When Gender Equality Goes Horribly Wrong
AdFreak has discovered these sexualized advertisements for Davidoff cigars. Each ad is accompanied by a photograph of a male model appearing to orgasm upon catching a whiff of some fine Davidoff cigar smoke. The ads read, "Every Man Has a D-Spot."
Finally, you may be thinking. Men reduced to sex objects in order to sell phallic shit, and not women this time around! [See female "O" faces in advertising: Exhibit A, Exhibit B, and a bonus nonconsensual orgasm ad in Exhibit C]. So is this gender equality? Is it regressive? Or is it just icky?
I say it's gender-equalizing regressive ickiness, but gender-equalizing regressive ickiness that reveals an interesting dynamic in mainstream sexist advertising. In traditional sex-sells ads, women's bodies are used to grab the attention of potential buyers whom admen assume either a) desire these women or b) want to be these women in order to be desired by men. The focus, then is always on male pleasure.
And these ads are no different, as this collection of orgasm faces attests:
Still, focusing the imagery directly on male sexual pleasure is helpful for a few reasons. First of all, the ads are specifically not focusing on women/objects as a means to that pleasure. Great!
Second, this conscious inversion of the male gaze is visually disturbing enough to serve as an implicit commentary on our collective comfort with exploiting female sexuality in advertising. We're comfortable looking at the boobs, but looking at the people looking at the boobs? Yuck!
And then, there's the whole cigar thing. If you buy into the idea that a cigar is not just a cigar, these men are getting off on the perceived sexual potency of their own dicks, and that's pretty funny. I really hope that's what you were going for, Davidoff!
Still, while I appreciate the attempt at sexist imagery switcheroo here, I'm not sure I ever want to be comfortable being persuaded to buy something by looking at a David Duchovny look-a-like experiencing a contact high orgasm: