<The Gender ADs Project>





<Background: Depictions of sexual acts are very common in popular culture. In the case of advertising a number of ads utilize sexuality as a means of selling products. Many critics of the critics of popular culture use the adage that "sex sells" to justify the depictions in popular culture. Indeed, it is hard to argue with the fact that sex is used to sell products, but let's argue with the fact that our most inner and intimate matters have been commodified by corporations, and let's argue with the fact that throwing sex around as it is not healthy in a society that is prone to sexual violence, rape, unwanted pregnancies and STDs, and let's argue with the fact that companies treat people like fools by turning products into sex (take a look at image 37 to see if you agree). Unfortunately, it is difficult to discuss sex in our society: though it is so prevalent, many of us repress our consideration of it and this may have dangerous consequences. My argument is not to critique our sexual nature, but to draw attention to problems with our sexual nature and with the ways in which corporations use our sexual being to their advantage. Being a gender critic does not equate to being a prude, but it does equate to being intelligent about how sex and advertising are used against us. One of the most important collections on this subject is Steven Heller's Sex Appeal: The Art of Allure in Graphic and Advertising Design. The Ads: Like many of the ads in the Relationships section, human relations are reduced to a very base level. Additionally, much of our advertising culture is focused on heterosexist assumptions.  Questions: (1) In what ways are our sexual relationships connected to certain products? What types of products seem to be used to attract our sexual interests? (2) Are there particular themes in the representation of sex and advertising? What are these? (3) Do you feel that it is all right to use sex in certain advertising contexts? If so, which ones? (4) Using the Internet and appropriate research studies, conduct a study of the impact of sexual content on children. (4) How can we address the negative effects of sexual content on our children?>


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