Radfem-ological Images (Dove Bar and York Peppermint Pattie)

by FCM

as all the HUB bloggers converged this week, setting this place up and having behind-the-scenes discussions regarding what we wanted this place to be, doing meta-analysis of fun-fem critiques was not the game plan.  but what can i say?  i have been inspired.  and while its not the mission for this blog, or even necessarily my own long-term plan, to perform regular meta-analyses of fun-fem commentary (or lack of commentary, as the case may be) i will probably be engaging in some of this from time to time.  like now, with this post.  its meta!

so with that in mind…has everyone about had enough of fun-fem critiques of media images?  are you verily sick of it?  to be fair, obviously, being sickened by the fun-fems treatment of the issues is of a different type and degree than whats evoked when viewing misogynist empornulated images themselves…when i see media images of women and how we are portrayed in the media under the P, its both revolting and enraging (to name but two) and it makes me only too aware that, instead of spending my hard-earned cash on any of the items being hawked to me by television (and billboards and adverts in public places, newspapers etc) i really need to be saving whatever pennies i have for a rainy day.  which for women of course means when we are sick, old, lose our jobs, or are otherwise more vulnerable than we are now, to dangerous, predatory PIV-entitled men.  oh, and that i should be shouting this from the rooftops, wherever possible.  save, dont spend!  do the former, and refrain from the latter, to whatever extent you can.  thats all i am saying.  i know that many of us cant, and that this is deliberate, and its what creates the sex-class.  for women, saving money (or at least not spending it, or not spending it on stupid crap) is harm-reduction only. 

by contrast, when i see fun-fem critiques of misogynist empornulated media images, well, frankly i find it draining…actually, physically fatiguing, and it puts me to sleep.  god!  its so boring!  and if i wasnt so tired, i might actually be upset that the fun-fems are mis-using and abusing their platform so badly.  i mean really.  say something that matters, please!  of course, i know they never will, and that the continuation of their platform depends on it.  its okay, i get it.  moving on.

here are 2 commercials i have seen recently, and i really wish i hadnt.  the first one is a york peppermint patty commercial featuring YPP’s longstanding motto “get the sensation” which has been sexed-up for modern, eh, consumption:

and this is a dove-bar commercial thats so gross it makes me feel as if *i* have shoved an entire dove-bar down my throat, then threw it up, and then ate the throwup (seriously, howd they do that?  it actually leaves me with the impression that something intrusive and ice-cream related has happened to me, in real life):

heres another one from dove-bar.  just, ew!  for anyone who remembers what yorks commercials used to look like, you can see older videos here and here that tend to illustrate that their advertising (for candy, FFS) has recently become decidedly more empornulated. 

anyway, what the fun-fems would probably say about these images is that they are utilizing “sexuality in advertising” or something generic about objectifying women, or using “sex” to sell things.  well, first of all…why is the “objectification” of women in advertising unacceptable to fun-fems at all, when they seem okay with the sexual objectification of women in every other situation?  this is a serious question.  as is this: how the hell can they hawk their lipstick-and-stilettos pro-consumerist rhetoric as being “empowering” for women, independently of the misogynist empornulated imagery that accompanies it, and which deliberately targets women to keep us poor, and therefore permanent members of the disadvantaged sex-class?

in fact, the fun-fems have completely swallowed, hook line and sinker, what sheila jeffreys refers to as the “unreflective politics of orgasm” where female-orgasmic PIV-centric sex, as opposed to female-inorgasmic PIV-centric sex, is promised to be revolutionary for women.  of course, this is impossible, due to the female-specific harms of PIV on which the entire patriarchal structure is so clearly dependant.  but why are the fun-fems also saying, at the exact same time they are saying that actual porn is okay, that empornulated images in advertising, particularly, are a problem? 

and more specifically, why is any of this important to us, as feminists?  thats where the fun-fems never want to go.  they just leave their “critiques” and their readers hanging here, as if they have said everything that needs to be said.  when in fact, they have failed to go to the ends of their thoughts on the issue, or on any of the issues they write about.

of course, from a radical perspective, sexual objectification of women in advertising is actually a legitimate concern.   the real reason, of course, that these empornulated images are problematic for women is that they highlight, encourage and “sell” heterosexual PIV-centric sexuality to both women and men, which is the very foundation of male dominance, and of female submission to men.  and where media images are a force, and both the (literal) text and the subtext in our culture, where particularly city-dwellers are exposed to some 5000 advertising images a day.  hello!

okay?  empornulated images in advertising are problematic because they are PIV propaganda, and PIV is harmful to women and not to men.  and the female-specific harm of PIV represents the key to the patriarchal kingdom.  it really does.

to be clear, empornulated imagery in advertising is not problematic in a feminist context because its “unfair” to women, or because it causes disordered eating, or anything else.  even though these things might be true, issues of “fairness” and unfortunateness that could theoretically befall anyone, regardless of sex — like eating disorders — might be of humanist, but not of radical feminist concern.  as a matter of fact, why the fun-fems continue to frame their discourse as “feminist” at all is an issue that needs discussing, and that i hope will be discussed, here and elsewhere.

oh, and i am never eating a dove-bar again, due to nausea.  or, at least i wont be eating one today.  seriously.  that dove-bar commercial had the opposite of its intended effect, on this radical feminist.  heh.  which isnt really a surprise now is it?


12 Responses to “Radfem-ological Images (Dove Bar and York Peppermint Pattie)”

  1. Actually, I think meta-analysis of fun-fem critiques does have a role. As someone who recently found these radfem blogs, it has been a benefit. “third-wave feminism” was all I could find for a while and I found it confusing, kind of a WTF??? scratching my head, trite, well kinda like madison avenue had taken over feminism and was trying to sell it as widely as possible and to the lowest common denominator, with that whole fairness to everyone deal, etc. While the analysis may not be central, I suspect that many women will be coming here who have been exposed to a lot of fun-fem stuff and making the distinctions quickly saves time and energy. For those of us still getting up to speed.

    And ugh, those commercials. . .

  2. hi katie

    yes, i hope that these posts *do* have a role. i always thought about doing something like this, but never thought that my “other blog” was the right forum. this feels better. and i have heard from other women that their first exposure to feminism was from media-critiques like soc images etc. this was the case for me too, and i always enjoyed media criticism because the images are so clearly misogynist and offensive…the fun-fems just never say WHY that is so. and the truth is that their own philosophy (if you can call it that) prevents them from performing a meaningful critique, because they are consumerist, pro-porn, and refuse to criticise either PIV or men as a sexual class.

    thanks for reading! and i am glad you “enjoyed” the ads! (agh, the nausea…)

  3. I agree, I would kinda of like to see more rad fem take downs of popular media culture. Warning: slightly relevant story time which shall hopefully develop into an actual point but I make no guarantees!

    After I left my more conservative home and got into college I fell in love with sociology. More so, I fell in love with suddenly realizing that holy crap there are patterns and the culture around us affects us and it was amazing. College was also the first time I had cable to watch (we were a very non tv centric house) and so at the same time that I was learning about sociology and examining culture I was also knee deep in reality tv (mostly on MTV and VH1). Seriously, the reality dating shows were a staple for me for my 3.5 years of college, much to my roommate’s dismay. But I so enjoyed watching shows like I ❤ New York and giggling as I used my new found skills to critique the shows and the editing and whatnot. These were very much my pre-feminism years, since I really didn't get into feminism until I was out of college for a year or so. But the college stuff and reality tv gave me such a drive to examine pop culture, and sites like soc images that looked at pop culture images and gave them a slight feminist spin pushed me to examine feminist critique of these images all around us. Of course, I soon grew out of the fun fem phase and my thinking has def become more radical over the years, but I still go to sites like soc images to get a dose of the pop culture examination that I miss so much. Their criticisms are often lacking, which is unfortunate, and since those are the majority of the pop culture take downs I've read I feel my ability to critique things like these ads or to even just discuss them is lacking. Like I don't have the vocab or I'm just so used to viewing pop culture through a more fun-fem lens. Like you said above, the use of sex in the ad is obvious, but no one ever takes that further. To the obvious conclusion. And the fun-fems never seem to see how they denounce this type of sex in the media yet they will still praise porn and endorse slut walks. So it's like, of course that makes no sense, but I've gotten so used to stopping at the fun-fem conclusion that my brain almost never thinks to take it that one step further. To really take a step back from the tree and see the forest, even though I know the forest is there. You know?

    I guess in short, lol, I would not mind more of these types of posts at all. I totally think there's a place for them, especially if this rad fem hub is supposed to also cater to those who may not be well versed in radical feminism and are just moving away from fun feminism. Would be good for those who need to strengthen the rad fem thinking muscles. 🙂

  4. Also, you seriously make me laugh. The Dove bar throw up? Priceless. 😀 Although, I think it will be a while before I eat any ice cream as well, Dove or otherwise. 😛

  5. I definitely believe radfem analysis and critique of what passes for funfem “analysis” and “critique” has a place. I was actually thinking of starting a blog dedicated to that, but I realised I haven’t found my writing voice yet. The takeover and colonisation of feminism is going ahead full speed and I think debunking all the crap that gets called “feminism” nowadays is useful, especially for the benefit of those women who, like KatieS said, can only find third wave feminism around them but feel that something’s missing. Kind of a “the emperor’s naked” thing, which could hopefully help women see funfem “analyses” for what they really are.

    Anyway, I look forward to this blog, whatever it’s gonna end up focusing on! Really excited about the whole radical hub project.

  6. HA! yes, dovebar vomit. its exactly as appetizing as the commercial. seriously, whoever came up with this one was completely (COMPLETELY!) pornsick.

  7. Non-radical feminism is bait and switch. It’s all bait, no feminism. Make-up, with nothing underneath it. Just what the boys wanted.

  8. The actress/model in the Peppermint Pattie ad writes your anti-blog FCM:


    They must have cast her because she’s living the marketing.

  9. omg! thanks for that bit of investigative journalism delphyne. i had no idea.

  10. ok that blog is NSFW! holy shit. she really is living the marketing isnt she? ugh! for anyone who hasnt looked, or is afraid to look, or is at work…its even worse than the peppermint pattie commerical (but not as bad as the dovebar one).


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