X Marks the Spot

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about sexual objectification as you read in my piece about Taylor Lautner. Well, funny story…

Recently a co-worker sent me a link that shed some interesting light on sexism and treating men as objects. So, everyone loves a treasure hunt, right? Though x may mark the spot, Calvin Klein wants you to find a very different treasure…and his name is Mark.

Mark is an actor who hangs out shirtless on the floor of his apartment with his abs on display. Not into guys who wear beanies? Well then, there’s celebrity stud, Kellan Lutz, or Jamie, a pilates instructor, with a toned body to prove it. Watch as his hot wolf-packian shoulder tattoo flexes in the video as he talks about how he really likes to surf and wax his — er —  surfboard. Don’t worry, he’s not doing anything “dodgy,” but CK definitely is…

While watching these videos I thought these men were attractive (hello, that’s the point), but they all seemed really dumb. Not dumb in the sense that they didn’t speak coherent sentences, they just seemed air-headed — not because they were attractive, but because of the way they were being shown on camera and in photos. And, it wasn’t just me. As women gathered around my desk to watch the videos sent in by men from around the globe (there’s a map), promoting X Calvin Klein underwear, we all thought they seemed like such silly, half-naked little men.

“You just can’t take them seriously,” said one onlooker. And she was right, who could take them seriously as they chat onscreen looking like cabana boys? What’s funny is that, socially, men tend to talk about what they can provide, yet, without clothes it’s pretty unsubstantial in their appeal. This interesting bit of marketing is precisely why objectifying women is sexist and can lead to harassment and the degradation of women. More often than not, women’s bodies are used to advertise products and arouse (being the operative word) interest in anything from a beer, to a bathmat. And, despite this venture down underwear, men are sex objects in advertising far less than women. Just ask your buddy Don Draper.

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