Consuming Women, No. 6: blender? He hardly knew her!*

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Trigger warning for violent imagery, some of which involves female nudity, under the jump.**

A subsidiary of the department store Beymen, blender bills itself as a “concept store.” (Caution: meat-loving hipsters ahead!) The “concept” (scare quotes because the whole concept of a concept store is way too fucking pretentious for this thrift store shopper to stand), as you may have already surmised, involves the pairing of fashion with misogyny, the conflation of sex and violence, and the linkage of women and nonhuman animals: consumable objects, unite!

With several locations in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey, blender doesn’t just sell clothing and assorted shiny baubles; oh no! Nor are body dysmorphia and low self-esteem its only wares. Ever the hipster-catering douchebags, each blender store is also home to a butcher shop! Because nothing accents a $500 white angora scarf quite like ghastly blood smear stain. (No, really!)

Curiously, blender attempts to sell its audience on this concept by treating at least half of them like pieces of meat, too!

(More below the fold…)

Consuming Women, No. 5: Il Corpo delle Donne, Il Corpo delle Animali *

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Best known outside of Italy for his role as prime minister – or, more accurately, the many sex scandals surrounding his prime ministership – Silvio Berlusconi is also “a successful entrepreneur” (as Wiki so nicely puts it). In 2010, Forbes magazine ranked him the 74th richest man in the world (and the 3rd richest in Italy), with a net worth of $9 billion. While he started out in construction, much of Berlusconi’s wealth comes from his vast media holdings, which encompass “television, newspapers, publishing, cinema, finance, banking, insurance, and even sport.”

Not surprisingly – given both his own conduct, as well as the media culture in which we live – much of what Berlusconi trades in is women. Young, white, conventionally attractive, eminently fuckable, and oftentimes objectified and humiliated women. Italian television has a reputation for routine sexism and misogyny – most commonly expressed in its gratuitous displays of women’s naked or scantily clad bodies – and the programming on Berlusconi’s channels is no exception. (In fact, Berlusconi acts as a lightning rod for much of this criticism. Just today, for example, Italians saw anti-Berlusconi protests in Milan.)

Writes Tom Kington in a piece appearing in The Guardian, circa September 2009:

After a summer of sleaze in which Berlusconi has been variously accused of “frequenting minors”, sleeping with an escort girl and holding debauched parties at his Sardinian villa, a feminist backlash is gaining momentum. The target is not only Berlusconi but the wider culture of a country in which a prime minister could survive such allegations.

According to Chiara Volpato, an academic at Milan’s Bicocca University, matters hit rock bottom when Berlusconi’s lawyer said his client would never pay for sex with an escort because the prime minister is merely an “end user” of women: “The choice of language really summed up how far we have sunk.”

This summer a group of academics, including Volpato, persuaded 15,000 people to sign a petition asking the wives of world leaders to boycott the G8 conference in Italy in protest at the plight of women in Berlusconi’s Italy.

The most recent sex scandal – involving the exchange of money for sex, most notably with a then 17-year-old girl – served as a reminder that I’d yet to blog about Il Corpo delle Donne (“Women’s Bodies” or “The Body of Women”; embedded at the top of the post), a short indie feminist documentary about sexism in Italian television. In it, director Lorella Zanardo narrates a veritable clip show of misogyny, all of which appeared on daytime and prime time Italian television:

(More below the fold…)

Parks & Recreation: Because no camel is complete without an attractive lady with a hamburger for a head.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Caution: Minor spoilers after the jump!

As y’all have probably surmised, I watch no small amount of television. (More than I should, one might argue.) In particular, I’m always on the lookout for shows with progressive, pro-animal, pro-woman, pro-GLBTQ (etc.) themes – and Parks and Recreation is fast becoming one of my all-time favorites.

Like Bitch’s Kelsey Wallace, I’m tickled (not-pink!) by the feminist turn the show’s taken in Season 2. Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope is looking less and less like a womanly Michael Scott (read: a racist, sexist douchebag with a dwindling pool of redeeming qualities) and more like a goofy, less intellectually endowed version of Hillary Clinton. The walls of Ms. Knope’s office are decorated with framed snapshots of woman politicians (Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Madeline Albright – hey, what are political parties against the bond of sisterhood?); when judging a beauty pageant, she weighted the contestant’s brains above all else; and her accidental marriage of two male penguins at the Pawnee Zoo (I know, zoos, ugh!) scored her a gig as a guest DJ at the local gay club (though the penguins were sadly split up at episode’s end).

Season 2’s episode 9, “The Camel” – which aired the Thursday before last – was especially awesome. I’ve embedded the entire episode above, but the most awesomest of the awesomeness is all of 30 seconds long. Since the video will only be available on Hulu for a limited time, I’ve also taken screenshots so you latecomers can follow along.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 9: Rape is Torment (& also, The Death of Cake)

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

null

Robert Melia & Heather Lewis:
accused child (read: cow/calf and human/girl) rapists.

I, Bonobo: There’s plenty more where this came from

veganprimate points to the case of Robert Melia – a former police officer who, along with his girlfriend, was arrested for sexually assaulting three girls – as a demonstration of the link between the exploitation of women and that of nonhuman animals. Melia’s misogyny only came to light because Melia was under investigation for engaging in “oral sex” (read: rape) with calves. Though the animal cruelty charges were dismissed by a judge – according to whom, a grand jury had no way of knowing whether the animals were “tormented” by the assault – police found

videos on his computer of a girl being “subjected to sexual activity” in addition to taped encounters between Melia and the calves.

While I’m glad the assistant prosecutor seems to be taking animal abuse seriously, the cynic in me can’t help but think he’s simply latching onto this “lesser” offense for leverage. Either way, it’s doubtful that Melia and girlfriend Heather Lewis will serve much time, as rape is too often minimized and excused in our kyriarchal society.

On that note, methinks New Jersey Judge James J. Morley needs to be schooled on animal abuse, interpersonal violence and intersectionality.

Judge James J. Morley
Burlington County Cts. Facility
49 Rancocas Road
Mt. Holly, New Jersey 08060
609-518-2965
Fax: 609-518-2551

Be firm but polite!

Lisa @ Sociological Images: A Summary Visual Of Women’s Objectification

In a could-be-vegan spin on the ever-popular women-as-meat meme, I bring you: women-as-cake! Sure, there’s a dudely version of the photo too, but as Lisa points out, it’s sans copy – and probably wasn’t plastered on the magazine’s cover, as were the woman’s sliced and dismembered buttocks.

(More below the fold…)

Like livestock, but fuckable.

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Update, 9/1/09: Guest posting at Sociological Images, Anglofille offers an excellent discussion of George Sodoni’s misogyny – and of the media’s negligence in its coverage of the crime, which more often than not includes a hefty dose of victim-blaming.

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Freschello (Cow)

I had planned on including this in my next intersectionality link roundup, but I’d rather this post be timely than in context. Besides, if you need additional context – here ya go.

New York Post: Full Text of “Gym Killer’s” Blog

Yes, I actually suffered through this misogynist’s entire blog. Blame CNN; one of their journalists piqued my curiosity by quoting from the following excerpt:

Why do this?? To young girls? Just read below. I kept a running log that includes my thoughts and actions, after I saw this project was going to drag on.

December 22, 2008:

Time is moving along. Planned to have this done already. I will just keep a running log here as time passes. Many of the young girls here look so beautiful as to not be human, very edible.

George Sodini, consumer of women.* Note how the women go from being not human (read: nonhuman animal) to not alive (read: “meat” -> or an non-sentient object). He reads much like any “good” fast food commercial!

Elsewhere – in the context of an extremely racist rant, which begins with him postponing his “project” in order to “see the election outcome” – Sodini says, and I’m paraphrasing, that every “brother” ought to “get” his own “white hoe” as a sort of “reverse indentured servitude thing”: “Long ago, many a older white male landowner had a young Negro wench girl for his desires. Bout’ time tables are turned on that shit.”

Actually, a truly “reverse indentured servitude thing” – the very term “indentured servant” is misleading when it’s clear that what he’s really referring to is slavery – would see white men relegated to property status, and distributed among women of color (and, more generally, men of color and all women).

As a commenter at the Reclusive Leftist notes,

The murderer suggested offering black men white women as sex slaves as a way of compensating for the fact that white men used to rape black women slaves.

Who was wronged by white men raping black women slaves? The black women slaves? No! Black men of course!

Who should be compensated today for black women slaves having been abused in the past? Black women? No! Black men of course!

To Sodoni, women were nothing but objects to be consumed – or bought, sold, traded or borrowed, for example, to repay a “debt” incurred by one’s past “wrongdoings.” We are but chattel, livestock, property – servants and slaves. Our violation does not harm us – for how can an object experience suffering? – but rather, our owners: men.

Replace “women” with “animals,” and you’ve summarized the popular view re: nonhuman animals. Hopefully, you’re just as appalled.

(More below the fold…)

White Castle: Now with edible porcine strippers! (1983 vintage)

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Vegan Butterfly sent me a link to this detestable White Castle ad a few months ago. I meant to blog about it straight away, but naturally procrastinated. The video has since made its way ’round the interwebs; see, for example, I Blame the Patriarchy and Suicide Food.

No matter. ‘Tis never too late to deconstruct some Grade A kyriarchical Homer shit. Let’s get started, shall we?
 


 
In case you can’t view the video, here’s a breakdown.

Cue the scene: a bevy of skeevy, college age, white dudes sits in a smoky, dimly lit dive, hooting and clamoring expectantly. Onstage, a pig (!?) appears. Our “pig” is clearly a human decked out, head-to-hoof, in a cheap plush pig outfit. But let’s forget about that for a moment. This is one sexy stripper pig. She – we assume the pig is a she, since men are rarely reduced to sex objects – bursts into a sultry dance, thrusting her ass towards the audience, hips grinding to and fro. The camera pans around to two guys – and an animated White Castle paper bag (!?) – sitting at the front table. Miss Piggy shimmies herself onto a strategically placed chair, opening a creepy ole can of Flashdance on our asses. Still dancing, she thrusts a leg into the air, then back down to the floor.

Suddenly, a flirtatious female voice over:

“Introducing tempting pulled pork…”

Here, Piggy reaches for a chain, dangling down from the ceiling – and gives a good yank. Barbecue sauce rains from the sky, covering Piggy (whose back is predictably arched at this point) and splashing the audience, which doesn’t seem to mind a bit.

“…in barbecue sauce.”

The audience cheers! Piggy twirls and dances in triumph!

Cut to shots of murdered, dismembered, processed and cooked pig, i.e., “meat.”

“Shredded pork in a come-hither barbecue sauce. Sweet. Saucy. Oh so naughty. White Castle – what you crave.”

The ad ends with a fadeout of the aforementioned white dudes – sitting with a now grease stained White Castle bag – licking barbecue sauce off of themselves and enjoying the “entertainment.” Happy ending, anyone?

Where to start, where to start?

(More below the fold…)

Consuming Women, No. 4: Rustling Up Some T&A

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

I re-discovered the following ad from Rustlers last week while “spring cleaning” some of my online accounts (in this case, You Tube – see all the pretty new playlists?). It’s more than two years old now, but meh – the message is still as relevant as ever, as we shall soon see.

Rustlers, by the by, is a fast food chain in the UK:

Rustlers are a range of burgers and hot sandwiches produced by Kepak Convenience Foods, based in Kirkham, Lancashire, England. The parent company, Kepak, is based in Dublin, Ireland. Each product in the range comes packed with a sachet of sauce appropriate for the food. Several products are now also packaged with a slice of processed cheese or a rasher of bacon.

The focus of the marketing is on the short cooking time and the use of a microwave oven to reheat the food. The brand’s slogan is “0 to Tasty in Seconds”, recently modified from “0 to Tasty in 70 Seconds”.

This Rustlers commercial is somewhat appropriately titled “Date,” and is available on the You Tube Channel I Love Rustlers.
 


 
In case you can’t view the video, this particular Rustlers tv commercial shows a semi-nerdy lad* welcoming a fetching young lass into his apartment, seemingly after the couple’s first date together. The woman comes off as a bit disinterested – in more sexist terms, frigid – declining her date’s offer to take her coat with a demur request for a quick cup of coffee. The message is clear: as eager as the young man appears, he’s not getting any action tonight.

Until, that is, our “hero” breaks out his secret weapon! Under the pretense of making coffee, he pops into the kitchen…which is actually a control room of some sort, outfitted with a keypad and an observation window that looks out onto the living room. As the audience gazes upon the nerd’s date, perched all prim and proper-like on the edge of the couch, nerd-boy excitedly pokes at the keypad’s buttons, which set the couch a-spinning, like a turntable. With one 360-degree rotation of the couch, the date has lost all of her inhibitions – and clothing (save for her black, lacy lingerie…this is family tv, after all). From Liberty University co-ed to FHM cover model in 70 seconds flat.

Tag line: “If only everything was as quick as Rustlers. (You’re so hot.) Rustlers. Naught to Tasty in 70 Seconds.”

Cut to another scene, this one of a Rustlers “burger” spinning on a microwave turntable, and then of same nerd-boy hungrily showing down on the prepackaged animal corpse.

Because women (and female sexuality) are exactly like pieces of “meat” (or rather, they should be): just heat in the microwave for 70 seconds and then enjoy!

Also worth noting – in half a minute, Rustlers manages to trot out the following tired memes:

– Women are “tasty,” like morsels of food (in this case, “meat,” or food which was formerly living, sentient beings);

– Obtaining women’s consent for sexual activity is a huge pain in the ass, and wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just heat those cold bitches up like the pieces of “meat” that they are? (And, along those lines, Foreplay? What’s foreplay?)

– “Meat” is a form of sex, or sexually arousing;

– Women are “meat”; attractive women are sexy “meat.”

Even the company’s name is significant; “Rustlers” is an obvious reference to cattle rustling (in which cattle are the living embodiments of the consumable “meat”), a phrase which means “to steal (livestock, especially cattle).” In the context of Rustler’s “Date” ad, then, the woman also functions as livestock, the nerd-boy, as a cattle rustler/rapist.

(More below the fold…)

Consuming Women, No. 3

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Some time ago – we’re talking two years plus – I started a series on this blog called “Consuming Women.” My intention was to highlight examples of advertising campaigns in which the consumption of “meat” is likened to the consumption of women, usually by depicting women as obviously edible foodstuffs. My own personal Pornography of Meat, if you will.

Because I’m a scatterbrain and tend to bite off more than I can chew, I never got past post #2 in the series. Which is a shame – but, luckily, one that’s easily remedied!

For now, let’s start simple and return to the series’ roots: woman-as-fish. Classy.

The Seafood International Market and Restaurant - Mermaid

For those who can’t view the image, the ad depicts a woman – a mermaid – lounging seductively on a table in what appears to be a fancy restaurant. Our mermaiden is surrounded by spoons, forks and knives, all of which will presumably be used to murder, dismember and eat her. And did I mention that she’s totally succulent and mouth-watering, in more ways than one?

In addition to reducing both women and fish to consumable commodities, something to be bought, sold and eaten, this ad for The Seafood International Market and Restaurant also draws upon a fairly popular gendered insult, in which women’s lady bits are likened to fish.

To be fair, I should note that the restaurant in question is located in Singapore; perhaps their slang differs in this regard. Would any international readers care to weigh in?

(More below the fold…)

Consuming Women, No. 1.1

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

My very first “Consuming Women” post – way back in June – was of an Elle Bache ad that featured a nekkid woman dangling precariously atop a set o’ chopsticks, sushi-style. Tagline: “Skin good enough to eat.”

Woman-as-fish: does it get any classier than this?:

Ella Bache (Sushi)

Ugh.

Fast-forward seven months. Turns out this was one ad in a series of three. I found the other two on Ads of the World while searching for more pics to add to the Animals & Women set. They’re not quite as offensive as the sushi one (really, how do you top comparing women to fish?), but they are insulting nonetheless.

First, woman-as-sweet-sweet-nectar:

Ella Bache (Honey)

And woman-as-ambiguous-edible-morsel:

Ella Bache (Spoon)

And the spoon is pink! (*Squeals*) How cute.

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Consuming Women, No. 2

Monday, June 12th, 2006

Again courtesy of Feministing, yet another misogyny-meets-speciesism advert, this one from rapper Ludacris. In his quest to help out the young wimmins, dear Ludacris narrated a recently released women’s basketball documentary. To which blogger Ann says, “Ludacris empowers and uplifts young ‘hoes'”.

Ann includes an excerpt from an ET article:

One of my main reasons in doing it is because of how powerful I think it is for ladies to watch it. We have a lot of problems and troubles with the youth, period, but it’s the young women who need to be especially strong at this point. […] I want to empower the young ladies out there. It’s about women’s battles on and off the court.

Her reply?:

Like women’s battle not to be seen as meat? The cover of his album Chicken-n-Beer features Ludacris salting a woman’s leg and getting ready to bite into it. (Sexual Politics of Meat, anyone?)

Here’s the cover in question, via Amazon.com.
 
 

ludacris-ChickenNbeer-01

 
 
And a second picture, this one of the cover plus a pull-out (my best guess, anyway), which reveals more of the image.
 
 
ludacris-ChickenNbeer-02

 
 
Of course, the primary message is that women shouldn’t be viewed as (and treated like) “meat” – as objects to be consumed in order to please another. The other part of the equation, which is often negelected in discussions of this sort, is the animal, the “meat.” Just as women shouldn’t be objectified, abused, and treated as a means to an end, neither should animals.

As a feminist, animal rights advocate, and social science geek, this is the sort of topic that fascinates me. Unfortunately (well, fortunately for me!), I’m heading off for a much-deserved three-week vacation soon, so I don’t have time to expound, but this is a hint of what’s to come when I get back and have more time to devote to easyVegan.info.

Imagery that propagates the women-as-animals meme is, sadly, more common than you might realize. Common enough to justify a recurring “Consuming Women” series, methinks. I’ll post ’em as I find ’em; if you’d like to contribute, send me the image of offense at easyvegan [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Consuming Women, No. 1

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Via Feministing, a “creepy, creepy ad” from Ella Bache Paris:
 
 

ella-bache-ad

 
 
Followers of Carol J. Adams, of course, know that linking the consumption of animals with that of women is hardly a new advertising technique. See her “Sexual Politics of Meat” for similar pictures, as well as an overview of the book.

Oh, and if you’re offended by this ad, you can email Ella Bache here.

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