The awesome ad to your right there was banned by Barbie manufacturers Mattel. Body Shop received a ‘cease and desist’ order from Mattel, supposedly after complaints regarding the delightful Ruby’s hot (though admittedly niple-less – I’d prefer nipples, wouldn’t you?) naked bod. But one has to wonder if these supposed complaints are driven more by fear of the truth in our faces? After all, how many complaints are made over the thousands of ads featuring scantily clad models in their barely there underwear. Controversial ads featuring images that go against socially constructed norms regarding beauty and sexuality seem to be a Thing in the media at the moment.
Again, to your left, is the gorgeous Andrej Pejic; this magazine was banned from many shops in the U.S and other countries, supposedly becuase he is shirtless. However, further investigation reveals people were just simply upset that Andrej appears feminine, yet his bare chest reveals he is male. People can’t seem to cope with gender bending. How many magazine covers do we see with half naked men and women, and yet people hardly notice such images, becuase usually the men look ‘masculine’ and the women look ‘feminine. All is well so long as the models are fulfilling social norms of socially constructed ideas of ‘beauty’ and gender.
But it’s not just beauty and gender of course, it’s also sexuality and relationships. Again, to your right, is a wonderful safer sex ad featuring two gay men being affectionate. A few fundamentalist Christains took issue with this ad and had it removed from bus stops and billboards. Fortunately the public voice was loud and clear in voting for the ads to be reinstated. Once again, I can think of numerous ads with heterosexual couples, engaged in much more obvious sexual activity, that receive little, if any complaint.
What is heartening to see are the protest movements against the silencing of such media; keep it up people, our voices do get heard and make a difference in affirming diversity!