Who has the power, Sam de Brito?

There was a column published in yesterday’s ‘M’ lift out of The Sunday Age, written by Sam de Brito. In his article, he discusses how far men will go to “shag” women- playing “the white knight at some point – prancing about a woman, feigning chivalry, when their motives were a little more carnal.” (As a side note, the article isn’t up online yet, so I can’t link to it- but I will as soon as it appears- please see the picture at the bottom of the post for a scan of the article, or visit here for the original article).

Now, I’m not going to disagree that this happens, and Sam gives a few fine examples of just how far men will go to get into a woman’s pant’s. But (isn’t there always a but?), the concept that women hold power over men because of their sexuality and/or attractiveness is tired and oft-used excuse.

I just want to break his argument down into a few points, because I found it so unbelievably ignorant in some parts.

  • The idea that the “knowledge” of the “crazy lengths [that] blokes will go to to bed a woman… could be of huge value to most women”.

Women are told consistently about how their attractiveness gives them a certain sort of power. The thing is, this ‘power’ is a very narrow, specific type. It’s restricted to women that men find attractive. For arguments sake, I would say that these women are typically physically attractive (as De Brito says himself, one of the girls in his story was a ‘cutie’). If this power was truly worthwhile, it would be applicable to more than just a select group of women. As one writer puts it, the power the command attention in this fashion is so circumscribed – if it was really empowering, wouldn’t it be empowering for all women? Where are the 70 year old lap dancers?

It’s all very well and good to say that attractive women have power because men want to have sex with them, but by doing so it dismisses all the other ways in which women lack power. Women are still, on average, paid less than men. Women are underrepresented in our Parliament, and in upper-ranking positions in businesses. And before anyone starts telling me about how women can use their sexuality to advance themselves, just remember this: women shouldn’t HAVE to do this. This ‘power’ of being attractive, or appealing to a person’s sexuality, isn’t something that women should have to use. They should be respected in their own right, and not have to call upon their their sexuality to get what they want or need.

  • “This… shows the crazy lengths blokes will go to to bed a woman, but also how craven and duplicitous we can be once we’ve achieved that goal”.

Come on. Really? You’re also going to insult men now? Not all men will “crawl a mile over broken glass” to reach a woman – and not all are craven and duplicitous once they actually do. Can we please stop with the gender stereotypes for a moment and recognise that some men (along with some women) will go to great lengths to have sex – and other men and women simply won’t. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that. Stop buying into these cheap stereotypes, and stop perpetuating them with columns such as this. Branch out and write something that recognises the vast difference between various men and various women, and try not to further reinforce this “women are sexy so they have power” stereotype any more.

Apologies for the poor quality scan, but I thought it would be best to have some copy of the article online, as I can’t link to a copy. Just double click to enlarge the image.

How do you feel about drinking Pussy?

But really, how do you feel about drinking pussy?

Oh, not THAT sort of pussy! No. God, don’t be so FILTHY. I meant the energy drink, clearly! No double entendres here, thanks very much. See, look, THE DRINK!

Straight from the Pussy website, apparently, “the name Pussy shocks and demands attention – that’s the point. Inhibition is a recipe for mediocrity. This is a premium energy drink named with confidence.”

Ah – so I am *supposed* to be shocked! Well, that’s okay then. Funnily enough, it doesn’t mention anything about me also feeling vaguely homicidal, and wanting to punch the creators in the face. Guess they had a limited word count.

The other part that I find vaguely hilarious (in between me head butting the wall, that is). “This is a premium energy drink named with confidence.”

Confidence? Really?! See, I would have gone with stupidity, sexism, idiocy, and downright blatant misogyny before I would have said “confidence”. Maybe they were confident in their idiocy? Confident in their ability to laugh off the ridiculous amount of sexism they’ve managed to pack into one marketing campaign?

After trawling through their website, I’ve reproduced a few of snappy marketing one liners on there for your amusement:

“Pussy starts conversations. It believes in having a good time as often as possible”

“Looking for Pussy? To find out which bars, venues and stores stock Pussy near you, call us on 020 7348 9870.”

“Pussy is a 100% natural drink. No nasty chemicals and nothing manufactured. It is made for people looking for a natural alternative.”

“Pussy is spontaneous, entertaining, optimistic and fun.”

(All quotes taken from the Pussy website)

(Also, if you’re my mother and you’re reading this, please skip the next paragraph).

Now, let’s theoretically pretend that this double meaning is ACTUALLY trying to refer to a woman’s genitals for a minute, and compare what they’ve said with the truth.

Is my vagina spontaneous? Only when it decides to send me my period a week early, or late. So I guess you can have that one, Pussy.

Is my vagina entertaining? Only since I taught it how to play the piano.

Is it optimistic? God yes. Sometimes my vagina and I just sit up late into the night, talking. And I’m all, “God, my life is SO SHIT”, and my vagina is then all, “Nawww, Jess, cheer up! Be happy! You’ve got such a good life!”. Yep. My vagina is definitely optimistic.

Is is fun? Of course. Sometimes my vagina and I just go out for coffee, and get our nails done together, and then we sit on the beach.. oh, wait. I’m thinking of this ad now:

Does my vagina start conversations? Perhaps not mine specifically, but I do know that, according to popular culture, it’s all that men seem to talk about. So again, correct. Though personally, my vagina’s not that chatty.

And if you’re looking for my vagina? You probably won’t find it by calling that number.

But, in all serious, and vagina jokes aside, this entire ad campaign and product is just foul. It’s disgusting, it’s stupid, and it’s trying to play into a market of double meanings and rude jokes.

Not only does it manage to take sexism in advertising to an entire new level, but it also does so whilst claiming that it is pushing the boundaries, and by not being “mediocre”.

The creator (a man, obviously), Jonnie Shearer, obviously did not consider the thousands of women who are going to be serving drinks behind a bar, or simply standing beside someone as they order a “pussy”. He is obviously never going to be in the position of being an 18-year-old bar maid on a busy Saturday night, when some sleazy guy leans over and asks her for a pussy. I’m not saying that Jonnie Shearer caused these situations – but by god, he most certainly had a hand in furthering the instances of them.

All things aside, it is NOT okay for this sort of post-modern, retro sexist, double-entendre stinking pile of crap to exist. It simply isn’t. Anyone with half a brain can see that their advertising campaigns are blatantly sexist, and if it was up to me, I would show Jonnie Shearer the world that exists outside of his male-dominated perspective. A world where rape exists, a world where “pussy” is actually sold in the sex trade, and a world where woman have to be confronted with their genitals treated as a form of humour for this “natural energy drink”.

And just in case you were in any doubt about whether this product, and their advertisements, are sexist? Here are a few more posters advertising the drink:

You could argue that, perhaps, these ads are empowering. I mean in the last one the woman is clearly getting *something* out of it. And in the others, all the women seem to be having a pretty good time.

But there’s a few things I’d like to point out. In all but one ad, the man is holding the drink- ie, he is drinking the pussy (and in the last ad, he appears to be literally doing that). The woman is always naked, the man is always clothed – he’s a position of power, and she’s in a state of undress (which, coincidentally, is how uncomfortable some women might feel after seeing these ads. Like they’re naked). And finally? The women are all typically attractive (as are the men – but the men aren’t naked). Yet another body image issue for women to be concerned about. The only women deemed suitable to have ‘attractive pussies’ are slim, have light skin, and are young.

I’ll leave the final word to the advertising guru, Don Draper.

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay.”

Pussy seem to have forgotten this while they were busy trying to create attention for themselves. Controversy wanes, publicity wanes, but happiness doesn’t. And who on earth is this drink supposed to make happy? Not women. Not the majority of men. That leaves them a very small market.

Don Draper isn’t pleased with you, pussy.

Maxibon’s latest JAWSOME effort

This ad is a strong contender for the Worst Ad of the Year. It reeks on every level of sexism, objectification, and general stupidity. Not to mention it looks like it was designed by a bunch of snotty, sniggering 15 year olds.

However. We here at YADTW do not discriminate between the unwittingly bad and the deliberately terrible ads- instead, we will metaphorically castrate the lot of them before throwing them back into the dog house. So, without further ado, let us begin:

So many questions…

DO I have a weak bite? DOES it prevent me from enjoying man food?

Clearly, I DO have a weak bite. Just like this guy. And like him, I also have to walk around licking an ice cream and wearing teddy bear floaties. It was alright up until those floods. Then everyone started thinking I was an alarmist. The social embarrassment factor has been THROUGH THE ROOF.

But fear not! Maxibon have a designed a, uh, CHEW TOY  (how very manly. A freakin’ chew toy) to build up my chindominals and jawceps (yes, those are technical terms) and I will be transformed into a BITING GOD. Just like this guy:

(As a side note, I’m not sure if being a biting god is a good thing. Especially if you’re in the hooker industry. Which, for the record, I am not. But just sayin’…you’d only be useful when someone needed some nuts cracked, in my opinion)

Additionally, Maxibon appear to have a fondness for the word “man”. how many times can they say “man” in a sentence. Three times? Five?

“The man choc, man biscuit and crunchy man nuts make for one freakin’ manly manwhich, man. And that’s why you need manchew.”

Seven. Of COURSE. How could I forget about the MANWHICH and the MAN NUTS?!

See? Even the token ‘hot babe’ was shocked that I forgot about the man nuts! How could I?!

And Maxibon have actually demonstrated that chewing on a dog toy has links to “spikes in testosterone”. They even have charts and shit, people!

Someone should really tell this to those AMI penis people- that way, we can have a bunch of dudes simultaneously nostril snorting and chewing. Excellent.

Maxibon also helpfully suggest that I “man chew at home, man chew at work, and man chew for two!”. Excellent! So much chewing for me to do!

I can just imagine now what happens when I bust my man chew toy out at work.

My boss: “What are you doing?!”

Me: “WHUFJKEMDSX” *slobbers*

My boss: “You’re insane. You’re also fired.”

Finally, Maxibon has decided to advertise that they “have a reserve stash of man chews that they found in a warehouse somewhere”. How very precise. A warehouse ‘somewhere’. But they don’t want these man chews going to just “any old lickers”. Oh no. Only the “worthy” lickers. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my moment. I can now get the jawceps I was destined for.

And then I can pick up these lay-dies (even though they look like a bunch of lickers to, I’m cool with that… *wink wink, nudge nudge*) and go do ‘manly stuff’. Then I’ll chew on my manly chew toy for 10 minutes every day. AND. IT. WILL. BE. JAWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!

Why I hate customers

Ahhhh, Christmas. The time of year where everyone simultaneously sticks their heads up their arseholes and walks around being complete and utter idiots for a month. And for the remaining people who have to SERVE these people at checkouts and cash registers across the country? Why, we’re the one having nervous breakdowns in the corner.

I hate customers. Despise them. After two years in one hospitality job, three years as a check out chick, and now another few months into my second hospitality/customer service job (that’s right, folks. I decided to COMBINE the two. Smart move) I can honestly say that the vast majority of customers are self-absorbed, ignorant bastards who will fuck you over to get what they want. Am I bitter? Perhaps. But I’m also speaking from experience. Allow me to demonstrate.

To the man who decided that the best way to get a refund for his broken lighter would be to throw it at me: You’re a violent little prick, and you deserve to be locked up. Honestly.

I understand that your lighter was broken, but IT COST YOU $1.50. Here’s a suggestion: suck it up, Princess, and BUY A NEW ONE. Don’t launch the broken one at me from three metres away whilst screaming in Mandarin like a lunatic. Because I will laugh at you for approximately the next two years, and then have you escorted out by security.

To my stalker: No, you will never be able to see “what’s underneath my blouse”. Nor will I ever allow you to sneak a peek at “my fine breasts”. You are a sad, perverted, psychotic man and I’m waiting for a sketch of you to appear on those Crimestoppers ads.

To the woman who once called me a “bitch” because I wouldn’t give her the packet of cigarettes with the pretty picture of the Quit call line number on it, as opposed to the one with the ugly, blackened toes on it: you will still get cancer from these cigarettes. It doesn’t matter what’s on the packet, you’re still going to get lung cancer and die. And by calling me a bitch, you’ve guaranteed yourself a life time of shitty customer service from the Supermarket Karma Gods, you ungrateful whore.

Finally: to every other customer who feels the need to complain about how busy it is/how long you’ve waited in line/ how shit the parking is: IT’S CHRISTMAS. If you don’t like it, DO YOUR SHOPPING IN JULY. And try having an ounce of pity for those of us who have listen to your shit all day, every day. We’re not qualified psychologists, so stop whining about shit to someone who’s only paid to swipe your presents for your kids and your in laws and that stupid KK  present from work, and start whining to a qualified professional. Christ.

And on that note, I’m off to work. Sorry to all the customers I have to work with today.