Of contention within media circles is how much is too much when a woman disrobes? Or to put it succinctly, did one Aussie bra commercial go too far in flogging its bras, and if so why is it that other lingerie makers get to go the distance and not be reined in? Which might be a simple way of asking what passes for acceptable when it comes to displaying the female form.
The Huffington Post explains: A commercial for Innerware, an Australian lingerie chain, has been banned by Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau after complaints that it was “degrading and demeaning to women” and included “a level of sexuality and nudity which is not appropriate.”
The commercial which had me sliding off my chair features a buxom brunette prancing about in nothing but her (Innerware) lingerie ensemble in search of “fine fitting.” Yes, the sexual innuendo is rampant and one imagines Innerware playing for knowing winks and memories of what took place last weekend under the sheets.
Yet as playful as the ad would like to be, the question is: how is the svelte brunette walking around in her bare knickers propagating her value of being, and why does that necessitate her having to be a scanty
bitch woman for the taking? Well that is the suggestion, isn’t it?
Complaints submitted to the Advertising Standards Board included the following:
“The ad was discriminatory towards women and in very poor taste. It was highly inappropriate and had nothing to do with lingerie. ”
“I thought it was an ad for the sex industry when I first saw it.”
“I feel the ad represents low level porn.”
“It objectifies women and makes them out to be a piece of meat.”
Innerware owners Evan and Tina Zorba eventually went on to tell that the advert wasn’t meant to cause controversy. “The idea was about having fun with it, we didn’t want to offend anyone, it was a bit cheeky.”
While the ad has not necessarily been deemed exploitative or degrading to women (never mind it playing on trite sexist notions), the Aussie board did find that the ad failed to “treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity,” and therefore was no longer suitable to be aired.
Treated the issue of sex with sensitivity? Is any depiction of a near-naked woman nothing more than a subtle/overt reference to her sexual virility and the intangible thing waiting to happen once she gets to “buy” the clothier’s items?
Which forces another question: why is it women are so often referenced in sexual terms, and why is their value contingent on their looks, passing muster with the implied reference she will be able to finally accomplish this “must do” as long as she acquires the apparel maker’s wares?
And yet as cheeky and flamboyant as the above ad may well be, why is it that America’s Victoria’s Secret unabashedly gets to play at sexual themes and flaunt near-nubile women without anyone being too overwhelmed about it? Well at least not next door at the men’s locker rooms.
If a woman walks around with diamond feathers with Leonardo DiCaprio winking in the background as opposed to wafting amongst a fitting shop with working men openly ogling, is her near-naked depiction somewhat more tolerable? Never mind once again that the facts remain the same: she is near naked and implicitly only the woman she/you deserve to be/have as long as she looks the part.
Could you imagine a man having to validate his self-worth by walking around in his G-string knickers at the mouthwatering glare of Monday to Friday office girls? Of course it would probably make most of us laugh, but only because no one really expects a man’s value to be contingent on how well he looks near naked. That domain, unfortunately/fortunately, remains squarely in the domain of women.
And then there were these comments on the web that elicited a rueful reaction from this author:
“Sex sells. Cars, tires, lingerie, beer…male hunka-chunkas to reel the ladies in, dangerous curves to lure the guys. It didn’t start yesterday, won’t stop tomorrow…and people can moralize all they want, but there’s a reason ad execs make a lot of money.”
“Not only is the nudity unnecessary and the acting horrendous, it doesn’t even make sense! Why is she walking into a tyre store to get fitted for lingerie? And I normally wear clothes over my bra when I’m out to purchase new underwear. An all round fail for so many reasons, let alone its sexist overtones.”
However, I do love that the ad is considered “degrading” towards women, yet the woman in the ad seems happy enough. Are they saying the model is an idiot and doesn’t understand she’s being exploited?