One can do so much with 1 pen

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9 Comments

  1. Pedal
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    This graffiti is sexist. The diamond industry is evil, but two wrongs definitely don’t make a right.

  2. Posted July 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Please explain how it is sexist?

  3. Pedal
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Dear Steve,

    I think it is obvious that characterizing women as “whores” is hardly progressive. In this context, it seems to be used in a hateful manner to reinforce the tired “gold digger” stereotype–the assumption that a lot of women out there are greedy bitches who want the men with whom they are romantically involved to buy them fancy things in order to prove their love/earn sexual favors.

    So what does this graffiti do to critique the diamond industry, or the advertising industry? How does it positively contribute to anti-corporate discourse?

  4. Joshua May
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    @Pedal: so you’re suggesting this is an accurate portrayal of a woman’s (your?) “reminder of what forever looks like”?

    And frankly, you’re the one making the assumption that “whore” implies “female”, and is thus sexist in this context. Beyond that, though, neither the graffiti nor the advert itself necessarily imply that all people/women are the target demographic.

    It’s offensive, yes, but it’s not sexist. (If I had a penny for every time someone said something offensive..)

  5. Posted July 11, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    First, I see your point and absolutely appreciate the sentiment. I just wanted to know what exactly you were upset about. I’ll respond with a few more questions:

    Is this graffiti saying that all women are whores?

    Does mentioning the word whore make something sexist, or even necessarily about women?

    Which is dealing with a stereotype, the ad or the graffiti? Is the graffiti introducing a stereotype, or responding to one? How does the graffiti impact the ads use of stereotypes?

    Would the humor work here if it wasn’t as over the top?

    Those of us who care about these issues (like we both do) need to find creative ways to point them out – better if we can wrap it all up in a joke. With a few strokes of a pen there’s an economy of means here that, grabs your attention, and turns a vapid diamond ad on it’s head. It does so in a way that, I believe, is more compelling than the original ad itself – though I would never phrase it the same way. If you want to battle sexism there are already messages out there that in bold, innovative, and compelling advertising that are representing the opposing view. One must avoid sounding shrill and righteous because not many will listen when given the choice between the two.

    Last, I assume the readers of this site and most people have a level of intelligence that can read with nuance, understand the role of humor and how it works, and are going to interpret information with their own filters and subtlety. I assume that readers can see something that might be shocking, take what’s valuable from it, and leave the rest.

  6. Posted July 12, 2009 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    There are similar photos in this Sociological Images blog post –

    “Resistance To Objectifying Advertising”
    http://contexts.org/socimages/2009/06/29/resistance-to-objectifying-advertising/

    Cheers.

  7. Dan Roy
    Posted July 25, 2009 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    i don´t see this as sexist.

    I simply see it as a good way to remind people that showing someone you care should be done on an emotional level, not by buying the largest piece of carbon you can´t afford.

  8. Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    two wrongs definitely don’t make a right? how about one wrong and one right? would this pair make wrong or right? or two rights… do they always make a right? )

    btw, well put, dan.

  9. johndough
    Posted September 5, 2009 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    wow…i guess it’s completely lost on everyone that diamond rings are generally given to women as engagement rings. doesn’t have to be that way, but culturally, that’s how it’s done. advertising relies on these cultural cues, as does the message scrawled on the ad. whores are not necessarily women, but generally that’s how the word is used, so it’s not a stretch to think (again, from our cultural perspective) that that is how it is meant. if one wanted to be more ambiguous, there are other words that would serve that purpose better. the choice of words in political/activist messages are never meaningless.

    it doesn’t have to be saying that all women are whores to be sexist. it’s relying on a sexist stereotype that even the ad doesn’t explicitly call on.

    humor is nice–when it’s not at your expense. alas, this is not funny. it’s just obnoxious.

    i think the message we should all take from this is that just because someone agrees with your politics, doesn’t mean they can’t be sexist.

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