Let me be clear about something- I have about zero interest in the makeup and fake boobs women that you see on television selling beer. You couldn’t sell me a hat in a hailstorm with a “spokesmodel.” I have always (or, as least since I was 15 or so) found the “Look, tits! Buy this!” come-on to be proportionally as ineffective with me as it is offensive to me.
Since the pneumatic blonde aesthetic has pretty-much dominated mass-media advertising for my entire adult life, I have been out of the main consumer demographic that ads are aimed at. That is, until lately.
The alternative-to-Bush/Cheney-culture that has sprung up around the big liberal blogs and (just in opposition to the war in general) has created a higher level of visibility for this subculture of folks a little more like me. And whaddya know, they have stuff to sell, too. And suddenly…
Look, if they drape some barely dressed and heavily augmented 20-year-old blonde over the fender of a red sportscar, I might (might) glance at the sportscar. But if someone pastes some widget onto a woman with a real-woman body, an “exotic” look (read: non-Stepford), throw in a pair of glasses (and a Masters Degree?) and I can’t look away. This is, unfortunately, how advertising is supposed to work- there’s the product, which I might have a minimal desire for, but mostly it wouldn’t turn my head if it was on fire- and then there’s the added hook of The Non-Traditional Foxy Woman™, and suddenly, I look at the product and have all these emotional associations with it.
Case in point:
I am sure that we could prowl around the Code Pink website and Atrios for an hour and find another score of examples.
IMHO, a cursory glance at the republican babes website (egad…. this week’s is Internment apologist/concentration camp advocate Michelle Malkin… shameless, aren’t they?) gives the lie to the culture of the fake tit and the airbrush. You can keep the lot of them, thanks.
But as the culture of the Lefty-liberal hottie sees its exploitation to sell t-shirts and stickers, a questions arises: just because smarter and more culturally aware/diverse == hotter, does using their sexiness to sell stuff == exploitation? Is using a picture to sell t-shirts of a tri-lingual, half-Latina, half-African-American Comp Lit professor with a flat tummy celebration or exploitation? In the same way that the whole idea of Lefty Talking Points (no thanks on the whole Telling Me What to Say thing, ok?) annoys me, so does the pimping of the part of our culture that makes us different.