product: perfume/cologne

While Americans began celebrating Valentine’s Day in the early 1700s, it wasn’t until the 1840s that it became a commercial holiday complete with mass-produced Valentine’s-themed goods.

Greeting cards, candy, flowers, and jewelry are Valentine’s-Day-Approved gifts and are among the most frequently gifted items (along with stuffed animals and perfume/cologne):

Contrary to stereotypes, the majority of men say they would love to receive flowers for Valentine’s Day:

Alas, 21% of them have never been so blessed:

This may upset primarily the young:

But, of course, they have the greatest chance of one day having their dreams come true.

What I’m saying is:  “Go ahead! Buy your man some daisies!”

For more on Valentine’s Day, visit this fun graphic (via Chart Porn).

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.

I don’t even quite know what to say about this; it just… surprises me.  Tell me why.

Source: Vintage Ads.

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.

In previous posts on Gossip Girl promotions and the New Beverly Hills 90210, we’ve argued that daily life is becoming increasingly pornified.  That is, features of the genre of pornography are being mainstreamed and porn is now, more than ever in modern history, everywhere.

I couldn’t help but this of this concept of pornification when I investigated the Burger King Shower Cam website, sent in by Catrina C.


Text:  “Watch our shower babe shake her bits to the hits every morning.”

Um, yeah, so everyday you can go to the website and watch a girl in a bikini sing a song in the shower (don’t miss the burger boobs).  You can also vote on the song and bikini for the next day, as well as enter into a contest for a date with the girl.  If you don’t win the date, you may still be a lucky runner up and win Burger King “proper man toiletries”:

Yep, Burger King hygiene products.

Word on the street is that the products are a joke; they actually smell like meat.

Has Axe been so successful in using misogyny to pitch its products that Burger King feels that it must sell toiletries to fully get on the pornification bandwagon?  I just don’t know.

In any case, as A Sarah points out at the Shapely Prose, this is insulting to women and men both.  Apparently Burger King presumes men are stupid or shallow enough to be impressed by BKs facilitation of bit-shaking and, therefore, that the campaign will actually translate into a desire to consume their product (as opposed to a desire to avoid it).

The fact that it’s supposed to be funny doesn’t make it better, it makes it worse.  Because, really, this is the kind of humor they think men respond to?  “Hahaha.  She’s wearing a bikini and it looks like there are fried eggs on her boobs!  Hahaha!”  “Hahaha!  I smell like meat!”  Dudes, Burger King thinks you’re stupid.

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.

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.

Breck C. sent us this link to a collection of photographs of Harajuku Girls.  Harajuku is a style for teenagers in a region of Japan (here is the wikipedia entry).  I can’t think of a way to describe them that does them justice, so here are some pictures (found here, here, here and here):

In 2004, Gwen Stefani began touring with four women posing as Japanese Harajuku girls.  Stefani’s Harajuku Girls serve as her entourage and back-up dancers. Here she is with four (Japanese?) women that she hires to be her Harajuku Girls (found here and here):

In the comments, Inky points out that Stefani says this about them in her song, Rich Girl:

I’d get me four Harajuku girls to
Inspire me and they’d come to my rescue
I’d dress them wicked, I’d give them names
Love, Angel, Music, Baby
Hurry up and come and save me

Stefani also has a Harajuku Lovers clothing line and a series of perfumes, one for her, and one for each Harajuku Girl:

I think that Stefani’s use of Asian women as props (they may or may not be Japanese) fetishizes Asian women and reinforces white privilege.  The Harajuku Girls serve as contrast to Stefani’s performance of ideal white femininity.  It makes me think of both this poster on colonial-era travel and this fashion spread.

Yet, Stefani’s been at this for four years and I can’t remember hearing any objections to her Harajuku Girls, even in feminist and anti-racist alternative media.  Further, if her fashion line, perfume, and continued employment of the Harajuku Girls are any indication, people seem to think the whole thing is awesome.  In the meantime, I bet she’s making bank on her clothing line and perfume.  Where’s that money going?

Do you think my reading is fair?

And, if so, why do you think there’s been so little outcry?

For good measure, here she is performing with her “Girls”:

In our comments, SG asks that we include the following clarification:

This article is really misrepresenting a whole fashion scene and I would like to ask that you correct it- It is just perpetuating the idiocy and ignorance surrounding these styles. “Harajuku is a style for teenagers in a region of Japan”. “Harajuku style” Is a term coined by western media because they are too ignorant to actually research the names of these actual styles. Harajuku is not a style. It is a location. The females you have pictured are in Decora (and two in Visual Kei). The only “harajuku style” that exists is the fictional one made up by Gwen Stefani and the western media.

Thanks SG.

See also our post featuring other examples of ads and artists using Asians as props.

Marc sent in a link to some sexist vintage ads found at Blog of Hilarity [note: I had an actual link to Blog of Hilarity, but commenter LillyB pointed out that when she clicked on it, she got warnings from her AntiVirus about the site; I just had the same thing happen, so I decided for safety’s sake to remove the link]. Some of them I’ll be adding to other posts, but I thought these deserved their own post.

This one, for Love’s Baby Soft, is so creepy I can hardly stand to look at it:

The shape of the bottles, the sexualization of young girls…ick. A teddy bear? Really? The text below the bottles:

Love’s Baby Soft is that irresistible, clean-baby smell, grown-up enough to be sexy. It’s soft-smelling. Pure and innocent. It may well be the sexist fragrance around.

Notice it’s not grown up…it’s grown up enough. Jean Kilbourne uses this, or a similar Love’s Baby Soft, ad in her documentary Killing Us Softly 3 when she discusses how young girls are sexualized and adult women are encouraged to infantilize themselves.

Here’s an ad for Kellogg’s PEP vitamins:

I know I always look super cute when I’m scrubbing the kitchen.

Finally, this Trix ad seems sort of creepy to me, and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it’s the way the girl is staring at the camera, or that her pupils seem fixed and dilated:

The text isn’t exceptionally interesting, but it does use the word “gay” in the original sense of “happy,” something a company would certainly not do today.

Thanks, Marc!

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.

Joyous A. sent us a link to these Cosmo beauty tips, illustrated by this picture:


Jeff G. let us know about one of Troyt Coburn’s ads for Lee:


Glenn R. sent us a link to this Caramba Tequila ad (via):


And Jay L. pointed out this Swiss commercial for Creme d’Or ice cream, in which a woman appears to give a statue oral sex:

The commercial was entered in the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.

This ad 1976 ad for Perrier may seem boring for the first 15 seconds or so, but it’s worth the wait:

YouTube Preview Image

This is an ad for a water gun called The Oozinator:

The images below are on The Ice Creamists website:



NEW (Jan ’10)! Helene V. sent in these two Danish ads for Cult.  In addition to potentially encouraging you to use alcohol to get sex, do you see the splooge halo around the bottles?

NEW (Mar. ’10)! Dmitriy T.M. sent in this flyer advertising a techno party:

ALSO NEW! (Mar. ’10): Kristyn G. sent us this commercial for an Australian internet company, which was pulled from the air after compaints (found at the Daily Telegraph):

See also Gwen Stefani, this Tudors ad, this creamer ad, and the Slates, Caesar’s Palace, and Campari ads from this post.

Images from Jezebel, Copyranter (here and here), Adfreak, and The F Word.

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.