Category Archives: Consumption (incl. ads)

Your Mom Hates This Post


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Your Mom Hates This Post

The advertisers for Dead Space 2 certainly created an unusual set of ads for promoting the game. The premise of the ad was to show some of the gruesome scenes from the game, and show mothers’ reactions to them. All the mothers demonstrated disgust and shock and told the advertisers that they hated the game. This was an interesting way to try to sell the game because it intentionally portrayed the game as deviant because to its violence and gore. It made it seem as though every gamer would want the game because the mothers hated it. By doing this, the advertisers tried to appeal to what they saw to be a deviant subculture of gamers who played particularly violent games against their mothers’ wishes. The campaign could have been taking advantage of the Differential Association Theory (p 197) because it suggests that cool and hardcore gamers will play the game, which plays on the emotions of those who want to fit into that group. Another theory the advertisers could have been counting on is the Labeling Theory (p 192) because they thought that people who play these games could potentially accept the deviant label and engage in secondary deviance by seeking out violent games that would enhance their feeling of belonging in the subculture. While this may have worked on some individuals, I am sure a significant portion of gamers, including myself, were interested in the game because they had played the first one or it seemed like an interesting game. Part of the point is that people tend not to care whether their mothers like the game or not, and those old enough could buy the game without their mothers’ help. This campaign had received both harsh criticism for unintended messages that the ad could send and praise for the novel approach the company took.

Submitted by Samantha Parrotte

Empowerment


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Empowerment

The entire Aerie Real Campaign made a big impact on me when I first heard of it. It seems to be summed up nicely in this little video, though as a disclaimer, can I just say that I was quite anxious to curate this specific piece since it DOES show a scantily clad young lady. However, this hesitancy itself is part of why I think this campaign is valuable and sociologically relevant.

For the most obvious reason, I think that this advertisement is valuable because it redefines beauty, to a large degree. Beauty in the eyes of Aerie is not goddess-gorgeous anymore. But beauty is also not exactly about “loving your body just as it is.” These models are healthy and glowing–they are not re-touched to look impossibly thin and blemish-free, but it DOES look like they are active and healthy. If you know that you are healthy, no matter if you are carrying a few extra pounds or a few too few pounds, then yes, you are beautiful, and I think Aerie is celebrating that. The pressure seems to be off for young girls to always be wishing they looked like models, because suddenly, they do look like models.

For a less obvious reason (and the reason that I decided to use this despite my hesitancy) I think that these sorts of real-life, unapologetic advertisements could help reduce the oversexualization of women’s bodies. When I was in France, I went to a beach where topless sunbathing was allowed. I was struck by how this did not seem super scandalous and sexy, but rather, everyday and ordinary, like watching a guy jog by without a shirt on. Women (most women…) don’t ogle every shirtless jogger because the chest is part of the human body, and the male chest is something we’re used to seeing–it’s not forbidden, and thus not as sexualized. The Aerie ad with it’s total acceptance of and pride in the normalcy of a healthy woman’s body seems like a very empowering step for which Aerie should be commended. As a huge company–being part of American Eagle as well–Aerie was taking a lot of risks in running this campaign, but I think that they knew that it could spark wonderful changes in society as a whole, by changing people’s individual thoughts about women’s bodies.

Submitted by Laura Seabourne

[Example post] Bic Pens for Ladies!

Bic Pen For Her Women Reviews
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The “Bic Cristal for Her” is a good example of how gender can be reinforced through consumption and advertising.  Here a generic item–a pen–has been marked with gender through its name (“for her”), packaging (are those flowers along the edge?), and advertising. As this article about the pen notes, some retailers claim the pens “are reserved for women and feature a diamond-engraved barrel for an elegant, unique feminine style. The tinted, hexagonal barrel is thinner for better handling for women and still keeps the ink supply visible.”  

The absurdity of such claims were called out by consumers in their product reviews.  For example, comments on the Amazon web site have been used as a simple form of protest and resistance, mocking the manufacturer of the needlessly gendered product.  One person wrote, ““Finally! For years I’ve had to rely on pencils, or at worst, a twig and some drops of my feminine blood to write down recipes (the only thing a lady should be writing ever),” the reviewer wrote. “I had despaired of ever being able to write down […]recipes in a permanent manner, though my men-folk assured me that I “shouldn’t worry yer pretty little head”. But, AT LAST! Bic, the great liberator, has released a womanly pen that my gentle baby hands can use without fear of unlady-like callouses and bruises. Thank you, Bic!”

The tone-deaf advertising and the resistance to it are a good example of how gender continues to be contested.