Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Coming, Baby

But not to a television near you because sexual aids are only for men in television land. Digby writes about this. The ads are all about guys:

We've all seen the TV ads for Viagra and Cialis which are verging on sheer farce at this point.


So what's up with this?

When Rachel Braun Scherl, 45, a Stanford University business school graduate, co-founded Semprae Laboratories, which developed Zestra Essential Arousal Oils, a product described as a botanical aphrodisiac, she thought bringing its message to the airwaves would be a snap. Research had shown that tens of millions of American women had sexual difficulty and no products to remedy it.

Scherl, 45, a married mother of two, and company co-founder Mary Jaensch, 58, a married mother of three, thought they had an answer for this unmet need, along with the cash to pay for ads on TV.

In an apparent double standard, many networks and some websites have declined the company's ads; a few will air them during the daytime, and others only after midnight. There is no nudity, sex, or mention of body parts, unlike ads for men's products referring to "erections lasting more than four hours."

"The most frequent answer we get is, 'We don't advertise your category,' " Scherl said. "To which we say, 'What is the category? Because if it's sexual enjoyment, you clearly cover that category. If it's female enjoyment, you clearly don't.' And when you ask for information as to what we would need to change so they would clear the ad for broadcast, they give you very little direction. ... And yet they have no problem showing ads for Viagra and other men's drugs. Why?"
Interesting theories float about concerning the reason for these refusals:

It could be that the women portrayed in those ads are too yucky for the viewers because they are older. But then how to respond to those Viagra ads, especially the first one Digby shows?

Or what if the ads aimed at women are not shown because the product may actually not work? I'm trying not to laugh, because Digby also posted this supplement ad aimed at men:

It promises to make your penis bigger! It also portrays an astonishing sexual dream, one which certainly goes against various moral arguments against sexual enhancement ads, such as that the people should be married to each other.

The third theory has merit: "We don't advertise your category." That could cover not advertising about anything having to do with women's sexual enjoyment both because who cares if women come and because television advertising is explicitly and emphatically aimed at young men. What you get on television is what pleases young men in the critical age ranges. Odd, that, isn't it? Other people have money, too. But then movies are also aimed at young men.

What I like about this debate is this: We are finally beginning to notice that what everyone calls "sex" is really "sex as heterosexual guys see it". Whether anything about that will change is a whole different color of fishes, but at least we can start a conversation on pornography and related matters with a shared understanding that it's not "sex" we are talking about.

You can sign a petition if you wish to see more sexual enhancement ads for women on television.