<The Gender ADs Project>

 

Dolls

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<Background: This set of ads emphasizes the theme of the doll in popular culture. In short, the woman is presented as a lifeless object—a thing that cannot act in any way whatsoever. As you glance at the ads below, you will note that women are portrayed in different ways but, thematically, there is a clear foundation. The archead to the left is representative of the end of the doll trope. Here, the real woman is trapped in a package and is given the accoutrements of a doll.  The Ads: Ads numbers 2 and 5 illustrate how real-life women are portrayed with doll kits. The theme of the women becoming a doll (as in numbers 8, 12) is reminiscent of the David Lee Roth "California Girls" video. In that video, it is David Lee Roth who has subjectivity and the women who are merely objects, brought to life when the singer desires (thanks to Sut Jhally for making this point in his important Dreamworlds films). Resources: There is a small literature related to female depiction as dolls. I recently discovered this website that claims to offer the perfect, traditional woman; or, as the site says, "are you tired of demanding woman? Do American Woman make you not feel like man and talk too much? Maybe you need woman who understand and don't ask million questions. You need ultimate traditional woman. You need Smokinghotkova woman." Such a site illustrates the mediated relationship between real women and artificial dolls. Here is a Mexican ad campaign focused on workplace sexual harassment. The campaign uses sex dolls to make a political point.  Discussion Questions: (1) Culturally, what does the "doll" connote? (2) If a person is represented as a doll, can she have any subjectivity? (3) Are there differences in the ways in which the women as dolls are presented? >

 

 

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<presented by Scott A. Lukas, Ph.D.>