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I don’t need to walk around in circles…

(For post title reference, go here…ironically, this got stuck in my head while reading Labrat’s post, and it’s oddly appropriate.)

Labrat has touched on a subject that I’ve been talking about with Forrest nearly every time we watch television:

The second thing bound up within the culture of manhood we’re discussing is the idea that the worst thing in the world is femininity. Oh, it’s fine for girls and women, who simply can’t help it and have some other stuff going in their favor like being sexy, but the worst possible thing a boy or man can do is be girly. Sissy, pussy (female genitals), girly-man, even the various gay-related slurs all have to do with being somehow womanlike. For reasons that should be obvious but perhaps are not, feminists are somewhat perturbed by the notion that being like a woman is an absolutely horrible thing that any right-thinking man must do his best to avoid. It doesn’t put women in a great position, and being able to have babies and cry isn’t nearly as much a consolation prize as it might seem***.

RTWT.  Trust me.

As Dr. Helen has said many times, there is a serious lack of respect between sexes.

For my part, I accept that guys are guys are guys are PEOPLE, and just avoid the ones I don’t care for.

Guess what?  I do the same with women.

I’m going to talk a bit about what LabRat has discussed, but like I said, my viewpoint comes more from recent eye-opening commercial-viewing than anything else, though I will be (of course) talking about my personal preferences.

For a while, when I was living with Wasband, I would surf the net while watching TV late at night, so I never really paid attention to commercials.  Now that I’m rooming with Forrest, we’ll watch about an hour or so of TV a night before he goes to bed and I come to my bedroom to just fart around online until I can get to sleep.

And you know what?  Oh, my fucking GOD we’re in a weird place with gender roles.

Men are inept and time-wasting, women are know-it-alls, but they’re also sluts who can’t stay away from [insert smelly man product here] or [insert yogurt brand here].  It’s like the demasculinization of men and the sexualization of women crashed head-first into each other and then threw up all over ad agencies.

Most of my examples come from one company, but you’ll see other examples linked at the bottom.  The reason I’m going with this company is because their commercials have the tendency to either make me think they’re joking, or make my jaw drop in indignation.

That company is Axe.  You may know them for their inability to do anything but make men think that no matter what, women will fuck them if they (the men) are wearing any Axe product.

The “Even Angels Fall” Axe commercial?  Makes me nearly throw up in my mouth.  So, naturally, I’m going to share it with you.

And the “wash your balls” commercial for the Axe Detailer?  Okay, so I laughed my ass off at that one, because I seriously thought it was some sort of weird skit (come on…it stars Jaime Pressly as a caricature of Christie Kerr!), and then I was like, “Wait a second.  WHAT?”  There’s even a shot of a guy sitting there with two blue kickballs in his lap, looking meaningfully at the woman sitting next to him.

I’m all for a clean, nice-smelling guy.  Forrest uses products that make him smell like himself, just…clean.  But he doesn’t use an over-abundance of douchey-sounding body sprays that apparently (from the looks of the first commercial) stink to high heaven*.  Frankly, I’d rather hug a sweaty guy who just got done working outside.  “Pit stank” doesn’t bother me…most colognes do.

There IS a balance, and that balance of natural and supplemental fragrances is what can make or break an attraction.  It’s all about chemistry.

You’ll notice that in the body spray commercial, the models are skinny and euphemistically gorgeous**, dressed in “rags”, and are willing to give up their place in Heaven just for the chance to…what?  Fight over a guy who is wearing artificial musk?  Have an orgy?  I imagine the wings might get in the way, but you get my point.  A guy sprays on this scent, and women are literally falling all over themselves to fuck him.

In the clean balls commercial, you have two women lecturing men on how to keep their “equipment” clean by using a special sponge that looks more like something I’d use on my heels and elbows to exfoliate them.  The men seemed embarrassed but grateful for the information and the opportunity to have their balls “cleaned and handled” by the two women presenting the product.  Tennis, golf, and soccer balls are used, but it’s a clear correlation.

So the message HERE is that you won’t get anyone to touch your balls unless you clean them with this special loofah/sponge thing (the blue-ball guy is shown after the demonstration, and he’s not one of the guys willing to toss balls down for cleaning).  There’s even an elderly man who comes out with two half-deflated, leather rugby balls.  A few seconds with the scrubber, and the leather is oiled and the balls are suddenly full of air and life!

Selling sex, especially for Axe products, isn’t new.  In fact, using them as an example is probably not in my best interest, but there are good examples here for the point I’d actually like to make.

The guy in the body spray commercial is half-shaven and rides a moped.  He’s dirty-looking, and wearing a wife-beater under his weirdly-poofy riding jacket.  Traditionally, this is a look we down here in the South like to call “white trash.”  This man clearly doesn’t give a fuck about his appearance, and mopeds are viewed as a less-than-masculine way to get around in this country (clearly, this commercial was filmed with Europe in mind…a place where some ‘Murrican Men think “sissification” is inevitable, but where mopeds are pretty much embraced for getting around in areas where cars and even motorcycles aren’t really welcome/useful).  He’s skinny, lacks chest hair (o noes), and seems bemused that these gorgeous women are coming up to him and displaying sexual aggression.  At the end of the commercial, he spritzes on some more spray in his bedroom, and a thump is heard on the roof.

One squirt of the product, and this man is clearly going to hell, but he will be surrounded by sexy expats with concussions!  Sexy, sexy hell!  Woo!

Old Spice does a somewhat similar campaign, but they’re being obviously comical about it, and their commercials are designed to stick with you to cause you to remember their product, rather than just associate it with sex.  Even the first commercial from their new campaign says, “I’m the man your man could smell like.”  But then?  HE’S ON A BOAT.  HIS HAND IS BLEEDING DIAMONDS.  HE’S ON A MOTHERFUCKING HORSE.  HOW DID THEY DO THAT?!?  The commercial ITSELF is the drawing power, not the promise of sex (though, yes, it’s implied in a goofy way).  While selling a product that has, throughout my childhood, been associated with older guys, Old Spice managed to make their product fun by presenting the product as sexy AND masculine in a strangely self-deprecating way***.  Rather than telling the man that he will get oodles of poon by using Old Spice products, the company asks women to consider whether they would actually enjoy the product on the man of their choosing.  Personally, I don’t care how you dress it up, that’s refreshing, and smart advertising.

Let’s go back to the “clean balls” commercial.  I posted the unedited version up there, but after only 3 or 4 days (trust me…this is when I was watching late-night TV every single night), they watered it down because the original was deemed too racy and offensive.  Ironically, I can’t find the edited version.

Oh, look – here’s one with a MAN acting like an idiot!  Oh, wait…he’s doing it because a woman is flashing her underwear at him, presumably because of his choice of scent product.

*sigh*

The women in these commercials are “empowered” in that they are expressing themselves sexually to a man, and aggressively so.

However, the man is not the target – the scent he’s wearing is.

And every INCH of him, including his balls, has to be clean and smell like Axe, or else those sexy ladies up front with the ball-scrubber won’t come anywhere near him.

The women are in control for that brief period, but in the end, they’re teaching the men in the audience how to control women using olfactory ammunition.  “I’d play with your balls if you cleaned them using this Axe scrubber and body wash!”  In short:  Axe Detailer = blowjob.

Where have I seen this sort of thing before…

Oh, yeah.

 

So.  Anyone else think we’re headed a bit backwards?  Or is it just me, in my nonsensical, rambling way?

_____

*C’mon…you know that one deserves a rimshot.

**Yes, I did mean “euphemistically.”  Has anyone else ever thought about how most models, with their tall and thin silhouettes, are vaguely phallic-looking?  Just stand the ones with big boobs on their heads.  I’m totally serious.  Think about it.

***I suddenly have a craving for Power Thirst.

17 comments to I don’t need to walk around in circles…

  • Kimberly

    What about the Vagisil commercials where the woman is embarrassed to be on the elevator with someone else because of her smelly vagina? The implication for men is that if you wash your balls then women will be all over you. Where’s the reward for women? That if you use Vagisil wipes people will stop asking you if you smell fish?

    FWIW, I’ve never known ANYONE who bought Axe body spray. Body wash makes sense, and cologne is nice, but body spray just makes you seem like a douchebag.

    • I HATE those Vagisil wipes commercials! “Oh, no…another woman just walked on the elevator…now I can’t scratch my vaj!” If your poon smells THAT bad and itches THAT much, change your detergent, stop wearing tight pants, and check with your doc to make sure everything’s working okay down south. GAH. According to the commercial, a woman who knows how to keep her vagina fresh using these wipes will be able to talk to her co-workers without being self-conscious. Switch “co-workers” with “husband”, and we have another winner.

      I’ve known several people who’ve used Axe body spray. One was a douche-y teenager. Another was a douche-y ex. Others were guys I met at parties, whom I subsequently decided to avoid. So not to stereotype or anything, but yeah…it’s like a marinade for douchenozzles.

  • AMEN, Sister! I’m glad I’m neurotic, and not hypochondriacal! Can you imagine? I’d be thinking I have gout, baldness, cancer, E D, indigestion, constipation, bad intestinal flora, phlegm, flushing, blushing, high-stool, seat cramps, delayed borborigmous and shortness-of-pants! (okay the last few were from Firesign Theatre). And I’d think the only women who were attractive were built like 14 year old boys! gfa

    • The side-effects lists after most drug commercials are a great source of lulz in this household. A Viagra commercial the other night said, “Please ask your doctor if you are able to have sex” in that super-serious voice-over, and I nearly spit my drink.

      Excuse me, sir, is this your bar of soap?

  • Sigivald

    I know I’m a weird guy.

    Because I played that Axe commercial, and the thing that stood out is “ooh! a W123 taxi, in Reed Green, with euro-spec lights!”

  • motherslittlehelper

    that “fallen angel” commercial was the most annoying and hideous i’ve seen lately.

  • My blog post a week ago started that whole Peter/Labrat discussion. I got lost when it started to make sense…

    • The one about masculinity? I thought it was a great post. It’s funny how the meaning and point of an argument like that can change as it passes from blogger to blogger. I think your post made lots of sense, as-is.

      • Thank you. Yes the idea left my blog and evolved. Not that it doesn’t have merit in the life it has now, but the humble beginnings were… humble.

        • How are they humble? They’re just a different type of argument. Your post is about finding a balance between being a MAN and being a man. Mine is about the balance between the stupid gender-role fight that’s become comically bassackwards. Same base, different directions. Your post has a lot of merit on its own…don’t knock it because you kept it simple. :-)

  • What is this “Axe” of which you people speak? Of course, I wash my body and my hair (when I wash) with Kirk’s Castile, use unscented Edge shaving cream, and anoint my pits with baking soda. I use unscented laundry detergent, too.

    No, really, I only know about Axe from people disparaging it on the Internet. Not having a TV, I’ve never seen a commercial for it.