…the pursuer is the disposable one…

Is this ad sexist?

Femdelusion seems to think so. He also deconstructs a Samsung ad that he thinks is sexist against men. That one is going around the manosphere and I’ll let others take a crack at it…

Perhaps some find the ad sexist because the women are in bikini’s. I live near the beach and women in bikini’s are just business as usual. These women are wearing maybe a few inches less of fabric than perfectly respectable athletes in the Olympics. The man is sans shirt. Likely the advertisers did this to not offend censors rather than some social cometary on the double standard between male toplessness and female toplessness. While we’re on that topic ladies, I’ll sign the petition to allow you to take off your shirt anywhere a man can if you sign the petition to end my obligation to sign up for Selective Service.

What is it that makes this ad potentially offensive or potentially powerful? To me it is the fact that the gender script has been flipped. Many men might see this as a fantasy. The man doesn’t have the pressure of being the one to pursue, he is the one to select. He is smiling and continues to spray almost as if a wizard invoking an incantation. The women have maddened, frenzied looks on their faces, he appears joyous.

I don’t think these women can be considered “objectified.” They aren’t showing the passive, coy looks of Playboy Playmates. It shows the disposability of the pursuer role. A few fall , this seems to show a relentless pursuit where they worry not of injury. It also shows athleticism and ferociousness but I don’t think anyone would label these women as “empowered.” Most of the women will not succeed–perhaps they get to try this event many more times or perhaps it is their one chance in life–we are left to speculate.

Now, here’s the parody ad…

9 thoughts on “…the pursuer is the disposable one…

  1. I see what you’re saying. I do. I agree that the aspect you talk about (inverting the pursuer/pursued paradigm) is a good example of a way in which it is not sexist, and indeed actively challenging sexist norms.

    The reason I’d say it’s sexist nonetheless is because of other aspects to the ad. For me, it is because it’s such a sexualised image being put out there in public space. The spray isn’t an ‘equal opportunities’ attractor – it seemingly only targets ridiculously good-looking women! Well, fine, it’s fantasy. Agreed. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to broadcast in public space. In that context, it is sexist (IMO).

    Let me put it this way: if it were a TV show or film people had elected to watch, I wouldn’t find it sexist. The extremely similar Python sketch from The Meaning of Life, for instance, is absolutely fine by me. There are different standards in play for advertising precisely because it’s in public space.

    I completely accept that whether such-and-such is ‘sexist’ is a matter of interpretation. I haven’t stated any _facts_ here. Our disagreement is more akin to a disagreement about whether a joke is funny or not.

    1. the link didn’t work for the Python Sketch, wanted to check that out…

      yes, they show a very narrow range of women, also they seem divided along race. To me that suggests they are from “tribes” that traveled far and wide across land and sea. The women are fit, but I believe they are being judged on strength/endurance/drive rather than beauty. To me it is about competition over a man and I see it as almost subversive.

      Is 300 with chiseled, shirtless men sexualized?

    2. It sounds to me like you are talking about lookism, rather than sexism. Let’s be honest here: what is the likelihood that they were going to put an unhandsome man in this commercial?

    3. Femdelusion,

      Just wanted to mention that the Monty Python skit seemed more lighthearted even though it depicted a man going over a cliff and the women were topless. Still, while I think as The Real Peterman mentions, it is more likely lookism than sexism…

  2. I live near the beach too, women in bikini is an everyday thing.

    I don’t find the ads in the videos to be sexist.

    The roles are reversed though where the women are chasing the man. That’s different! 🙂

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