Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A LOLbeaver? Or The Patriarchy at Work?

I'm not gonna comment on where I stand on this until after I use it in my Women's and Gender Studies class today, but I'm curious what others think of this ad. I'll update with my stduents' thoughts and mine after class. In the meantime, leave a comment! (Via Samhita at Feministing.)


isabel said...

Heh. I liked it. Way better than "your vagina is icky and nasty so use our products so no one needs to be reminded that you have one." I'm open to the possibility I'm missing something, but on a first viewing, I thought it was cute, as those sorts of commercials go (especially given how they usually go).

hesperia said...

Well, I didn't like it much. A woman's "down there" parts "personified" as a beaver? It does play to "cute" and I do think the beaver animal is cute - but that just distracts from the real message. Women, your vulva is analagous to an animal with big buck teeth that cuts down trees to make its home.

What's the parallel animal for a dick?

Euchalon Grandy said...

Can't think of an animal off the top of my head, but the common casual term these days is "junk" (for the whole works).

Sungold said...

Okay, I'll fess up that I liked it. I have a total weakness for cute critters. (There's a whole website for this product line, I discovered, also featuring the beav.) So Isabel, I'm mostly with you. I'm generally in favor of anything that's an improvement on our presumed ickiness.

That said, I hate the way it ends by referring to "down there."

Hysperia, I hadn't really thought about the teeth. Hey, we're back to the old myth of the vagina dentata!

And: How about trouser snake? One-eyed monster?

Euchalon, I just *hate* the term junk. First, because if you're doing it right, it shouldn't remind anyone of a rusty old car. Second, it has very little relation to a Chinese boat.

Worse, though, is "package," which seems to be the favorite expression of the guys that Cosmo likes to quote in those articles about how to drive your man wild. I keep picturing something in white wrapping paper, wrapped up like a glob of ground beef. Or alternatively, and more festively (but still offputtingly), all that plus a huge red bow wrapped around it.

Euchalon Grandy said...

Sungold, I got to say I'm not real wild about the term either (feels derogatory, kinda trashy in a not-so-good way). Think the reason it's caught on so quickly is that, while guys are blessed with dozens of humorous and positive slang terms for their genitalia (got to get this going for women who've been historically deprived of the social privilege of discussing their own genitalia in relaxed terms), all the male terms up to now have made a distinction between dick and balls. "junk" is a handy term because sometimes you just don't want to choose (which one did that basketball just hit?...). Here's hoping something better will come along soon.

But, hey, you didn't make this blog so guys could sit around talking about their genitals...

FWIW, I liked the ad precisely *because* it mostly avoids that embarrassed "down there" tone that's otherwise so common. (OK, and it's also cute...guess I'm a sucker for cute). The ad is silly, but maybe humor is the first step in relaxing when discussing women's genitals.

hesperia, your response makes me realize that how a person responds to the slang term depends largely on how one feels about the actual animal. I myself am unambiguously pro-beaver (even our local high school football team is the "beavers"), so I'm predisposed to like the term.

sungold, thanks for letting in the silliness. BTW, I am now googling "vagina dentata".

Sungold said...

Oh, you can talk about guy parts here any day! I'm interested in *gender,* not just women. Plus there's the psychic trauma of having grown up in the shadow of Hoover Tower. :-)

I too liked the ad's refusal to be embarrassed. And as always, I think humor is one of our most potent political tools. (Whoops, there's a big old unplanned double entendre! Not to mention how hard it is to talk about power without gendered metaphors creeping in.)

Euchalon Grandy said...

Oh, Duh... In answer to hesperia's query, it's *rooster*. The term "cock" is so common we forget that it refers to a bird. This is probably where "pecker" comes from. "Snake" appears in a few old blues songs -- "There's a mean black snake, keeps hanging 'round my room" -- but doesn't work real well because a penis in it's ready-for-action state isn't really much like a least not a live one!

Which brings up the thing that's been nagging me: Why "beaver"? Given that vagina dentata is news to most people, myself included, the choice of beaver seems totally random. Can anyone enlighten me?