Women, Animals, and Advertising

Very interesting thread at the always intriguing Feminist Law Professors blog discussing the images below and asking whether they are “Mocking Sexism or Mocking Feminism?”

The text in both ads (for Eram, a French shoe company) says (more or less): “No women’s bodies were exploited in this ad.”

Given the parallels noted by many scholars between the exploitation of animals and the exploitation of women (perhaps most insightfully by Carol Adams in The Sexual Politics of Meat), I wonder why the use and abuse of animals in and out advertising has not come up in the discussion.  The irony and controversy embedded in the statement that no women’s bodies were exploited in the making of the ad stems from the juxtaposition of the cross-dressing beefcake shot (a loaded term from an animal perspective) and the ostrich wearing boots likely made from others of its kind.  The subtext, as I read it, is that multiple animals were exploited in the making of the ad but that’s okay because it’s funny and feminists should lighten up.  Is it really ok?  And why would that be funny?

–David Cassuto

One Response

  1. 1. Womans bodies were not exploited in these adds because there were no woman.
    2. Women were exploited in these adds because of the mocking that there is a problem with the use of woman’s bodies.
    3. Men were exploited in the first add in the assumption that all men are OK with nudity and with the mocking of the exploitation of women’s bodies.
    4. Ostriches were exploited in the one add since I find it very unlikely that the ostrich got paid, maybe his handler did but not the ostrich itself. If you consider that the handler is doing what is best for the ostrich you would assume the ostrich would want to live a free life in the wild not a life of exploitation by its handler.

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