Assvertising: The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Edition

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is a little like the Superbowl to me: An American tradition we're meant to regard as good, clean, harmless fun, despite the most cursory closer look revealing a lot of ugly stuff designed specifically to reinforce traditional definitions of patriarchal masculinity, including (as always) hefty doses of heterocentrism and misogyny.

Increasingly, the SI Swimsuit Issue shares in common with the Superbowl a fierce competition between advertisers for inclusion. (The Swimsuit Issue alone pulls in over $50 million in revenue annually, about $35 million of which comes from ad sales.) And where there is competition, there are customized adverts.

Arby's, not generally known for its sexist advertising (one of few fast food eateries that isn't), submitted this ad for the Swimsuit Issue:

Says Rachel at The F-Word, "Thanks, Arbys, for giving me yet another example to use in my American history colloquium paper that addresses, in part, how women's bodies are depicted as pieces of meat for male consumption. You've captured the thrust of my argument perfectly."

(You can file a complaint about the advertisement with Arby's Corporate here.)

And, of course, Sports Illustrated itself does a whirlwind marketing campaign to sell the issue, resulting, by virtue of the subject matter, in some extremely weird and frequently inappropriate cross-promotional adverts, like a commercial plane turned into a flying centerfold:

On Tuesday, the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl, Bar Refaeli, was slated to fly cross-country in a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, dubbed the "S.I. One," which was to be swathed in a giant image of her...

"Air-traffic control is going to be a mess this afternoon," Matt Lauer quipped on "Today."

"I just heard the plane is going to still be active for a month later," Refaeli said. "I'm like, 'Oh, my God, it's one of the best things that's ever happened to me'."

Parents of young children may feel differently.
Indeed. As may the female employees of Southwest. And female passengers asked to board a winged wank machine.

(The number for Southwest's public relations office can be found here.)

It really just never ceases to amaze me the stuff that women are just expected to not care about, that the default response to raising an objection to the image of a bikini-clad woman being slapped on the side of an airplane, because it's more important to advertise a lads' mag than respect actual women's dignity, will be "You're a hysteric."

If merely refusing, quite calmly, reasonably, and firmly, to the routine objectification of women in order to reinforce the means of our subjugation, and if not yielding to shrieking, name-calling, threat-making dudez who try to bully me into silence by wielding accusations of all manner of disproportion to defend their right to ogle women, makes me the hysteric, fine, I'm a hysteric and proudly so.

I'd rather be a hysteric than a jack-booted thug of the patriarchy.

How gauche. Sniff.

[H/Ts to Shaker/Shapeling Sweet Machine and Shaker JR_JR.]

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