Sexism Sells?

By sizemore Last edited 149 months ago
Sexism Sells?
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Advertising on the Tube is as easy to ignore and forget about - the occasional piece of strategically placed chewing gum or BLAIR OUT sticker may catch the eye, but for the most part Londonist is happy to keep it's collective head down, listen to bad heavy metal and watch the occasional lost Northerner huddle into a ball and weep like a 16th century peasant suddenly dropped into the middle of Blade Runner.

Thank goodness then for Catherine over on The F Word who took the time out to have a really good look at the images that try and cajole us into all manner of things on a daily basis:

As an experiment, the other day I travelled around London taking snaps of the images I came across in the street and on public transport that showed men or women. I wasn't motivated by a particular ad that enraged me, and none of the ads were particularly shocking. I simply wanted to find out if there were any stereotypes in the images I saw; any trends, anything I hadn't noticed about the way they showed women and men. I wanted to see what kind of portrayals of women and men would be seen during an ordinary day's travelling around London.

It makes for interesting reading. Of course we knew there were a lot of bikini clad women under the streets of London, but did we notice how many of them were reclining and generally lolling around like pieces of Ikea furniture? And blokes are always acting the fool and generally being adored by the younger cuter bits of fluff that orbit them?

How fucked up.

It'll take a brave advertiser to go against the grain of the widely accepted notion that sex sells, but it would be nice to see a little less gender stereotyping down there wouldn't it?

Last Updated 02 December 2005

David H Bevan

I agree with the findings and interpretation of this little study but would point out that the last of the reclining females is Candy Darling, a transgender drag artist. This photograph by Peter Hujar is not an ad, but is of course the cover of Anthony & the Johnsons' beautiful 'I am a Bird Now' CD. I don't know whether the inclusion of images of an artist and a singer who both subvert conventional gender stereotypes, weakens or strengthens Catherines point...I suggest the latter, but make up your own mind, preferably while listening to the album...