I’m not normally that fazed by the petty sexism that permeates the media and advertising. ‘Sex sells’, I get it…whatever. And while obviously women’s rights are still a more contentious issue today than men’s rights, I do appreciate that in the Western world men come under a fair amount of sneering, scrutiny and gawking from women, too.
Still, this advert by TBWA France really got under my skin. It’s not just the sentiment, it’s that it’s a pretty shitty piece of creative work anyway. “Touch both sides for added enjoyment”, it enthuses, underneath a picture of a woman with four huge tits, a tiny waist and no face. NICE! Great way of saying that women and their breasts are just there just to be touched for the enjoyment of others. Maybe Sony’s console is, but was there really any need to draw a parallel between a mutant woman’s body and an inanimate, electronic play thing?
“Ahh,” you might say, “but the thing is, they are trying to appeal to a core demographic here!” And what demographic is that, then? Predominantly teenage boys and young men – exactly the kind of ‘demographic’ who might benefit from being taught that women aren’t just there to be leered at and groped.
More astonishing still, is that the art director on this ad was actually a woman. This feels like a really cynical and patronising attempt to appeal to men. If women are going to perpetuate these types of images in the media and pander to what they – perhaps misguidedly – believe that men want, then how will these sinister messages come to an end? For men to treat women with respect, then surely we need to give them credit for being intelligent as well.
Shame on you, TBWA France. I thought that French men were progressive types who loved romance, and French women were feisty and cool? You Frenchies should know better! You’ve totally ruined Amélie for me, and Simone de Beauvoir must be turning in her grave…