As Nikki reported yesterday, Calvin Klein had posted a “sex orgy” ad in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. Was I irked? Yes, of course, but I wasn’t as concerned by the sexual content as I was by the sexualization (the using of sexual objects) of ALL of the models, not just the woman. So when they decided to put this one
up in its place, I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief, like some of the people interviewed for other news outlets.
Calvin Klein, this isn’t better. It’s a sexualized image of a woman, drawn large on a billboard and meant for us to lust over or envy. The idea is that this will pacify the angry masses while still keeping it slightly provocative, which is Calvin Klein’s brand history. But why aren’t we all up in arms about this one? Because we are so used to this type of image — hypnotized into thinking it’s normal — of a woman in a bikini. “Sex sells” after all, and “sex” always refers to women’s sexuality, cheapened up and used for a male-dominated culture’s titillation. But post a huge image of half-nude, sexualized women with men, and everyone loses it.
By “everyone,” I mean the news media reporting on it like crack fiends and the Christian right (who may have been responsible for getting this ad taken down) getting their panties in a twist because their children are being corrupted.
So now, I’m going to call LOUDLY for the removal of this ad too. And all the ads like it. Because women deserve better.