The following is a print ad from those one-trick ponies over at Axe Body Spray in an ongoing effort to market shower products to men.


The text pointing to the black part of the “Axe Detailer Shower Tool” (the name of which is worth a post all by itself) says:

“Washes Jessica’s perfume off your ear.”

The text pointing to the red part of the “Tool” says:

“Scrubs Jessica’s Mom’s perfume off your knees.”

I guess the take-home message is that you can exfoliate, but still be masculine enough to have a creepy three-way sexual relationship with women who are related to each other by blood.

By the way, what’s up with that?  The heterosexual male fantasy of being sexually serviced by two women is so common as to have become a cliché, but what about the less-frequently endorsed but still prevalent fantasy about those women being sisters (or better yet, identical twins!) or a mother-daughter pair?  Is it simple attraction (i.e., if you’re attracted to one woman in a family, it’s likely you’ll be attracted to other women who look/act like her)?  Is it the taboo element?  Or does the power to coerce women into an incestuous situation serve as its own reward?

Still, Axe got one thing right with this product.  When I think about a guy who would buy this sponge in the hopes of securing sexual relations with a woman and her mother, I can’t help but think of him as a, well…tool.

NEW! (Feb. ’10): Liz B. let us know about this online commercial for the Detailer:

 Here is an ad from the “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign by Dos Equis:


This ad, which is a clear attempt to harken back to the halcyon days of unfettered masculinity, is a cautionary tale against the feminizing effect of men shaving their body hair.  Contrast this message with that of the following ad for the Schick Quattro:


Since the razor is pink, we can safely assume that it’s intended for women to use when converting their spiky brambles into beautiful flowers.

So, men aren’t supposed to shave below the neck, but women are required to.  Specifically, women are supposed to shave their “flowers” (in a nod to vulva-as-flower imagery?).

This may be helpful in discussions about social norms related to the removal of pubic hair. Of particular interest is whether the expectation of women’s pubic hair removal is objectively different from the expectation that they will remove other body hair.  Although pubic hair is considered more “private,” it’s difficult to make the argument that the impact of removing it is more sexual than that of, say, removing armpit hair (given that women’s attractiveness is partially predicated on the illusion of hairlessness).  Also, some men are beginning to remove their pubic hair (and the Most Interesting Man in the World be damned). Is this a positive shift, suggesting some parity in beauty standards, or is it a negative shift, in that superficial cosmetic norms now have the power to leapfrog over the traditional bastion of masculinity?

Those scamps at Patrón have come up with the following ad from their ” Some Perfection Is Debatable” campaign:


The following items apparently all represent perfection (debatably):

1. X-Ray Glasses: Dresses, locker rooms, bathroom stalls…the possibilities are limited only by your desire to look at the naked bodies of unconsenting women!

2. PMS Patch: Finally, a treatment for women whose behavior is intolerable because their hormonal levels are closest to men’s.

3. Shopping Harness: Presumably this would prevent shopping for girly stuff like purses and tampons.  Buying video games and flat-screen TVs would be unaffected by the Harness.  (When I pointed this out in class, a student told me “Women shop. Men purchase.”)

4. Silent Clone: At last, a woman who will only engage in sexual and domestic chores, without all of that troublesome talking!

5. Anti-Cuddling Device: Because after a rigorous, masculine bout of penile-vaginal intercourse, the last thing you want to do is something as gay as cuddling, am I right?

In addition to the obvious points the ad attempts to make about the inferiority of the feminine, it might be useful in a discussion about the smirking, elbow-in-the-ribs assumptions that are often a part of the enforcement of masculinity.

When I think “sexy,” I tend to think of three things:

1. Soft candlelight

2. The music of Barry White

3. Automobile crash test research

Apparently, the people over at DSQUARED2 (which, by the way, comes out to D4 ) agree with me on the last one:

Good for discussions about objectification, driving safety, or that fashion photographers are finally starting to run out of ideas.

My friend at Trucker Bomb alerted me to this clip from the 1956 film “Indestructible Man.” I’m saving it until one of my students waxes nostalgic about the “good old days” in which gender roles were clearer, and people didn’t have to be so confused all of the time about, say, whether it’s okay to open a door for a “lady”. This sort of comment often comes up when we discuss the difference between courtesy (which can apply to everyone) and chivalry (which is predicated on the notion that women are weaker than men). It could also be useful in discussions about gender as it relates to marriage, careers, or golly, just about anything!

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Man, the good old days were awesome, in a pause-while-laughing-to-barf-a-little kind of way.

This is a print ad for Bongo clothing:

The thing that caught my attention (other than the absurd, gratuitous sexual imagery) is that, as far as I can tell, Bongo only sells women’s clothing. This means that the ad isn’t supposed to have some sort of Axe Body Spray-esque appeal to men (i.e., “Wear Our Jeans And An Ambidextrous Woman Will Give You And Another Guy A Handjob!”). Thus, the point of the ad appears to be that women should want to purchase and wear a denim vest/corduroy miniskirt combo, so that they may earn the right to sexually service men in a way that reinforces the invisibility of female sexuality (except as a mechanism by which men can be satisfied).

And that’s just not a good enough reason to wear corduroy.

The latest in a long line of ads designed to conflate food and female sexuality is an ad for…Shredded Wheat with Strawberries?

I guess the strawberries increase the inherent sexiness of shredded wheat by about eighty thousand percent.

Shredded wheat was introduced to the public in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair; some first-time consumers dubbed it “shredded doormat,” an epithet that could apparently be applied to the man in the background who has clearly been cuckolded by a bowl of cereal. This ad provides a much-needed bridge between the “Men Are Humorously Helpless in the Kitchen,” and the “Men Who Can’t Satisfy Their Women Are Worthy of Ridicule” schools of thought.

And it’s all part of this balanced breakfast!

The website for Twix candy bars features an interactive video presentation in which you can “help” a doughy, disingenuous guy manipulate a young progressive woman (a blogger, no less) into a sexual relationship. At several crucial moments, the male character pauses, and you are given the opportunity to choose the correct action. The “correct” choices are as follows:

1. Pretend to be interested in blogging about social issues

2. Pretend to be nice to the woman’s effeminate male friend, but secretly overwhelm him with a masculine handshake

3. Be mean to the walking caricature of a Frenchman

4. Lie to the woman (again)

Of particular interest is that, if you pick the “wrong” choice, the video will then replay, showing you what you should have chosen to further the guy’s agenda. (If the video freezes, you can hit the “Pause” button to the left, then hit “Play” and it will continue).

I think the overall message to be taken away from the site is that women who blog are easily manipulated, particularly if you separate them from their readily-stereotyped friends and acquaintances. Furthermore, at the end of the day, what these progressive women ultimately want is a guy who represents danger.

Sorry, ladies, but the candy bar with the cookie crunch has spoken!