Friday, October 24, 2008

"Girls Say Yes" A Big No


I'm more than slightly appalled by this poster, much in the way I am offended by this ad:

 found on some of the blogs I frequent. As I am by the
ads I've seen and the random other sites (one proclaiming Sarah Palin is a VPILF) and images produced that make Sarah Palin nothing but an object to be fucked (or reducing her to those fuckable body parts). No bones about it, the left is certainly better than the right when it comes to issues facing women, when it comes to combating sexism, and when it comes to the rights of people like Lilly Ledbetter and rape victims, and the list goes on and on and on. But the images above still reduce women and still reduce men; and it is profoundly disturbing to me to see "I only sleep with Democrats" and "Girls say Yes to boys who say Obama", because it once again makes a woman's power about her sexuality and it makes men nothing more than slaves to their libido. Reasoned discussion won't get those boys to change from Republican to Democrat, but a girl promising to say 'yes' will! And that is disgusting, because it operates under the assumption that (a) boys are so easily manipulated they will vote for Obama for some action when they would have otherwise voted for McCain, and (b) offers women up as prizes to men who vote the "right" way.

The original poster the one at the top is 'revitalizing' was edgy, and pushed boundaries.
victoria over on the BUST Magazine thread about this very topic summed it up when she said, "the original poster was edgy and effective. Not only was it a time of opposition to war, it was also a time of increasing awareness and acceptance of the sexual agency of women". I still find the poster problematic for many of the same reasons, but I also see some value in it that I do not see in the current incarnation. All the newest poster does for me, along with the bevy of images that reinforce the point, is to demonstrate how little we've actually progressed when it comes to thinking about women's sexuality. It is demonstrably for the man's pleasure in these adverts; and it is more of a bartering system, a tit-for-tat, than it is an actual expression of healthy sexuality. And that is deeply problematic. Women have the right for their sexuality to be their own; men have the right to not be treated like brainless sexaholics. Unfortunately, we have not yet gotten that message. If only the first poster had said, "Girls say 'Yes We Can' to Boys Who Say Obama". Then it would have been a true reimagining of the original image. It would have updated the idea and the vision, and actually demonstrated progress and respect for men and women alike.

4 comments:

John said...

that truththroughaction.org one looks like every other myspace ad these days. I doubt I'd have even noticed it amid the sea of "are you hot? find people here" ads. I gotta say, though, I chuckled at the "Bush we can't trust" joke. They've been making jokes to that effect for years, in one variety or another.

I'd also think they could come up with a better swipe than that draft one, especially since the wordplay doesn't work as well. Unless you know the original poster (and I didn't,) you won't get the humor in it. Also, mentioning Sarah Palin at the end seemed superfluous. Save that for an anti-Palin poster.

MediaMaven said...

I agree with John that the first poster doesn't work. I didn't get it at first, didn't understand why you were offended by it until you explained it, and the Sarah Palin mention had no connection. If it had said "Yes We Can", using Obama's phrase, then it would have worked better.

Habladora said...

Petpluto, you are right on with this post. I've got very close friends that fall into the same trap - when they go into snark/attack mode, they fall back on tired gendered stereotypes and confuse that with wit. These posters might be made by people who are generally progressives, but they illustrate the regressive attitudes about women still rampant in our society.

petpluto said...

Thanks, habladora!