Advertisers: Wake Up And Smell The Sex
Writing in the Hendersonville News, Susan Hanley Lane shares her feelings regarding a racy Skechers billboard she saw when she was with her father in law as he was getting haircut. Noting the odd juxtaposition of the two figures on the billboard having simulated sex, advertising-style, with the presence of her father in law and two small girls playing outside near the board, Susan makes a convincingly cogent argument that, perhaps, we've taken this sex sells thing a bit too far.
She notes the walled garden that used to be called childhood has collapsed and has been replaced, at least for girls, by girlhood. In other words, kids aren't kids anymore but have, because of the continual presence of adult imagery, become young hotties in training. When you roll it up like that, it does certainly feel odd that young kids are routinely exposed to this sort of imagery. Many, including myself, have said, "Oh, just don't look. Turn the TV off. Monitor what your kids read and what they do online." Well, sure. That's all good but it's also like trying to juggle 12 tons of Jello while riding a unicycle. It's not possible. Kids are resourceful. If they want to see or do something, they'll find a way around parental blockage. Acknowledging that, one could argue if racy imagery that is now commonplace wasn't there in the first place, kids who circumvent so called blockage would find nothing more that a fully clothed Betty Crocker staring back at them.
There's really no answer to this conundrum. After all, inherently, there's absolutely nothing wrong with sex. It's natural. It's healthy. It's normal. Everyone does it. However, for one to successfully navigate the murky waters of that form of human engagement, one must possess a certain degree of wisdom achieved only through age, education and experience. Try telling a 13 year old girl, today, she doesn't need to wear a thong, a midriff-baring top and do-me shoes while dancing in front of a webcam. Try telling a 13 year old boy he shouldn't drop everything he's doing and dive right into all that.
It's not sexual desire or sexual attractiveness that's any different than it was 20, 50, 100 years ago. It's that it's in our face 24/7. In 1900, a guy might go months without ever seeing an image of a woman. In the eighties, Madonna wore more clothes that today's average highschool sophomore. There's no turning back the clock to Puritanical times nor are we advocating that. Perhaps, what's needed is a bit more thoughtful consideration during the development of marketing campaigns as to the effect sexually laced advertising (and yes, it's not entirely advertising's fault but we can't solve all the world's problems here) imagery has on young, ill-prepared minds.
Even as I, along with many others may enjoy the Paris Hilton Carl's, Jr. sex-with-a-Bentley ad or the disrobing hotties of Virtual Bartender or the Christina Aguilera Skechers nurse-hottie ads or American Apparel barely-legal catalog models or any other of the thousands of racy, sexually charged images surrounding us, I'm well over the age of 18. Many who view these images are not. Think about that.