So, I’m way behind the times on these ads since they apparently date back to the summer of 2011. They have, however, just appeared in my FB news feed via Any-Body, who are an organisation well worth following. These ads are so disturbing that I’m not quite sure where to start. Victoria’s Secret having been pushing the boundaries of television and advertising for several years now making the sexualisation and objectification of women’s bodies mainstream in a way Hugh Hefner tried but didn’t quite get. They used to air the annual Victoria Secrets Fashion show on TV in the US; a program full of nearly nude women with angel wings conflating sexuality with religious iconography. I have no idea if they still do and I really don’t want to google it to find out.
These interactive billboards bring Victoria Secret’s misogyny to a whole new level. Granted we all know that if you click on the bar code, the pictures of the model sent to your phone won’t actually be naked [although it won’t be long before the violent pornographers join in with this] but the idea itself is just horrific. It further reduces women’s bodies into parts for titillation. Its the 21st century version of the peep show on a bus stop for small children. That way we indoctrinate boys into believing women are nothing but fucktoys and teach girls they have no value except as fucktoys.
The fact that women’s bodies are a game, a puzzle to be solved in the view of children demonstrates just how little value we have.
The fact that these ads, which are pornographic, are in the view of children and children are invited to play the game shows how little respect we have for our children. Instead of allowing them to grow up and discover their sexuality safely, we have constructed and constrained sexuality. We have narrowed it to women as object; men as subject.