In The Media
New Adventure Travel (NAT) released an advertising campaign that had many scream SEXISM!
Buzzfeed had reported that the Cardiff Bay-based private bus company created an ad that would hopefully attract the younger generation to use their services. Upon the back of their buses, they displayed a selection of women and (perhaps one?) man holding perhaps a blank sign that was later altered to include the words “RIDE ME ALL DAY FOR £3.” Both sexes are posed shirtless, suggesting provocatively that they’re the ones to be ‘ridden.’
A backlash obviously occurred, resulting in NAT pulling the plug on the campaign and apologizing in a public statement for potential offenses.
Before I start on my views, I want to state that I can see possible negative attitudes towards the marketing. You could make an argument that the ad promotes premarital sex, the sex work industry, or somehow stimulates perverts in furthering their secret desires to rape. You could make the argument that the ad is degrading to either sex, that elementary children should not be exposed to such sexual images, or that it’s a poor chance to use sexual advertising schemes.
But honestly (and respectably)…
There were comments on articles such as Buzzfeed’s saying this is sexist, with the opposition saying it’s not sexist because it’s exploiting both sexes. Let us look at the definition of “sexism,” according to Merriam-Webster.
“…based on sex.” and “…because of their sex.” were mentioned in the definition of sexism. Just because the message is sexual in nature, does not make it sexist. Merely having the advertisements portraying both male and female subjects voids the initial argument of sexism.
However, one could argue that it is sexist because there were a variety of women advertisements whilst only one man advertisement published, which mean more women were subjected to that stereotype of being sex objects. But this could be voided by the fact that there could have been an equal amount of adverts published of male and female, but the male advert didn’t have as much of an outcry as the female version; or that there were equal number of male and female models shot, but only so many were good enough to be made public. Technically, literally, and conclusively, it’s not sexist.
One person commented, “What are we? Back in the 1970’s?” I believe the comment was supposed to state that we do not live in a time where women should be portrayed as sexual objects to sell things, that present-day women are, if not should be, equal to men and that we are no longer in the Mona Lisa Smiles era. However, the argument could be made both ways, in the sense that no man or woman should suppress a person’s right to portray themselves sexually in an advertisement. Excluding children in the argument, every person has the personal ownership of the physical or literal information they produce, the responsibility that they have produced such information and the duty to stand by any of it, whether to guard, alter or retract it if it’s not what they intended. Pointing their fingers down at and shaming the advertisers for defaming or utilizing persons who voluntarily came into their employment is putting us back about a century and a half, because apparently the public should shame sexual images with a Scarlet Letter.
As in the Buzzfeed article, an (apparently) well-known person Charlotte Church tweeted about the adverts.
Having bitched a year ago about “not being rich” despite her £11 net worth (having dropped from £25 in 2003), a quick google of her name didn’t come up many flattering articles, such as her “I’m no chavvy ladette” period in 2010.
However, her strongly feminist speech transcribed by Digital Music News in 2013 (that talks about her past, her personal struggles and the general struggles of women in the entertainment industry) is a somewhat-intelligent rhetoric riddled with vocabulary that, I must say, she may have looked up especially for the speech (a jab at her as a person, not as a representative of woman). Her argument is that men in the music industry force women into sexual objectification, and the only sort of women who are internationally prospering are doing it wrong and represents women poorly. She states the following
I’d like you to imagine a world in which male musicians are routinely expected to act as submissive sex objects. Picture Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z stripped down to a T-back bikini thong, sex kittin’ his way through a boulevard of suited-and-booted women for their pleasure. Or Britney Spears’ ex, Justin Timberlake, in buttocks-clenching hot pants writhing on top of a pink Chevy, explaining to an audience how he’d like to be their ‘Teenage Dream’.
Before we all get a little too hot beneath the gusset, of course these scenarios are not likely to become reality, unless for comedy’s sake. The reason for this is that these are roles the music industry has carved out specifically for women.
Perhaps Ms. Church isn’t as well-versed in music videos, because Justin Timberlake has done such things as needing to hump the ground and grab his balls to get some attention back in his N SYNC days (like at 2:06 here). Or when Ricky Martin got molested whilst shirtless in She Bangs. Or how Adam Levine got his first break by being naked throughout half his first major hit. Or how really Jason Derulo got popular was his shirtless performance whilst opening for Lady Gaga (hear girls’ reactions at 1:42 here).
Ms. Church seems to be bitter that, whilst prospering as a ‘classical singer’ until 2005, she failed to achieve an equal success as a ‘pop singer.’ She states that the music industry pressured her to be sexual, to be what she’s not and that she gets backlash for it, but honestly, she could have continued her successful career as a classical singer and reached heights like Celine Dion, but she chose to slut it up and it didn’t work out and she’s now pissed that other women are succeeding in it. That’s my view on Charlotte Church.
But sexual marketing has always been a successful ploy. “Sex sells” is a line that is often said, and is only too true. This advert alone has gotten international recognition for being sexual, and now everyone knows it’s only £3 for the ride. As seen by Heavy.com, implications in marketing to sex has always been practiced, pushing the envelope to what is deemed inappropriate. Whether it be a cigarette ad, a GoDaddy commercial, male models posing outside Abercrombie&Fitch stores, or even Cosmopolitan magazines, implanting a sexual teardrop inside the mind makes a product sell.
And really, I don’t understand how women are mad at this ad because it doesn’t make sense from a women’s point of view. Men should be more outraged than women. I mean, I might be gay but how do you ‘ride’ a woman? I even googled it, and it only came out that women do the riding, not being ridden. It doesn’t make sense.
So really, just quit bitching for the sake of bitching. It’s an ad. It caught your eye. And now you’re mad.
Get over it.