On Social Norms and the Media.

By Anthrogoddess

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!

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4 thoughts on “On Social Norms and the Media.

  1. No offense, but I’m pretty sure that the doll being banned isn’t true.
    I can’t find ANY reference to it anywhere.

  2. I’m not convinced the doll was banned. I ahve yet to see any eidence on a credible website. Only hearsay and general statements that the doll was banned. The doll looks nothing like Barbie and there are so many generic Barbie knock-offs out there that Mattel hasn’t done anything about, so I remain skeptical. I even went to teh websites for both The Body Shop and Mattel and found nothing. It is a great doll, though.

  3. “In the United States, the toy company Mattel sent us a cease-and-desist order, demanding we pull the images of Ruby from American shop windows. Their reason: Ruby was making Barbie look bad, presumably by mocking the plastic twig-like bestseller”.
    That’s a quote from Anita Roddick whom founded the Body Shop (see the link in my comment above which takes you directly to the web site). I think Anita Roddick is a pretty credible source….but as I said in the comment above, it is old news, but still relevant. It is a great doll though huh! I think Anita’s reasons sum up why Mattel got upset by this doll and not the other knock offs – simply because Ruby mocks Barbie ;)

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