<The Gender ADs Project>

 

Male Sex

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<Background: A number of studies of advertising have emphasized the orientation of products and their consumption to males—their identity and sexuality. Particularly evident is the focus of women’s products on securing men: “Often the advertisements imply that the product’s main purpose is to improve the user’s appeal to men, as the panty-hose advertisement which claims ‘gentlemen prefer Hanes.’ The underlying advertising message for a product advertised in this manner is that the ultimate benefit of product usage is to give men pleasure” (Courtney and Whipple 1983:103-4). Nancy Chodorow’s discussion of masculinity and femininity suggests that much of the problem with the oppression of women and the maintenance of patriarchy involves the male’s “repression and devaluation of femininity on both psychological and cultural levels” (1974:51). The negative and deadly implications of the male sex touted in popular advertising affect men as well as women. Harry Brod’s consideration of pornography and male sexuality suggests that the ultimate end of the degradation of women is not simply the objectification of women, but a loss of intimacy in the male and a alienation from the body (1995). An important recommended text on male sex is John Stoltenberg's What Makes Pornography Sexy? In the book, he details the "pose seminar," which is an attempt to get males to see how females are demeaned in pornography. The Ads: These ads are disturbing. They illustrate how so much of our popular culture is geared at the please of male heterosexuality. Image 16, which is a cartoon, is included as it illustrates the socialization of males as a major factor in the development of problematic male sexuality. Ad 77 is the advertising version of this cartoon. Ad 7 is a disturbing ad that approaches pornography. Questions: (1) Why is male sex often constituted as violence, competition, a conquest? (2) In what ways do these male sex ads differ from general sex ads? How are the ads similar? (3) What strategies can be used to teach males sexuality that is not focused on competition, degradation, and violence? >

 

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