Height. Some bulk/shoulders. Open face. Eyes. Hands. Body hair. Crotch. There. I said it. That’s what I notice, in order, when I check a guy out.
Why this mini-confession?
Well, I had to stop myself spitting at another Axe advert portraying women as a set of body parts reacting to manly manliness.
Remember the ‘Spray and she’ll play’ ads? The new one to come out tries to be clever by slanting objectification both ways, featuring a headless pair of boobs and a faceless head of hair as co-workers falling in love in an office environment. Only hair, because ‘It’s what girls see first’ and presumably only boobs, because that’s what guys see first. These awkward muppets then plop about for days apparently before seeing any other feature relevant to being human.
How rude. We’re only a pair of boobs then? How sexist. I mean, women never, ever only see body parts right? We never pay attention to how men look and how they smell. We’re far too level-headed and sexually neutral for that. And we certainly never reduce their entire character down to the executive position they hold or the car they drive or the band they play in. Right?
Every woman I know has spoken about about a ‘type’ she likes at some point or another. She might not settle down with him or give him her promise ring, but she sure as shit has made a mental list of the attraction points – whether that’s physical or material.
And really, that’s just biology.
Research tells us (so far) that men prefer young women with child-bearing hips, that women would prefer to mate with older, more stable men that have the means to support a family, that scent plays a role in attracting partners, that happy hormones produced by orgasms makes us more cuddly and intimate thus cementing a relationship long enough to produce offspring (dang nab prophylactics), that the romance period lasts only about three years due to body chemicals, that a protein in the male sperm can cause the female body to ovulate and that we unconsciously choose partners based on physical characteristics that will strengthen our genetic line etc etc...
It’s all very unromantic. But it’s a fact that while there might be more than ‘Hi hair, meet boobs’ in the long run, that first flush of attraction is based on a lot of visual and biological cues – both for men and women – that have very little to do with the deep, inner being of the person we’d like to dry hump.
Obviously we’re more than the sum of our booty bits, but can we really slam reductionist advertising for playing this up? It’s advertising after all, not the Kinsey Report. It’s fantasy, not reality. It's a glossy magazine, not the New York Times.
You get my drift.
Lady Lou and I were discussing the merits of the socialised mind to overcome these basic instincts. After all, most of us no longer subscribe to the ‘if you bleed you can breed’ principle, none of my gay friends feel irresistibly drawn to mate with the opposite sex and once Mr Pretty Face has shown himself to be Mr Pretty Big Dumbass most of us don’t still insist on whipping out our IUDs and knitting booties.
But let’s not pretend we don’t do our own measure of objectification. We just do with a lot less crass than men’s advertising allows for.
Axe’s headless ‘boobs and faceless hair’ offering is not clever enough to be outrageous. It’s just taken basic biology, dumbed it down, driven it to the most boring extreme and used stereotypes to do so. Big boobs? Puh-lease. Hair? Yawn. Next time I want to see crotch shots. On a tall man. With big hands.
*Watch the new Axe commercial.
Do you think women also objectify men?
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