The Rambler :: blog

Thursday, August 07, 2003

To read this post and the rest of The Rambler in its current incarnation please click here. Thank you!*****
OK, so it’s not music, but there you go. I’m still in the first flush of blog, so that’s my excuse. And this has been playing on my mind recently.

Apologies to all non-Londoners - although I did see a TV version of the following, so maybe you know what I’m on about, but... As someone who spends Far Too Long on the Tube, I stare at a lot of ads, and a seemingly innocuous one for a well-known ladies’ deodorant really troubled me. Briefly, the tagline is something like ‘So, you think no-one can see your underarms in the office?’, and there’s a photo of a woman on the phone, with one arm behind her head playing with her hair.

Fine. But bear with me.

Half out of focus, in one corner, is a man - the sort who might look at your underarms, perhaps? with a paunch, moustache and sweat. An unpleasant-looking stereotype, in fact. And then you notice that the whole picture has actually been shot through the glass window of an interior office (the boss’s?). It’s voyeuristic, and you as the viewer, looking at this woman from the safety of your window, are expected to relate to the corpulent peeping-tom character. And what’s more, the advert is intended to appeal to women who, it seems from this ad, should expect and hope to be leered at throughout the day - why else would they want to buy this product?

Perhaps I’m going semiotic-crazy, but it seems very weird to me. It’s too hot to think very hard about these things, but maybe there’s some overlap here with the Female Capitalism talk doing the rounds.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. All non-proprietary code is valid XHTML.