This ad was put out by burger king in 2009. It distastefully compares the BK super seven incher to “blow one and swallow” (performing oral sex on a man comes to mind). From the way she holds the sandwich, to the strategically placed wording (see: desire, juicy, yearn, mind-blowing, “It just tastes better”), it is designed to draw parallels between their product and this sexual innuendo. It very obviously hyper-sexualizes the sandwich, using the women in the ad to sell their product. Hyper-sexuality used in marketing is so common in North American society you can find examples in every advertising outlet, in nearly every media. The desensitization of sex, while being a common theme in first world nations, creates an environment detrimental to all individuals whether they are female, male or identify as any other gender.
The ad insinuates the male intention is always geared toward sexual conquest. This toxic message is targeted toward men and young boys, reinforcing the societal idea that sexual conquest in central in defining manhood. This is harmful for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, men are individuals who are unique and dynamic. The assumption shown in this is harmful – it limits the different niches and identities those identifying as male can grow into as individuals, while still being considered “manly” as society dictates.
Women perceive the ad slightly differently. It shows (in true western fashion) a women being depicted for the sole purpose of performing a sexual act. This is detrimental to millions of women receiving this message, since so many different media outlets show this same depiction, showing women as sexually subservient to their male counter parts. The ad shows the sexual experience of the man to be without a second thought. Countless ads give this impression over and over again, that women are second to the man’s desire in a number of trivial circumstances, as depicted above. This idea is used and re-used countless times to provide shock value for something as simple and selling a sandwich.
DO I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION?
For the culture jam, I removed all the text from the original ad. I wanted to show the same grotesque impression the original ad provides us, but to bring us to a different point. While the same shock value is present, instead of portraying the sexual satisfaction that comes with consuming a sandwich, statistics on accomplishments and discrepancies between women and men are shown instead. I wanted to show the diversity of other achievements women have been able to conquer, aside from their sex appeal. Women are not side liners in advertisement to be used as sexual props, but capable human beings who are complex, diverse, and ever-changing. They have the ability to lead countries and develop policy, while disproportionally holding responsibilities for child-rearing and household upkeep. I would argue women are still not fully valued or compensated for their labours, since as of 2015 the gender pay gap is still in existence. I have no doubt that the lack of recognition of women’s contribution is related to the discredit stemming from their hyper-sexualized portrayal.
While women can be and are sexual beings, the media rarely touches women’s sexuality unless it can be directly linked to the sexuality of the man. This depiction (that women are for the man’s desire) fuels the rape culture that has led to women disproportionally making up the reported sexual assaults in Canada (92%) (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2016). These numbers skyrocket when addressing assaults that go unreported. This ideology increases the violence against women by reducing them to sexual objects. For my culture jam I wanted to provide depth into the complexity that women are, and draw attention the equality and safety all women from all areas of the world are entitled to.
Facts quoted from:
Ferguson, S.J. (2017, July 6). Women and Education: Qualifications, Skills and Technology. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14640-eng.htm
Canadian Women’s Foundation. (2016, August). Sexual Assault and Harassment. Retrieved from https://www.canadianwomen.org/the-facts/sexual-assault-harassment/