OK, time for me to saddle up and mount (not in the biblical sense, that mounting) my liberal high-horse. Once again, somebody got offended by an advertisement and demanded it be taken down, because it was “damaging to children, it’s degrading to women, and it just offends me.” She added “I don’t think they need a nude woman to sell body lotion.” First, a link for the story:
Now, a copy of the offensive ad:
And the ad in the store:
OK, confession time: I’m a guy, and I like naked women. I also like semi-naked women, partially-naked women, almost-naked women, and women in various stages of undress. Ergo, my objectivity in this case is suspect. I see nothing wrong with this advertisement and would have no problem with my daughter (or my son, if I had one) seeing this ad. You COULD make an argument that this ad promotes a certain standard of beauty that drives women to self-esteem issues, bulima and general bat-shit craziness, and I would certainly listen to it and perhaps even agree to some of your points.
However, that isn’t the argument this lady is making. The first part of her statement is that it’s “damaging to children.” Let me tackle that argument first, as clearly as I can: for fuck’s sake, no it isn’t! It’s an almost-naked body. It’s natural (well, perhaps she has had certain enhancements, which again I can be persuaded to discuss, but I digress). It’s actually quite beautiful by my sexist standards. The only way that image is damaging to children is IF YOU MAKE IT DAMAGING TO YOUR CHILDREN. Stop bullshitting them and telling them it’s bad. A child who sees a naked body isn’t damaged for life, unless you keep telling them that they’re damaged for life. And hey, if you want to teach your child that is the case, you have that right and I certainly don’t want to stop you. However, I also wish you would show the same respect to me and my morals by not making absolute claims based on your prejudices. Quit trying to be the parents for the rest of us, and just do it for your kids.
But wait, I can hear some of you say, I know you’re the parent of a young girl, Glen. If you’re so OK with this, then do you traipse around the house naked? Come on, it’s just a body, right? Ha ha, hoist in my own petard a bit, I am. No, I don’t walk around in the buff and yes, that does indeed have a lot to do with the morals of society. However, if my daughter does happen to see me in my underwear – sometimes she wakes before me and comes into my room, and as all parents know there are times when kids surprise you – I don’t make a big scene; I just grab my clothes and don them. I don’t want to set a pattern of getting her all worked up about nudity.
Now, back to the woman of the hour. More of her quote: “it’s degrading to women, and it just offends me. I don’t think they need a nude woman to sell body lotion.” You can make the argument that it is degrading to women, but I’m not much buying. Of course advertising is going to use ultra-attractive babes to sell their products; they want you to believe, even if only for a moment, that using their product will make you look like the people in the ads, no matter how ridiculous that claim is (beer commercials, I’m looking at you). Knowing is most of the battle, and I think most of us know how advertising works.
The crux of her claim is that “it just offends me.” Fine, it offends you. Go into the store, tell them you don’t like the ad, hell, even get them to remove it because you’re offended, but don’t tell us it’s damaging to kids. And since I’m giving you the respect to do that, I hope you’ll also respect me when I go in there after you and tell you to leave the ad up, that there is nothing wrong with it. I have a hunch you won’t, though. And you know what? You’ll win, because you’re louder and you care more about your battle than I do, and I’d rather not make a scene. I’d rather talk to my kid about the ad than demand it be removed for the sake of the children.
I’m not saying that your being offended isn’t valid; for me it isn’t, but for you it is and I’m cool with that. I AM saying that life is gonna present you with offensive situations, and you shouldn’t think that just because you’re offended by something, that something needs to be removed or destroyed. I’m also saying that just because you don’t agree with my morals, that doesn’t mean they are inferior to yours. Let’s say I want the ad to stay up; why should you get to tear it down? Not only that, but where does it end? There are many ads out there similar in theme to this one. Which ones deserve to be removed?
Further quote: “I hope they would consider the sensitivity of American families,” she said. “We don’t want or expect European advertising.” Well, I hope she considers the sensitivity of MY American family, and those like mine. We are OK with this ad and don’t want it torn down. Quit acting like you speak for everybody. Take ownership of your statement and stop trying to cloak yourself with the rest of America.
I’d enjoy a chance to debate this woman.