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I saw this commercial for a local casino the other day that was pretty ridiculous/hilarious. anyway, its this middle aged, kind of fat guy sitting miserably at his desk at work, waiting to leave. So he leaves work looking like a loser, goes over to the carribean casino where all the hot waitresses know his name and stand next to him and hit on him while he wins big..
i wouldn't restrict yourself to ads in the sports you like. advertising is advertising.
i think great examples of how men are starting to be objectified much more in advertising are the david beckman calvin klein or any modern abercrombie ad. The lange girl ad is a pretty good one for women. at any rate, id pick ads that really exemplify your point as opposed to ads that don't send as strong of a message.
well, if you skateboard
ADVERTISEMENTS- CONTENT ANALYSIS ASSIGNMENT
Do axe and similar products (tag, lynx etc) advertisement campaigns discriminate against minorities? Showing more Caucasians than any other ethnic group? Similarly the question must be asked “are males objectified in a similar way to females, in these advertisements?” These ad campaigns have been scrutinized, in so many different ways, especially covering the impact of the sexualization of the females, but rarely target questions regarding race. The topic of the objectification and eroticizing of the male has been completely overlooked; this is my justification for studying this topic.
These questions, due to having been previously unexplored, must be answered by research itself. The method I chose to use involved YouTube, the popular video sharing website. Using YouTube I viewed the top 5 most popular (by viewership) axe advertisements, and evaluated them on a number of basis. I looked at the following questions in each advertisement; How many times did the female gaze at the male? Does the male flex/display himself? Is the proximity of the male to the female “intimate”(less than 3 feet)? Is the clothing of the male “sexually charged (SC) or average menswear (AM)”? How many Caucasians versus non Caucasians are featured in each advertisement? These questions are all directed to answer one of two questions, either are the axe ad’s in fact racist? As well as are men objectified in the advertisements in a sexual nature? By viewing these ads’s and taking notes on their content I was able to answer all of the above questions.
What I found in doing this research was striking; I did not expect the results I found to the degree that I found them. The examples of racism in these advertisements were blatant with the Caucasians outnumbering all other races by a significant number in each and every advertisement. There are three advertisements where the racism is particularly quite blatant. The ad’s entitled “School Girls” “Learning English” and “The axe spot.” For example “School girls” features a classroom full of Caucasian females, with a Caucasian teacher. There is absolutely no diversity in this classroom whatsoever. “Learning English”, could be viewed, in and of itself a racist advertisement as it’s ‘humor point’ focuses on immigrants struggles learning English. However even this advertisement with its immigration focus has a sixteen to two (16-2) ratio of Caucasians to non-Caucasians. Finally the worst case of racism in the axe series is seen in “The axe spot” This advertisement features throngs of women (roughly 300) running over an island to get to a sole male in the center. The aspects of this on the objectification of the male will be discussed later on, but what is most striking in this advertisement is that with all of these women running, countless women that there is only one single non-white in the entire advertisement. If this is not a blatant example of racism in advertising, nothing is. The objectification of the male in these ad’s is something relatively unexplored. Resulting from my research I discovered that in fact the male is objectified in a way, that is often more personal and singled out than the women. In the advertisement entitled “magician” the male is put under intense pressure and scrutiny by attractive women, being objectified in and of himself. He is clad in sexually charged clothing wearing a very loose fitting white linen shirt, that is half unbuttoned. He is gazed at a total of 14 times by the women, as well having them enter his intimate personal space. The male in “Girl Fight” is especially sexualized in that he puts on a soccer jersey (sexually charged clothing) and then takes it off for the women to smell. He is shown here flexing and being eroticized. This is all trumped by the “Axe spot” advertisement where the male is featured in primal poses, making primal body motions while spraying himself in axe, topless, flexing. With 300 women running screaming at him, he is the one being sexualized, most strongly, individually.
These advertisements, as shown through my findings are clearly racist, and objectify/eroticize the male. The eroticization of the male has been discussed by Rohlinger, she makes a point that directly correlates with the “axe spot” advertisement stating that “For men, the notion of masculinity, the cultural definition of manhood, serves as the primary building block of sexuality.” “Masculinity requires both the avoidance and repudiation of all behaviors associated with feminity.” (Rohlinger, 2002 pg 62) These two quotes justify my explanation that the male in this series of ad’s, putting on axe body spray like a primate making overly large masculine gestures is being eroticized. Eroticized to the male ideal, with the idea that he is not taking part in the feminine act of perfuming oneself, picture this in contrast with the stereotypical lightweight, soft motions seen in female perfume advertisements. “Men and women in advertisements engaged in different touch and gaze behavior…the feminine touch, for example, is a convention that utilizes self touch in a way that depicts the female body as delicate and precious. Unlike male models, who manipulate, grasp, or shape objects or products…Male models engage in active touch behavior” (Rohlinger, 2002 pg 67) As well Rohlinger discusses that the male will be depicted, typically in one of four ways; “the erotic male, the hero, man at work, and the consumer.” (Rohlinger, 2002 pg 69) This is illustrated in the advertisements themselves as each male depicted fits into one of these four categories, the best example of this is the “axe spot” in which the male is both depicted as a hero, and a erotic male. The blatant racism that is visible in axe ad’s is shocking given the purchasing power of the multicultural community, with it varying in statistical analysis between 25 percent (Korzenny, 2008) or 33 percent (Albert and Jacobs, 2008) Albert and Jacobs even estimate that it will climb to as high as 50 percent by 2050. The findings of my research found axe to be an incredibly racist company. The reasoning behind these findings is not economic as I first thought possible. With a third of the purchasing power one would expect at least a quarter of representation, instead ad’s have over 300 women and only one of them is anything other than Caucasian. The closest reasoning behind this, beyond that of simple racism is discussed in Albert and Jacobs article on the watching habits of different ethnic groups. With the discussion of the five segments of TV viewers it is found that Caucasians are in fact the most receptive to advertisements being the most active (in terms of attentiveness and memory of program/commercials watched) watchers at 21.4% compared with 14% of African Americans. (Albert and Jacobs, 2008 pg 241) One could make the argument that the advertisements were simply targeting the most receptive group.
The topic of the objectification and eroticization of the male is a new field, relatively unresearched. With homosexuality becoming more acceptable among the general community, as well as the growing number of metrosexuals (style conscious straight men) it is not surprising that there is a growing number of advertisements highlighting the sexual side of masculinity. As well with the “liberated women, who made and spent their own earnings” (Rohlinger, 2002 pg61) playing a larger and larger role in the purchasing power, it is no surprise that men are starting to be objectified much like women. The element of racism in the axe ad’s is surprising due to the purchasing power of the multicultural populous. It is certainly undeniable though when the ads feature a handful of women from ethnic backgrounds, and only Caucasian men and hundreds of Caucasian women. Surprisingly blatant though, however there is no real policy change necessary in any of these cases, the market will naturally cause these two elements to change over time to some extent. The sexualization of men is likely to increase, as it becomes more socially acceptable and the purchasing power of women continues to increase, as well as the purchasing power of the growing openly gay community. The issue of racism in advertising will likely always be present, until a consumer demand forces change, which simply will happen over time. One would not expect to find that the racism was so paramount however, I found the data stunning.
“Girl Fight” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6rAQHa1gmc
“Learning English” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ds_HXfc4VE
“Magician” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7hGkeuv01c
“School Girls” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gi2fBeN2oA“The Axe Spot” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9tWZB7OUSU