Tuesday, April 8, 2014

National Organization for Women vs Skyy Vodka

From the NOW's website:

Skyy Vodka’s Not-So-Subtle Bottle Penetration Ad

Offender: Skyy Vodka
Media Outlet: Rolling Stone (Oct. 14 issue) and other high-profile magazines; also appearing online and on billboards
The Offense: A woman’s legs, clad in rubber tights and high heels, are wrapped around a giant Skyy Vodka bottle in a pose that suggests the bottle is penetrating the woman.
NOW’s Analysis: With NOW Foundation’s Love Your Body Day coming up on Oct. 20, now’s a good time to take a look at how advertisers use sex to sell their goods. For quite some time, Skyy Vodka has been a textbook example of how to objectify and sexualize women. Their ads often portray womankind as man’s well-deserved reward, a way to signify and celebrate the high life. In the process, women’s bodies are presented as if they’re a product to be consumed along with the alcohol.
This latest advertising campaign — called “Skyy Sexy” — relies on the same old trick of conveying sex through women and their body parts. Phallic symbols are nothing new in advertising, and placing them strategically to suggest penetration is far from original. So, on the one hand, most people probably aren’t shocked by this ad. Many might not even give it a second thought. But maybe they should.
If we give Skyy Vodka a pass on this ad, we allow them to push the line of tolerable objectification of women even further in the wrong direction. The sexualization of women and girls has been proven to be harmful to their self-image and development. It is up to us to say NO to this kind of portrayal of women.
One more point: Given that alcohol consumption is present in a significant percentage of sexual assaults, the linking of sex and alcohol in such an explicit manner is downright irresponsible.
Take Action: Write to Skyy and tell them what you think about this ad. You can also contact the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and urge them to investigate whether Skyy Vodka’s latest campaign violates its “Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing.”

This seems to be the image with which the ladies at the NOW were taking issue:
Variations also appeared in billboard advertisements
The picture seems to satisfy Miss Gervais' concept of "sexual objectification" (see my previous post), provided Miss Gervais considers the legs and feet to be "sexual body parts." The NOW states that the image suggests that "the bottle is penetrating the woman."  For this to be the case, the woman's vagina would have to be enormous.  It looks a lot more like the woman is using the bottle as a masturbation aid.  Rather than portraying "womankind as man’s well-deserved reward", the depiction seems to be conveying the concept that a woman can go solo with the Skyy bottle itself.  No man's phallus is going to remain forever as rigid as a bottle.  Why bother with a man, when you can just buy a bottle and enjoy it on your own?  Isn't this consistent with the glorious Steinemism "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle?"  The advertisement actually seems very pro-Feminist, and imparts an ideal that Feminists embrace.
For a male audience, I think that this image
or this one

would hold considerably more appeal.  The second one suggests the female hand taking an active role in stimulating the phallus.  And, this depiction would only fulfill Miss Gervais' definition of "sexual objectification" if the woman's hand were a "sexual body part."  Otherwise, one might just as well state that all female body parts are sexual, and not allow any portrayal of female bodies or body parts at all, and require women to wear burqas.  Hence, this advertisement should satisfy Feminists and non-Feminists alike.

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