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Jun 27 2012

Sexism is not only on earth, it is in the sky too (Warning: Nasty sexist images in post)

Is there a competition between airlines to become more sexist than others? Russian airlines ads featuring women’s cabin crew members are too sexist. Civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho says, “I don’t want to give this airline the free publicity that its rather grubby little ad was designed to attract, but this kind of thing matters. Cabin crew are there to save your life, not to offer sex. Portraying them as flying centrefolds undermines their ability to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for passengers – and can make their working lives unbearable. It can breed a dangerous contempt that undervalues them as individuals and also as the people who have to get you out in an emergency or deal with abusive passengers in air rage incidents…The portrayal of cabin crew-members as sex objects undermines their key safety role and diminishes the level of respect passengers are likely to have for their professionalism and competence. This applies regardless of the gender of the individuals involved. For this reason, the federation believes the decision to promote such images to have been irresponsible and reckless. This kind of initiative does not foster a positive aviation safety and security culture – instead it damages safety.”

Russian Airlines

Ryanair

Ryanair, the Irish budget airline was challenged over the ads by an online campaign led by a female flight attendant and signed by more than 11,000 people. Ryanair’s “Red Hot Fares” ad campaign was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. The ASA received 17 complaints that the ad campaign was sexist, objectified cabin crew and was “offensive and unsuitable” to appear in a national newspaper.

Mexicana Airlines

Spirit Airlines

Feministing wrote:

Spirit Air opts to feature sexist ads and debase their flight attendants. The image provided is one of their many heinous marketing ads they’ve been criticized for in the past – M.I.L.F. conveniently means “Many Islands Low Fares,” as well as an ad that says, “We’re proud of our DDs” (which stands for “deep discounts”). Their latest plan? To force their flight attendants to wear aprons with alcohol promotions on them.
Luckily, the Flight Attendants-CWA union is taking some action on both offenses. President Pat Friend, has been sending letters to CEO Ben Baldanza:

‘I feel as though I have entered a time warp and am reliving the battles for respect and justice for women that we fought 40 years ago. Several promotional fare ads…are demeaning not to just the hardworking flight attendants at Spirit Airlines but to all of America’s professional flight attendants.

Flight attendants have a statutory obligation to enforce Federal Aviation Administration regulations regarding intoxicated passengers. In-flight aprons that prominently display a logo from an alcoholic beverage company sends the wrong signal to passengers and diminishes the ability of Spirit flight attendants to enforce vital safety and security regulations and procedures onboard.’

Lufthansa

Lufthansa has an ad campaign last week: “letters” sent to male frequent flyers from their “girlfriends” begging to be bought a partner credit card. Critics slammed the campaign for reviving outdated consumer-mad, male-dependant female stereotypes. Lufthansa has issued a press release later reassuring customers that the company “never intended to convey outdated gender roles or excluding customers from the [partner card] scheme.”

Sexism is deep-rooted in patriarchal society. It is hard to stop sexist ads. What we need now is, more female voices saying the phrase, “this is your captain speaking”.

53 comments

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  1. 1
    Tom

    Looks good. Like Lufthansa picture ad.

  2. 2
    jenniferri

    clearly these airlines don’t want women travelling on their aircrafts, just advertising and working on them, what repelling adverts

    1. 2.1
      David

      for start women should never have gone out their houses, lol.

      1. Julie

        Go make me a sandwich, David.

        1. mary

          Thank you soooooooo much for your satisfying reply Julie. This is the second time I have come across an idiot who thinks he is witty enough posting a disgustingly disrespectful comment like that. I bet he forgot he came out of a woman and still contain a womans genes.

          1. Wzrd1

            Thanks for the snappy reply, Julie. However, I doubt he’d be permitted to cut the sandwich for you, as he’s obviously one who is not permitted to handle sharp objects.

            To be honest, whenever THIS man sees advertisement like this, I go elsewhere. There is no advertisement about the quality of the product, nothing about services. Only women in bikinis.
            If I want to see a woman in a bikini, I’ll ask my wife of 30+ years.
            What the advertisement does is demean the intelligence of the target audience.

            I’m shocked that Lufthansa was advertising that way though, I’ve always been impressed with the quality of their services. The other airlines are ones that I don’t bother with.

  3. 3
    nK

    Clearly indicates the necessity of going down the belt for promotion, btw aren’t guys part of any cabin crew why this indiscrimination ! So I protest!

    1. 3.1
      David

      ?

  4. 4
    plutosdad

    I remember flying on a little puddlejumper (a small prop plane) between islands in Hawaii, and the attendant was a girl younger than me (I was 25 at the time) who giggled through the whole emergency script. I thought “and she’s supposed to help in an emergency?”

  5. 5
    Momo Elektra

    There’s another Air Line advertisement in Germany that uses sexist images, but I don’t remember what it’s called. Might not be an actual airline but a search engine for cheap flights or something. Gah, I hate my memory.

    It shows a man sitting in a chair like a champ, surrounded by 4 female flight attendants. The flight attendants are not in every picture/ad, but the man is.

    Somehow I don’t feel that company wants to get me as a customer.

  6. 6
    Pierce R. Butler

    Not as bad as the airline ad in the ’60s movie Putney Swope, but that flick was ahead of its time in multiple ways…

  7. 7
    Rani Haridas

    taslima your place is here where you belong (India) especially to change the mindset of hippocratic indians hope you will be in india soon

  8. 8
    Rani Haridas

    do these airhostesses allow themselves to be picked mean from the picture they look like they are for sale

  9. 9
    Rani Haridas

    when will they come out with ads men wearing tongs or undees oops sorry who wants to look at ugly things

    1. 9.1
      Frank OHara

      Department store advertisements are full of women in underwear. Is that sexist? They also have men in underwear. Does that just equal things out?

      How about women in scanty bikinis? Should they be photographed lieing on a table without any models?

      Inquiring minds wanna know!

      1. Samantha Vimes

        Underwear and bikini ads are selling clothing; modelling how they look on bodies makes sense (although using more average builds, or a wider variety would be more useful than every model a size 2 or less). Why sell an airline by showing girls in bikinis? They wear normal suits when they work, presumably, so the guys don’t get to oggle what the ads show. They don’t sell bikinis on the flight. The only thing a bikini might be involved in is an item to wear after reaching the destination– but in Russia or Ireland? I doubt it.

        1. ik

          Also, it’s only women despite the fact that sexual attraction is a two-way game.

  10. 10
    A Hermit

    You know when I fly it’s with the understanding that one of the roles of the flight attendants is to ensure the safety and security of the passengers if there is an emergency. Dressing them in stockings, miniskirts and tiny midriff revealing tops doesn’t send a message that this role is being taken seriously…

    1. 10.1
      Roger

      In the 1960s female flight attendants- ‘air stewardesses’- were known as ‘trolley dollies’. There were similar advertisements to those you show. QANTAS, the Australian airline refusedto employ women as flight attendants because they didn’t think women would be able to inspire the respect of passengers and ensure the safety and security of the passengers if there is an emergency and claimed this was a virtue.
      Forty years of progress…

  11. 11
    Frank OHara

    There are some pertinent questions to be asked here:

    (1.) Are these airline employees or paid models? What would most people assume?
    (2.) Does any man actually expect to see stewardesses dressed in bikinis?
    (3.) Are the ground crew members female at all?
    (4.) If so, do they actually dress in bikinis?
    (5.) Does anyone think bikini clad women wash the tires of the airplane? Does anyone actually think ANYONE washes the tires?
    (6.) Does anyone get to lie in the intake of a jet engine?
    (7.) Do the stewardesses wear midriff baring blouses? Does anyone get on a plane expecting to see that?.

    I seem to remember Hooters is somehow involved with some airline but I don’t think it is this one.

    This post seems to advance the notion that men can’t figure this out for themselves. I charge that this article is sexist and cheapens the image of men. Get rid of it!

    1. 11.1
      badweasel

      Your points are irrelevent nit-picking.

      How about the airline companies treat their cabin crew by:

      (1.) Not assuming there aren’t male cabin crew

      (2.) Not adding to the assumption, by only showing air hostesses, that there aren’t any women flight crew.

      (3.) Not assuming that their female cabin crew are all happy to be sexing little possible cock-warmers.

      (4.) Assuming that all men aren’t MRA troglodytes that’ll suddenly flock to these airlines for the remote possibility of a bikini-show service.

      (5.) Putting some consideration to their female customer base.

      tl;dr its about treating their employees -and by extension their customers- with respect. It wouldn’t be so bad if their were Chippendales-style male models as well in the same marketing stretegy (and it was flight crew as well as cabin crew) and at was all done tongue-in-cheek. But this is all a bit seedy and pandering to misgonysitc stereotypes.

    2. 11.2
      Alex

      Wait, your main concern with the ads is that they are unrealistic??? :D

      1. echidna

        I dunno. It seemed to me more an expression of how, on top of the blatant sexism already discussed, the whole scenario is total fantasy.

  12. 12
    left0ver1under

    Those are the worst ads I’ve seen, but even the ones that aren’t gratuitously selling sex are using attractive women to sell seats:

    Thai Airways

    China Airlines

    Why not images of full cabin crews? Wouldn’t it be better – and build more confidence in customers – to show experienced captains and copilots alongside the flight attendants?

  13. 13
    The Rose

    I really don’t think you are giving due respect to the way ads work. They are probably much more powerfull than you realize. People often compare them to the type of fiction in movies. They seem like mini movies at first but they are not. They are much more self assuming and clever about getting things by you that you don’t question.
    Also, we don’t need this article to cheapen the image of men; you just did it for us.

  14. 14
    Taru Dutt

    Love your last comment, Taslimadi – the voice of a woman should be heard saying: “This is your captain speaking.” YEEEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!!

  15. 15
    Joy

    Honestly, this is pretty ridiculous. I definitely wouldn’t call this degrading.
    The average person won’t just assume all airline girls are like that.
    That MILF and DD thing, you gotta admit it’s clever and amusing unless you can’t take a joke.
    Alcohol advertising aprons are just for advertising. Waitresses at middle class family restaurants wear them all the time. It also gives consumers who like that brand instant knowledge that the airline carries it. It’s obviously part of their uniform, so I don’t see how it could send the wrong message.
    One thing nobody seems to notice is that these girls are CHOOSING to do this. If anything, it’d be degrading to them.

    If you want to freak out over degrading matter, listen to the Lil Wayne song, Pop Bottles.
    “Pour it on the models, Shut up bitch, swallow,
    If you can’t swallow, Shut up bitch, gargle,”
    … “No I won’t take your girl, but I shall take her tongue from her, Can’t you tell I’m in love woman?
    Like no other woman, Oh, I’m sorry sweetheart,I thought you were my other woman”
    He’s who you should be bitching at.
    While he disrespects women, he promotes it, encourages it, lowers female self esteem, all while making millions off it. He’s also VERY looked up to, especially by men. That’s what you should be worried about. Not some girls in bikinis that you see every time you go to the beach.

    1. 15.1
      silverbuttons

      I don’t know why this is so hard for people like you to get. If it is all just harmless fun, then where are the sexy, scantily-clad male models? Oh, right, there aren’t any because these airlines don’t give a shit about the many women who ride in their airplanes every day, it’s all about pandering to the male ego. In case you haven’t noticed, the 1950s are long gone, we live in an age when equality is expected. If they can have ads pandering to men who want a brief sexual thrill from every commercial they watch, then there is no reason why they can’t have male models doing the same sorts of ads to attract women passengers.

      OR, they can simply not do those types of adverts at all. They say nothing about the competence of the corporation, nothing about the comfort of the ride or the safety of the airplanes. In fact, airplane safety should be a HUGE deal, something that can’t really be conveyed by Busty McBoobsalot in a mini-skirt (although I’m sure she’d be delightful in an airplane-based porn movie).

      1. ohioobserver

        Who said “Don’t attribute to malice what is simply human stupidity?” I think that applies here. My dad worked in advertising for most of his life (not this end; he sold industrial machinery, where sex generally isn’t a factor), but he was fully aware of the “sex sells” concept that pervades advertising. There’s a significant amount of research that backs it up, too. Scantily clad females attract attention; scantily clad males generally don’t (or not as much). Airlines assume — or maybe have demographics to support this — that younger men do most of the flying, and pay the most. That may or may not be true, but these airlines think it is. They’re trying to get the biggest bang for their advertising buck.

        That being said, it’s stupid to alienate a big chunk of potential customers (women) by way of the ads. It might be more effective to de-sexualize ads so that they appeal to a broader spectrum of readers. Not that there aren’t Barbie-loving misogynists out there, but these ads may be just be the result of corporate boneheadedness rather than actual anti-female bias.

  16. 16
    Gorbachev

    Airlines steward/ess jobs are basically little more than jumped-up waiters and waitresses. They’re called cabin crew, and some might approach this, but more or less, their job is to mollify irate passengers. You can say it’s safety, but given the infrequency of accidents, the bulk of this job is passenger mollification.

    In that role, a fundamentally social / serving role, there’s not much to say about it but this: like every public service job ,it’s better to be attractive than not. Nobody wants to see ugly movie stars or unattractive people.

    It’s not an issue until you get people competing for a job. In Asia, for example, in Korea and China where I spend lots of time, there can be 4000 applicants for a single position. It’s understood that only the most beautiful or tallest can be airline cabin crew: it’s a type of advertising for the airline.

    The justification?

    You don’t put ugly people outside a restaurant trying to get people to come in if you can put an attractive one out there.

    Same deal.

    Almost all people who interact with the public must be attractive on some level. it’s not a neutral job this way.

    Why aren’t more women pilots? That’s an excellent question. Pilot schools and airlines in the west don’t exclude women.

    But, incidentally, naked men with bare chests are used to sell things, too.

    Perhaps what you object to is the commodification of sex itself.

    1. 16.1
      ohioobserver

      Crap. Being a flight attendant is HARD WORK, no matter your gender. Yes, it has perks — you do get to travel on your boss’ dime, for example — but you have a lot of work to do, before, during and after the flight. “Passenger mollification” is a small part of it. My (male) friend who does this for a living comes home after a couple of flights beat to the raw, after being away from his wife for a week or more. It’s a real job with real work attached. And I see lots of FA’s who’d never make the pages of Playboy, but who do the job extremely well.

      I guess Gorbachev is so damn attractive that he could count on being hired anywhere.

  17. 17
    Alok K

    Actually consumerism is so powerful that we are doing every thing to grow in market.From beginning of civilization, woman is utilized to attract people.In so called advance countries like USA,UK under the wrapper of women liberation, women are used to sell many items either in cloth or without cloth.This blind consumerism have smashed the basic believes of our culture and civilization.

  18. 18
    Gorbachev

    One of the holes down which reason sinks is the conspiracy drop zone.

    Many things look like conspiracies – white people created AIDS to kill blacks, HIV doesn’t exist and is only touted as the cause of AIDS for big drug companies to strip money from the people, that black helicopters and evil UN agencies are hunting Americans and taking away their freedom (as if other Americans can’t do this well enough), that men are actively conspiring against women in some vast patriarchy – or that culture is all one-sided and serves only men.

    I have no experience in South Asia. There, it might actualyl be true – maybe there is a conspiracy. Maybe separating women from men is the only safe thing to do for women.

    But in the West, there’s long been a general pattern of both men and women using each other. Listne to women’s conversations. Do they treat men respectfully, or talk about their body parts and how much money they make or how they can be used?

    While men had many privileges, so did women: Women got the benefit of warfare but not the costs (assuming their side won). They were protected from other men and other women by their males, who were not just doing it out of goodwill – the men were *obliged* to do this.

    When the Titanic sank, women and children went first. Why? because men are disposable. This has been a common atittude in the West for hundreds of years, if not thousands.

    In my experience, women are as venal and self-interested as men. They do things out of rank selfishness and perverse rationalized self-interest as often as men.

    As far as oppression goes, many studies show women being as violent as men – just not as strong, to the effects of their violence are less extreme. However, most police officers will tell you: They as often as not come on some angry wife brandishing a knife or pair of scissors as often as they find a man hitting his wife.

    The problem with this “There’s sexism everywhere!” quest is this:

    *YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND WHAT YOU LOOK FOR*.

    If you are convinces a priori that X exists, you will find evidence for it. if not, you’ll make it up or say there’s a conspiracy.

    The reason many rational people refuse to give this brand of feminism much credit is that it conflates issues, desperately tries to link unrelated social patterns, and confounds good thought with conspiracy nonsense.

    The “Satanic Ritual” panic of the 1980′s was one well-documented example of a moral panic or social hysteria gone wild. The same was tru eof the paedophile ring fear in the 1990′s.

    In Sweden, as many write, these panics never died. The bizarre story of how reason was abandoned and “feminism” became hallucinogenic, almost misanthropic and religious, is well-documented in “Swedens’s Gender War”, Konskriget : It’s on Youtube, just enter “Sweden’s gender war”.

    It’s EXTREMELY frightening.

    What’s scary is when hard-core ideologues like those who see sexism under every tree leaf and rock, or religious nuts who see Jesus in cornflakes, take power.

    In South Africa, a regressive regime convinced itself that HIV didn’t exist – badly exacerbating a massive AIDS epidemic there. It was more hallucination, which descended into conspiracy mongering almost immediately.

    Ms. Nasrin’s writing is infused with this. While I gather her points may have some merit, she doesn’t appear to parse out her arguments well or present them in a clear, reasonable fashion. It all sounds like paranoid bafflegab.

    She descends to calling people “sex traffickers” and believes in things like the current moral panic over massive internationla sex trafficking rings – much like the previous moral panics, none of which had the slightest reality. The same has more or less been admitted by almost all police agencies in the West: there is no major social movement creating demand and supply in sex trafficking. A few governments are getting wise to this.

    And yet, the hallucinations among the ideologically religious continue.

    I had high hopes for Ms. Nasrin hwen she came to Free Thought Blogs – I’d heard lots about her reputatio for activism. But as a home for skeptical consideration of thought – not really a match here.

    Just a comment on this.

    There are branches of feminism that don’t see ghosts and demons under every rock. These women (and men) are also feminists.

    1. 18.1
      michaelbrew

      While Taslima does indeed get a little extreme and sex-negative at times, I don’t think you have any cause to call her out on this. These ads are, in fact, quite demeaning to women. It’s not because they have women in bikinis, either. It’s because all of these ads strongly imply female subservience and dependence on men. It makes women’s sexuality the sole extent of their usefulness, and is very obvious in its absence of men in any role but the one being serviced. There’s a definite seed of sexism in that.

      Also, this:

      While men had many privileges, so did women: Women got the benefit of warfare but not the costs (assuming their side won). They were protected from other men and other women by their males, who were not just doing it out of goodwill – the men were *obliged* to do this.

      is stupid. Whatever benefits women got out of patriarchy, it certainly didn’t make up for the lack of rights. Oh, men are obliged to protect women from harm (if they don’t want to be thought of as assholes, anyway). So, how does that make up for a woman not being able to own property, choose who to marry, or have a voice in how she’s governed? Oh, yeah, and husbands used to be able to beat their wives legally not too long ago when they got out of hand. I guess the fact that they got to sit at home “doing nothing” (but all of the housework and taking care of the children) while the husband was able to go out and earn money made up for that.

      Seriously, dude. Contain yourself to valid criticisms of Ms. Nasrin. They do exist.

      1. Hunt

        Gorbachev and Frank O’Hara are pretty typical of MRA thinking, whether they know it or not. For them it’s always going to be some variant of “this is business as usual” or “each sex does the same to the other.” What one really needs to do is step back and realize the utterly appalling status that women have in this world and realize every little part plays into the whole picture, which is why none of these things are terribly innocuous. It may seem like overreaction, but it’s only perceived that way by the people prone to ideological blindness. Gorb and O’Hara are players in the patriarchy that is systematically tormenting women, but it’s possible they don’t view themselves that way.

      2. Stacy

        I guess the fact that they got to sit at home “doing nothing” (but all of the housework and taking care of the children)

        And don’t forget, only middle and upper class women ever got to sit at home: poor women always had to work–for lower wages than a man would earn at comparable work–and still had primary responsibility for childcare and housework.

      3. Rutee Katreya

        While men had many privileges, so did women: Women got the benefit of warfare but not the costs (assuming their side won). They were protected from other men and other women by their males, who were not just doing it out of goodwill – the men were *obliged* to do this.

        CIVILIANS ARE PEOPLE AND BEAR THE MAJORITY OF THE DEATHS IN WARFARE, ESPECIALLY NOW. THOSE DEATHS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY WOMEN. Jesus tapdancing christ, I hate this ahistorical crap; I’m going to get to the ‘benefits of warfare’ thing in a minute, but people pretending women don’t suffer during war tick me off. While any given civilian is less likely to die than a soldier, far more civilians die than soldiers, ESPECIALLY in the era of modern warfare where this is a feature, not a bug. Further, women fight, you jerk, and not just in some modern armies either; people tend to ignore, for instance, the violence in africa, where not only do the women have to fight to defend themselves (Like anyone else), but they get conscripted to serve in petty warlords’ armies like everyone else. Also, not only do women directly fight (Admittedly, societies which permit this are rarer), but women have had to serve in roles in the war indirectly even in the middle ages; the people who followed the army, cooked the food it pillaged, maintained its clothes… unsurprisingly, women. These women were not exactly ‘safe’ either. I recall one soldier’s journal wherein the man laments having gone through 4 wives; they died on campaigns. But of course, women bear none of the costs of war *Spits*.

        Further, the ability to go to war is a class benefit for men; people seem to underestimate how good army life is, in profitability, compared to the alternative of farming. It is indeed dangerous, yes, but even still in the USA, compare it to minimum wage or just barely above it work; counting the room and board and the health care, it is leaps and bounds beyond some of the worst options available. In some places and times, it’s straight up the best available work, such as when irish immigrants to the USA came off the boat mid-civil war. The ability to go to war is also counted in men’s favor; Men are considered better for it, and their rights are frequently justified in those terms.

        Finally, not only are men more likely to get the direct benefits of serving (Which, to be totally fair, is a legitimately dangerous job normally, but one which is often completely denied to women), but men are far more common in the upper crust of society and can better use what gains in war were actually made for the society as a whole. So no, actually, women do not gain the benefits of wartime either.

        When the Titanic sank, women and children went first. Why? because men are disposable. This has been a common atittude in the West for hundreds of years, if not thousands.

        Actually, the titanic was anomalous; generally speaking, men went first, not ‘women and children.’

        http://www.nek.uu.se/Pdf/wp20128.pdf

        1. Lamia

          “Ahistorical crap”. Thank you for pointing that out. In fact, I think that all “history” is, to a degree, “ahistorical crap”.

          The winners write the history books. And I do not think anyone could disagree with me in saying that men were (and still are) the winners, and that up until this century, wrote all the history books.

          Any historical “fact” has to be evaluated in light of this.

    2. 18.2
      Stacy

      that men are actively conspiring against women in some vast patriarchy

      Who says this? Sexism is internalized; nobody claims it is promoted by all the men going to secret meetings to conspire against women.

      or that culture is all one-sided and serves only men

      In the West it isn’t all one-sided (anymore). Still privileges men, though.

      Such blatant strawfeminists indicate that you don’t understand what you’re talking about; therefore your teal deer posts are worthless.

  19. 19
    Kevin

    Seriously, this type of ad backfires on me.

    I’m a straight male who loves, loves, loves attractive women. But if an airline bases its ad campaign on what its flight attendants look like (or what the models representing what flight attendants are supposed to look like) rather than things important to me — like getting there safely, on time, with minimal hassle at a decent cost — then I’m looking for a different airline.

    Safety, convenience, fares (hidden fares, too, like baggage fees). I could not give one flying fig what the flight attendant looks like. Frankly, the flights that have the older, more-experienced attendants are run WAY better than those with the newbie cuties. I’m always relieved when I see an experienced attendant on a flight — especially a long haul.

    And I fly a lot. I have more than a half million FF miles just from one airline.

    So. Ad execs. You might want to check with your target audience first before you pile onto this trend.

  20. 20
    Martin Wagner

    My ex was what is euphemistically referred to as an “exotic” dancer. She didn’t have a problem with selling sex. What she did find appallingly lame, though, was using sex to sell something else.

    Anyway, do these airlines think their entire customer base are either 19-year-old fratboys or 49-year-old divorcees?

  21. 21
    Ophelia Benson

    I like Gabriel Mocho!

  22. 22
    X

    I want an airline that only hires chubby 35+-year-old air hostesses. I would never fly with anyone else. Sexism and the use of sex in advertising will probably never be eradicated, but this monolithic beauty standard has got to go.

  23. 23
    Gorbachev

    I worked in the ad industry. I attempted to bring sanity into ad programs, before I left for news.

    Alas, there’s an unfortunate reality. Sex sells.

    It doesn’t matter how you portray it: Sex and food are the two most basic human impulses. Cooking shows, cookbooks, restaurants, whatever: Food is tops.

    The only thing better than food is sex.

    Most of the attempts to sell via sex are of two flavors:

    1) Using male weaknesses: a high sex drive and a need to acquire high social status to get the best female
    2) Playing on female needs to be desirable to the opposite sex and get the prized males.

    And most men and women are unsatisfied with their mates: The bets situation is to acquire a higher value mate than yourself. This makes us fundamentally insecure, because our mate may always be angling for a better match. If you lose your value – lose money, lose a job, lose social status (women like these); lose youth and beauty (men like these) – then your mate may be likely to leave.

    You’re never, ever truly free of needing to compete with others for sexual market value and social status.

    Advertisements:

    Most advertisements of all kinds revolve around manipulating people’s desire for social status. This is the most basic, instinctive competitive drive we have. All people want to be smarter, better, more attractive. Most of our “environment” is other people, not the natural world. We are a bunch of co-operating, bickering, snickering monkeys, always and permanently locked in internecine political squabbles over tiny bits of fluff, watering holes and access to mates.

    Almost all popular culture revolves around either romance, food, or romance. Gossip, music, books – it’s all monkey instincts. Just primate social networking and one-upmanship.
    Who’s that guy sleepng with? What’s he doing? Where’s he doing it? Is he talking to her? Reverse the genders and it’s the same.

    Nothing more than a bunch of monkeys.

    A person’s value on the Sexual marketplace determines much of their “value” socially. It’s just as true for gay as heterosexual people.

    So to get people to guy things, you can manipulate their need to be sexually attractive >> have high social value >> Have higher status.

    Human social culture isn’t much removed from other apes. We’re as easily manipulable.

    So using sex to sell things is natural.

    As a result, ad agencies care about one thing: INCREASING SALES.

    if making us feel bad about ourselves or feel worthless increases sales, then we’ll do it.

    BUY THIS CAR OR BE A LOSER
    DRINK THIS BEER AND WOMEN COME
    GET HAIR REPLACEMENT OR BE AN OLD FOGEY, HAS-BEEN
    BE THIN OR BE AN UGLY USELESS WOMAN
    LIVE HERE TO BE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON

    Etc.

    Complaining about how ads target women in one cultural instance fails to even begin addressing the problem at all. It’s partisan blindness.

    The evil lies in how advertisements manipulate our basic weaknesses.

    This one objectifies women to manipulate men.

    There are just as many that crassly manipulate women by objectifying men – but because women are not so sexually stimulated by vision (while men are almost entirely visual, as endless studies show), this doesn’t play out the same way as it does for men.

    All of them.

    1. 23.1
      Julie

      So where are the sexy men to sell to ME? Lots and lots of women like looking at men’s chests and butts, but do you see them in ads? Rarely.

  24. 24
    Peter

    This is really nothing new. Airlines have been turning their flight attendants into sex objects since the 60s. I can’t remember which airline did it first, but I National and Continental both had ridiculously sexist ads. One was a picture of a flight attendants ass with the line, “We really move our tails for you” the other was a picture of a flight attendant with the line, “I’m Carol, Fly me.”

    There’s a great book about how Flight attendants unionized to fight this kind of objectification called Femininity in Flight.

  25. 25
    Art

    I like looking at pretty things. I like looking at flowers also, and sunsets, and the many birds that visit my birdbaths and feeders. Yes, of course, you are going to object at my ‘objectification of women’, but can’t a woman have, perhaps even display, a pretty body without being seen as just a body? I’m not discounting the women shown as intellectual free agents having autonomy and free will. The right to do and act as they wish. And no, I don’t have any, abject, potentially uncontrollable, urge to have sex with them or to force myself upon them, or any other woman, in any way. I also don’t feel like mating with, or dominating, birds, flowers or sunsets. While easy on the eyes, their presence does not influence my choice of airlines.

    Of course I’m expecting claims that ‘clearly’ these ladies are under duress. That they are victims of a vast matrix of patriarchal domination. Poor helpless waifs as it were. Perhaps. But also relative. As a function of my job I’m induced by force of my addictions to eating regularly and sleeping indoors to go places and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Some of which are hazardous to my life and well being. None of us are entirely free.

    I don’t have an opinion on the women working as models, or not working as models as long as they have a real choice in the matter. I seldom have many choices as to what jobs I do or how I do them. There are even strictures on what I wear.

    Nor do I care if an airline uses models in its advertising, male or female, nude, clothed, or anything in between. The human body does not offend me.

    1. 25.1
      michaelbrew

      I don’t think the agency of the models in question, here. Well, at least I don’t think it should be. I can’t speak to Taslima’s opinion on that – though her opinion on women’s ability to freely choose any kind of sex work makes that suspect – I don’t believe she has expressed an explicit opinion in this instance; therefore, it would rash to apply such to her. In any case, the main problem is that this kind of thing does, in fact, encourage certain stereotypes. In a perfect world, everyone would do as you claim and simply see an aesthetic appeal and nothing more, but in this world it constitutes a problem as the vast majority of society operates by stereotype. Thus, when they see women being presented as having no other use than eye-candy and being treated as the dependent hanger-on begging for money, it perpetuates the negative attitude toward women that still underlies much of our culture as well as other cultures.

  26. 26
    David

    And do you think that most men are not sexist? lol, what can you do about it? no way, no way, they ll be stop being sexists.

  27. 27
    Abhishek

    Yes I totally agree with you.

  28. 28
    Girl Self Shot Naked

    An attention-grabbing dialogue is worth comment. I think that you need to write more on this subject, it might not be a taboo topic but typically persons are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  29. 29
    Neda Gulnick

    IMHO the time has come for a hardware based content blocker. By all means incorporate an algorithm to help avoid new content, but the mainstay of the unit would be to list all unwanted pages and just not allow it in to the viewing device in the first place.

  30. 30
    fuar hostesi

    Wonderful web site. A lot of useful information here. I am sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you in your effort!

  1. 31
    A dangerous contempt | Butterflies and Wheels

    [...] has a great post showing sexist advertising in the airline industry, with picture after picture of gorgeous pouty women falling out of their tiny shreds of underwear. [...]

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