous years:

Two extra-special costumes (the Anna Rexia costume and the Sexy Scholar), Max Weber jack o’lantern (by yours truly), Obama mask sold as terrorist mask, a Sarah Palin effigy, handling sex offenders on trick-o’-treat day, and costume catalog analyses (here and here).    See also, if you like, my Huffington Post about the race, class, and gender politics of Halloween.

NEWLY ENRICHED POSTS (Look for what’s NEW! Oct ’09):

Downright Offensive

It’s been a long time since we linked to our post featuring pictures from racial- and ethnic-themed college parties, but we found another example (this time Auburn University in 2001).  In this one, college students dress up in Blackface and like Klan members.  Delightful.

We added another example of a urinal shaped like a woman’s mouth, sent in my Liz B., to our collection of urinals and sinks meant to look like women’s body parts.

L. sent us a Facebook teaser for the movie DeadGirl (a movie about the rape and torture of a zombie woman) that describes the movie as “hot.”  We added it to our DeadGirl post (NSFW, Triggering).

Like fashion shoots that present female models as dead bodies? We added more to our post of Lanvin ads that show women looking dead.

We added another example of ads featuring bound Asian women, sent in by Penny R.

Katie let us know about El Emigrante, a video game where the player is a bike-riding immigrant trying to avoid the police. We added it to our post about Border Patrol, a game where you try to shoot immigrants crossing into the U.S., including a pregnant woman.

War and Nation

A World War I British recruitment poster that portrayed the British Empire as a team working together reminded us of our post about re-imagining the U.S. military, so we added it.


Steve, my private plane friend, send me some more pictures of the luxury of private aviation.  A free, personal cinema, in this case.


Amanda C. sent us another example of an instance in which “sex” is conflated with women.

We updated our post comparing beauty pageant standards to standards for judging livestock with a photo taken by Steve P. outside a skincare store, in which a woman’s face is sliced up into parts to apparently help you pick the correct product for each section.

Our post on gendering and sexualizing foods has new additions: sexy fish sticks! And a Vegas restaurant appropriating feminist imagery from the 1960s.

We also updated our post about the controversy surrounding Jennifer Love Hewitt’s weight last summer with images of her in Self magazine showing her new, much slimmer body.

We also updated a post about a website that helps men find their “Ukrainian Beauty” with an image from a protest in Ukraine about sex tourism…that features scantily-clad young women.

Tawny T. sent us a video from Sweden about how heteronormativity affects gays, lesbians, and straight people. We added to our post on an Argentinian bank’s commercial that portrays transgender individuals positively and a Progressive insurance ad that may be portraying a gay couple, since the reason those two ads are so surprising is that we rarely see ones like them.

Rachael H. told us about Maxim’s guides to how men and women argue (Women are crazy! Men put up with their crap so they can have sex!) and we added it to our post of a video showing a range of “men are like this, women are like that!” stereotypes.

Will there ever be a month where we don’t add more examples to our post on pointlessly gendered products?  Maybe not. This month we added gendered tips for choosing a mattress, gendered versions of Windows XP customization software, gendered epsom salts,gendered snuggies, and gendered Target gift cards.  Submitted by Shannon C., Em, Ondi, and Dmitiry T.M.


We added images from a photo shoot in a Romanian magazine to our post showing people in poor parts of the world posed as props next to expensive fashions or White models.

Speaking of using the “Other” as a prop.  Shakira has been using a set of undifferentiated Asian drummers in her recent performances.  We added it to a previous post on this theme.

To my first post in a series about how people of color are used in advertising aimed (mainly) at white people, I added an example of a black woman being used to represent “rhythm.”

Jackie and Jasmine alerted us to another example of doctored diversity, this one from the University of Texas, Arlington.

Race and Religion

We added an image from Mother Jones depicting Newt Gingrich as a “guru” figure to our guest post on the National Review “wise Latina” cover of Sotomayor and other uses of Asian/Buddhist caricatures.