Thursday, 19 February 2009

Meat heads



This ad was sent to me by a rather stunned THM reader, who asked who exactly it was supposed to appeal to?

When I looked at it, I wondered if we'd come full circle. Metaphorically connecting food with sex is probably as old as literature itself - I remember it in Chaucer - but this ad deliberately harks back to the out-and-out chauvenism found in advertising up until the seventies. Then, of course, the women's movement had something to say about.

Throughout the eighties, and into the nineties, idiot chauvenism went out of fashion. Now it's back - but apparently, it's light-hearted. Everyone knows that women are equal now, so a bit of belittlement here and there is just a bit of fun. I'm surprised by the number of (often young) women who buy into this argument - perhaps because they haven't yet run headlong into issues like workplace discrimination, childcare difficulties or domestic abuse, and don't see what we uptight feminists are on about. Accepting a bit of denigration shows a woman has a sense of fun.

Still, I don't know many people, male or female, who would defend this gem. It's difficult to know whether to be annoyed at it, or simply to laugh at the pitifully childish mentality of the person who produced it. I can't see it doing great things for business at the Hunstman restaurant. Only the most loutish blokes would be attracted to this sort of idiocy - and, as a woman, it's difficult to enjoy your dining experience when you suspect the proprietor is wondering what you look like under your clothes.

36 comments:

Brett Dale said...

This has to be a joke, right??? If not what is the point???

Giovanni said...

Deborah had a sausage sizzle + topless girls up on her blog not long ago, and I might have commented there about a certain brand of faux-ironic sexism, which I see typified by the Tui ads on the telly (in the name of, you know, 'good fun') that I personally find more offensive than the out and out semi-trogloditic association you describe (which is also unwittingly homoerotic: you know, "sausages", "pieces of meat"...).

This particular example is almost dadaist, though, one doesn't really know what to think. Jaw'dropping may be the word I'm looking for.

Tidge said...

"Talk to your parents" about pre-pay steak... jesus. Regarding the establishment (I hesitate to call it a restaurant), having done one year at Otago University, sadly, I think that there is a market for this kind of promotion. Especially during O-week. Which is why I moved to Wellington.

And yes, I agree, I find the 'ironic' sexism is more offensive, because it's more pervasive. It's seen as acceptable/normal by a lot of young, supposedly enlightened people I know - they barely even register how retrograde the essence of it is. While I spend every ad break sneering at the TV.

Hendo said...

Yeah I hate this shit too, and I also get 'But it's just a joke, we are laughing because we KNOW that it's sexist, my laughter is ironic and I am actually very clever while you are a prude with no sense of humour! Hahaha!'

sigh.

AWicken said...

"ironic" ~isms are only a little but short of "I don't mean to be ~ist, but..."

And yeah, ads like that go down a treat here. Although I do note that the pub which gave us competitions for which the prize was a couch and a can of petrol, and of course the notorious "Wifebeater Wednesday" promotion a few years back, is closing at the end of the month (fell afoul of noise control issues, officially).

That should marginally raise the IQ of Dunedin marketing a bit. And a member of the public has apparently opposed the Captain Cook Tavern's license because of the "Cook-a-thon" 24hr drink/puke-fest.

Franky, what amazes me is that these ads do so well when the student population is about 58:42 female:male.

Anna said...

Tidge and AWicken, you're right on the money about some of Dunedin's residents being less than sophisticated. The Huntsman isn't what you'd call opulent, but I'm still quite surprised to see it trying to reposition itself as a drunken idiot outlet - that market is pretty well covered, and steak meals are quite expensive by student standards.

No great loss to the culinary mainstream, mind you.

Julie said...

It's a leaflet is it? Otherwise who would accept advertising like that??

Anna said...

It was published in D-scene, do you mind. That's what a Fairfax buy-out will do for you. Sheesh.

Julie said...

Forgive my ignorance but what is D-scene?

Anna said...

It was a wee independent rag in Dunedin (but I think other towns had them too, affiliated in some way). It was actually pretty good as well as being leftish. I'm not surprised Fairfax bought it out - it couldn't have challenged mainstream publications for market share if given time, I think. A shame.

M-H said...

There always seems to be a bar in any university city that appeals to the LCD of student life. In Palm Nth it used to be the "The Fat Ladies Arms" (part of a chain I think) that advertised "No queers, no scarfies (ie students)", even though it was mainly catering to the most moronic of the student population. The manager was named Leo, and one night someone took a purple spraycan and painted over the words "Fat Ladies Arms" with the words "Leo's skinny dick" and a large double feminist symbol. (Wasn't me, I promise!) Unfortunately the sign was taken down before the press could be alerted. But I've seen the photos. :)

Keely said...

You'll be unsurprised to hear that there are complaints to the advertising authority about this one. Personally, I'm writing to the Huntsman, D-Scene and will probably send a copy to Fairfax.
We certainly won't be eating at the Steakhouse again - much to R dismay.

Brian said...

whats the issue? This add simply says (to me anyway) don't dine here, the food will be crap, the service will be crap, we are an out dated, tacky, over priced establishment who will soon be out of business. the best thing one can say about establishments such as this one, valentines, dennys, cobb & co etc is that they cater for the end of the market that may otherwise pollute the likes of Logan Brown & Matterhorn etc. personally i like to keep the nude girls for the after dinner entertainment establishments like the splash club or illbordello.

Anna said...

The sad thing is that sometimes businesses who do this sort of thing benefit from the complaints (although I think it will backfire on the Huntsman, when the non-students who make up most of the clientele are put off). I'm thinking of the pub in Dunedin that produced 'Wifebeater Wednesday' and other like promotions - it sealed their popularity by being rebellious and anti-PC. Sigh.

brad said...

Nice tits, ugly face though, would still shag her.

SMSD said...

Sadly this type of thing is not confined to dunedin.

Does anyone else drive by the irish pub in royal oak which proudly advertises a "topless waitress" on Thursdays?

I had a rather fun confrontation with the owner just before the election. Apparently, he thought he could stop me doing Labour placarding on the public footpath outside his establishment.

He threatened to throw me onto the road. class.

Harrison said...

M-H, the fats in palmy wasnt all that bad, I wouldnt drink there now but then Im not 22 anymore, but at the time some of us had a great time in between study and working two or three jobs.

As for looking down your nose at "the lowest common denomanator of student life" well I suppose we all cant be at the top with the elite then can we. I just cant imagine the intelectual effort required to paint a sign like "Leos skinny dick" outside a pub wall. I could comment on your personal physical failings, but then we all have them dont we. however if you are so high and mighty what were you doing at Massey? surely someone of your great intelectual standing would have attended Harvard or Cambridge.

Julie said...

Quite an odd influx of misogynists on this thread, what's that about? Has someone linked this post somewhere with a less woman-friendly commentariat?

I'm pausing on the deletions, because I think brad, Brian et al tend to rather hang themselves, but Anna it's your thread so feel free to delete at will.

And anyone at all feel free to debate them, sadly I am going to be afk for most of the day and have to dash in a sec.

Oh and Keely good to hear that complaints are being made, I'd love to hear about the outcome, feel free to email me if you so desire.

Psycho Milt said...

I think this is probably the source of your munters, Julie.

Anna said...

Thanks Psycho - I think you've isolated the munter nucleus. I'm not too bothered by the munterism yet, Julie, although I'll keep an eye out. I kind of enjoy the contrast between the standard of commentary between the left and right - it speaks volumes.

There's a kind of giggling mentality about sexuality that a lot of males go through at age 14 (tee hee - boobies!) but which most eventually get over. It's something I tend to associate with males who haven't had much relationship experience/contact with women or just haven't quite made it to emotional maturity yet. My question about who the ad appeals to is now answered.

I'm intrigued by Clint's idea that women's rooms should be turned into something 'useful' for women. I've asked him in the past (on THM) to write about what he thinks the right has to offer women (and offered a few comments on the effects of deregulation on women's pay, reduced tax services on social services, etc), but haven't got a response. I'd still love to hear one.

Clint's wee effort is a 'tactic' of sorts used by some on the right. If you don't really know much about politics/economics/history/current events, etc, just find someone you don't agree with and make fun of them for not being able to take a joke. It's intellectually rigorous stuff. You'd think the guy would have something better to do than regurgitate a discussion on another blog.

Giovanni said...

There's a kind of giggling mentality about sexuality that a lot of males go through at age 14 (tee hee - boobies!) but which most eventually get over.

No we don't. And if your partner, significant other, husband, male best friend or mentor claims to have got over it, they're lying.

That said, we learn to keep it in check and to empathise (and ongoing process, to be sure). Most of us get to figure out for themselves or are politely instructed by the women in their lives that leaflets like this and other expressions of barely pubescent male mentality are not on. But: "tee hee - boobies"? It never goes away.

Anna said...

Look, the other day my partner said to me, 'I spent my whole adolescence dreaming of seeing boobies - and now I can see them every day'. Isn't that a slight development step up from 'Tee hee - boobies'?

Giovanni said...

Oh, it is, but the sight of boobies remains highly incapacitating to the cultured and progressive adult male.

If there was a way to measure the lowering of my IQ when those Tui ads come on, I'd probably be fairly dismayed by the results. And it's really evil genius (or a sign that we live in a post-feminist world) how the advertisers managed to package the ad in a way that society at large finds acceptable.

AWicken said...

Two points:

Giovanni, you are quite right. I personally have never lost the "tee-hee" factor.

Whether I'm inclined to buy an overpriced steak (or a $70,000 car) because of this is another matter.

Secondly: to get material *Clint* is reading THM?!

Anna said...

There's nothing wrong with boobies. I'm a strong advocate of them and even sport a pair of my own. Nor do I have a problem with the showing of boobies (for example, I think some erotic art is beautiful) - but there's a time and a place and a context.

There's imagery which celebrates women's sexuality in a positive way - and then there's the crass aesthetic FAIL that is the Huntsman ad. Most people can tell the difference. Some struggle.

I'd like to write a post about this, but it would draw hordes of munters like a moth to the flame.

Julie said...

Don't fear the munters, Anna :-) You are more than a match for them, and I foresee you'd get at least a little help from your friends in any battle of wits than ensued.

Madeleine said...

Funny how you get all irate about this. I find it more than a bit rich.

You hold yourself out as a defender of women from treatment like this but you were more than happy to not say a word while the office above yours printed material about my breasts, made false accusations of me flashing to denigrate me politically.

I guess when you know the poltics of the woman being denigrated and they are different to yours you feel less obligated to open your mouth.

Anna said...

Madeleine, I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to here, but you've obviously exerienced denigrating behaviour which has upset you, and I certainly don't condone that. I'm simply not aware of all instances of this sort of behaviour, but do my best to counter them when I can, within any privacy/employer/ethical constraints I'm under.

Quite a few posts on THM have argued against sexist mistreatment of women, irrespective of their politic beliefs (eg. there has been a lot of discussion about this with regard to Sarah Palin). However, it's useful for me (and other feminists of the left) to have our responses to women with different politic beliefs challenged from time to time - how we engage with and show concern for women across the political spectrum is important to the success of the feminist movement.

james said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna said...

James, I've deleted your comment because it denigrated another commentator. That's against our comments policy.

Anonymous said...

Madeleine is right. It is too convenient for you to defend feminism if it fits into your way of thinking. She has had some quite terrible things said about her, much of it encouraged by "feminists" inside student associations.

Anna said...

With respect, Anon, I think its unlikely that you know much about my feminist activism. I can't comment on the actions of other feminists, but I have already discussed my own on a previous comment.

I don't think a blog is a particularly good environment for airing personal grievances, and I'm not at all interested in going down that track - there's a world of helping resources/avenues of redress out there for people who feel they need them. I'm quite happy for larger issues to be discussed - ie how feminism engages with women of various religious beliefs and political views - but if comments criticising individuals' off-blog lives appear, I'll simply delete them.

All the writers and commentators at THM are asked to participate in good faith and with respect for others. We are grown ups, after all.

Azlemed said...

Madaliene (sp) many of us have had bad experiences as WRO at university, I was publicly humiliated by my exec at a NZUSA conf. but that has not damped my need to see all women treated better and for more equality in the world at large.

Feminism is a very broad church but most of us have the same basic principles behind it.

As for the ad, its juevenile and typical of how some people see womens breasts as peices of meat to be drooled over.

my own set are fine by me but i wouldnt be impressed if hubby thought that he owned them because he likes boobs....

Bree said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Madeleine said...

Julie you can keep track of who is linking to particular threads by looking at the bottom of your comments pages.

Julie said...

Bree I have deleted your comment because it is along the lines of identifying someone who uses a pseudonym (i.e. anything short of their full name). It's a general convention in Blogland that if someone uses a pseudonym and you know their identity you don't use their real name, or hint at their identity, online. Perhaps I need to add this to our comment policy as maybe it is not as commonly understood as I had thought.

On this blog Anjum and I use our full names and everyone else uses pseudonyms. Just to be crystal clear.

Madeleine thank you for pointing that out. Sadly for some technological reason that I am unable to fathom our blog often takes a long time to pick up these trackbacks, and often our links to other blogs don't show up at all. Unfortunately this seems to be a problem with some blogs in Blogger, and looking at the code and the settings in the past there is no easy fix (or indeed anything wrong in the first place) that I can find. One day I'll get around to getting someone who can actually code to see what they can do with it, but for now we have to put up with the time delay (and sometimes total non-appearance).