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Super Bowl Commercials

Did you see my series on the book So Sexy So Soon? Authors Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne made a very compelling argument that companies – with their marketing – are making humans sexually attracted to objects. They are sexualizing objects. We used to be worried women would be turned into objects via porn – and that is true.

But we didn’t really expect the opposite to happen. That companies would use all their marketing power to make us turned on by their products. Sex produces dopamine in the brain. If they can produce enough dopamine in the brain when we think about Doritos or GoDaddy, for instance, we are likely to buy them. Because we have “feel good” feelings about them.

We can see this in children. When they talk about “sexiness” or being “sexy” they might say something like “those shoes are sexy.” Or if they mention that someone is “sexy” or looks “sexy” you might ask “what about them is sexy?” Ainsley will say, “her clothes, her shoes, that dress, the bikini, the belly shirt.” Things. Not personal attributes like her boobs, her hips, her lips, her hair.

Ainsley, like most girls today, are tying the feeling of L-O-V-E and her innate sexual feelings, desire to be loved, to companies like Disney with saturation of Disney Princess Culture, High School Musical, Hannah Montana. Disney is telling her “this is what love/sexual attraction/romance is and you can get it through our company.”

People are supposed to be sexual, sensual, sexy. Not objects or things. But, a kajillion dollars in marketing and media has been spent to change that part of our brains. To make us associate sexuality and our sexual feelings with their product or brand.

It sounds insanely fundamental and not at all what Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives fight about when they fight but sex.

I think the key to regaining the sacredness of our sexuality and indeed, to achieve a fulfilling sexy life is to convince kids – and ourselves – that certain human beings in our actual life are sexy and worthy of attraction. And that their personal attributes like a great sense of humor is what really attracts people to each other. Instead of the imitation sex we’re sold everywhere we look to make us feel hot for brands and objects.

On Blog Fabulous today I wrote Porn Killed Sex, referring readers to a very insightful article by Naomi Wolf in The New York Times about the true impact Free Porn 24/7 on the Internet has had on human sexuality.

Companies will keep doing it if it keeps working. Also, I know many of you are pissed about the GoDaddy Super Bowl Commercials, Glennia Campbell from The Silent “I” is leading a campaign to cancel domain registrations with GoDaddy in her post  How to Transfer A Domain Name: Phase I (or, Bye-Bye GoDaddy). I’m thinking I will jump on that train. Vote with my dollar.

Read my So Sexy So Soon series.

10 Steps to Undo Sexualized Childhood

So Sexy So Soon, Sexualized Childhood

So Sexy So Soon: Sex Education Quiz

So Sexy So Soon: Premature Adolescent Rebellion

8 replies
  1. Staci says:

    I heard a car described as sexy the other day. Uh, what? It’s like the word has ceased to have any real meaning. Which is sad because sexiness is beautiful, emotional, personal and indefinable. I hope young people can transcend all this.

  2. Tracee says:

    Have you seen that car commercial with Kate Walsh, “The question is when you turn your car on does it return the favor?”


    It’s a seriously hot commercial. I always kind of want that car. So I can either BE Kate Walsh or DO her. It’s so confusing I can never decide. I want a 40 gig harddrive so bad when I see hear her say it that way and I don’t even really know what that is and I’m pretty sure it’s not capable of returning my affection.

    Imagine being a 7 year old watching that? How are they supposed to know NOT to feel sexual about a car?

  3. Tracee says:

    Seriously I keep mentally deconstructing this Doritos commercial.

    Who wants Doritos to taste like, be associated with, sperm and silicone? Not yummy.

    Especially like Jen said we already had “better than sex” feelings about Nacho Cheese Doritos in the first place because when you’re married you can have all the sex you want – it’s the DORITOS that’s forbidden fruit!


  4. Felicia says:

    “People are supposed to be sexual, sensual, sexy. Not objects or things. But, a kajillion dollars in marketing and media has been spent to change that part of our brains. To make us associate sexuality and our sexual feelings with their product or brand.”

    Very true, Tracee, and I don’t know if there’s any way to turn it around at this point. Even when the media does focus on a person being sexy, it’s never the actual person, who’s attractive because they’re smart, or funny…instead it’s “Britney’s tight ass” or “Lindsey’s great boobs” or someone else’s “smokin’ hot bathing suit bod”.

    So even the people are reduced to nothing but body parts/things.

    Felicia’s last blog post..Questions for the Sexpert please!

  5. Tracee says:

    Well, I am not convinced it’s completely futile. Not looking good at the present moment, for sure.

    But, there are things that give me hope.

    1. Awareness. We’re becoming more aware of the strategy.

    2. When you eat spaghetti every day of your life it becomes something you don’t want any more no matter how much you loved it before. We have come to the point past titillating and into saturation.

    3. John Zogby, wrote a book, “The Way We’ll Be.” He’s a huge pollster. He says this plethora of free sex everywhere all the time isn’t just bothering women, it’s bothering a large majority of men. He says they are coming to a point of “had their fill” and now crave intimacy.

    Once we reach that saturation level the marketing strategy will no longer work and they’ll have to sell to our craving for intimacy.

    I don’t know if he’s right, but I hope he is. We can manage that by voting with our dollar. Also, I, for one, would be in favor of a rating system for commercials.

  6. Alexis Saint says:

    Could it be that the ease of which the process of sexualizing objects is progressing is because of the way we have come to disdain our own bodies? Is the advertising media instructing our minds to use an automatic mental disqualifier for each perceived flaw as a way to bar ourselves from seeing our bodies as sexually attractive? Thus paving the way to sell us a product to fill the void? If corn chips can give us a more impressive décolletage, then possessing these corn chips makes us more attractive (sexy) and less likely to be lonely. Right?

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