Monday, January 28, 2008

Easy Targets

I'm going for minimalist commentary here, because I'm going to make my poor students check out these images and I don't want to pre-empt even the most obvious observations. Don't expect any analysis from me - just snark, ingeniously disguised as questions, which are as subtle as the images themselves.

So, is this ad sexist? Or just, y'know, kinda free-spirited and irreverent?

Does your answer change if you know the ad is actually a 20' x 20' billboard in Times Square?

What if you consider the original use of targets (and please don't think too hard about the arrows, it gets painful really fast)?

Can you imagine a male model in this ad?

If it's not sexist, then we shouldn't be upset if little girls want to be playful and clever in the same way. This shirt is being marketed to toddlers:

But the sexualization of little girls is old hat, as this ad from 1976 shows:

So maybe we shouldn't get too heated up about that, either. Besides, sexualization is now the hottest theme in the presidential campaign. Just take a look at the emblem of a newly formed non-partisan anti-Hillary Clinton group, whose sole purpose is apparently to sell this classy logo on T-shirts:

It turns out there are oh-so-many ways to creatively use the c-word in politics. Here's one for the music fans:

So, as you can see, if these images are just silly, or tacky, or maybe a teensy bit sexist after all, it doesn't matter anyway. Because we all know that women's issues are all about identity politics, or special interests. They surely don't have much to do with real politics.

Target ad via Shakesville
Hooter's toddler tee via Feministe
Love's Babysoft ad via copyranter
Anti-Clinton logo via Salon's Broadsheet
Anti-Clinton T-shirt also via Broadsheet

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