This video uses contrasting shots to show what it would look like if men were asked to play the same kinds of hypersexualized and objectifying roles women are asked to portray in advertisements. For each commercial featured in this video, men are placed in the same positions and roles as the women in the original commercials, and the images are framed side-by-side or back-to-back for comparison. For example, one of the commercials is fast food chain Hardees and Carl’s Jrs.’s charbroiled Atlantic cod fish sandwich ad, which features an attractive female model eating the sandwich in a string bikini on a tropical beach. She poses suggestively as she eats the sandwich, and there are several close-up shots of various parts of her body, including scenes of her spraying herself down with tanning oil in the heat. Each suggestive pose and action is mimicked in a side-by-side comparison with a similarly dressed man posing, eating, and spraying himself down in the same ways, with the same beach background. The video is meant to point out the discomfort, humor, or ridiculousness we see in portraying men in this kind of hypersexualized and objectifying way, and prompts viewers to consider why it is “normal” and acceptable that women are so frequently represented this way in ads and media. With the tagline “more than a piece of meat,” this video was published in 2014 and created by BuzzFeed, a media, news, entertainment, and reporting website that crafts content that can be easily shared and spread through social media.
How are the women in the original commercials represented? What are their actions, poses, facial expressions, and behaviors conveying? Why do these same actions, poses, and expressions seem ridiculous, humorous, or uncomfortable when the men are shown doing them?
If the gender roles were in fact reversed in these commercials, would these ads be as effective in selling their products? Why or why not?
This video’s tagline is, “more than just a piece of meat.” What does this mean and how does it relate to the commercials? Why is it important for women to be valued for more than their bodies and conventional standards of sexual attractiveness?
What is this video getting at by pointing out these differences in gender representation? Do you think it is successful with its message? Why or why not?