Alcohol is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. I think that this statement makes sense when looking at and analy Continue reading
I hate to play into the stereotype, but as a girl, I go through toiletries and makeup like no one’s business. During my repeated trips to Target and Walgreens, I always browse the aisles and stare are the different products, my eyes usually wandering towards the bright and shiny things. During move-in weekend, I took a trip to Target with my mother to buy everything I needed for my dorm. Although it was busy, I took my time in the toiletry aisle, sniffing every body wash possible until my nose settled on one by Nivea.
It wasn’t until a week later that I realized what I had bought.
So…I don’t know about you, but it’s not very often that the smell of cologne makes me need sex, then and there. However, many advertisements would have you believe that it does. There are the go to Axe commercials with the hilarious depictions of women’s inability to control themselves. Then there are the more “high-end” cologne advertisements like this one:
As seen in the media these days, there is a prevalence of sex and sexuality in marketing with the idea that “sex sells”. Continue reading
House of Cards is a political drama on Netflix that has certainly gained a lot of attention and popularity in the past year or so. It’s one of those shows that has us simultaneously terrified of, yet ultimately rooting for, the villain. Frank Underwood is a manipulative, maneuvering, and dark politician, who will stop at nothing to achieve ultimate power—which for him is becoming the president of the United States, and thus, becoming one of the most influential leaders of the “free world.”
And what would a political drama be without sex and scandal? Am I right? At one point in the first season, Frank references Oscar Wilde and talks directly to the camera and advises those watching, “A great man once said everything is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.” Of course sex is about power, Frank. He says this to provide reason and rationalization for his affair and political relationship with Zoey Barnes, a youthful, cute reporter.
Let’s think about the economics of sexuality, as Marxist social theory would have us do. Marx argued that the economy is the most significant social force shaping human behavior, and as scholars, we can go one step further and conclude that the economy (which the government, and thus Frank, is intimately intertwined with) must also be the most critical force shaping sexuality. As capitalism emerged as the dominant economic ideology, the commercialization of sex quickly followed, which simply means that with sex comes a certain value, and in Frank’s case, it’s not necessarily a monetary value. We could call Frank a Marxist if we were to critically examine his and Zoey’s relationship and the negotiation of power between the two. Frank lives up to Wilde’s thoughts about sex and power, as the sexual relationship between him and Zoey has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with obtaining power. Both use each other’s different types of power, Frank’s political power and Zoey’s power in the media, to empower themselves respectively even further. For them, sex thus becomes a tool that can be used for bargaining or negotiating.
Kristen Barber, in her article “Sex and Power,” references many feminists who argue that heterosexual sex is a means for men to assert dominance over women, and that men define sex and sexuality through aggression and violence. In a way, this describes Frank perfectly. He makes it clear to Zoey that having sex with her is his means of establishing and maintaining control over her, that she is nothing but disposable to him once he gets what he needs out of the relationship. However, Zoey is not a passive, submissive, and weak female in this relationship. She, too, uses Frank for her own gains in the media. Moreover, as their relationship develops and grows more complex, Zoey finds Frank’s weaknesses and uses them against him to get what she needs from him. What would feminists that Barber mention, like Dworkin and MacKinnon, have to say about Zoey? How does Zoey fuck up their perceptions of gender, sexuality, and power?
How many times has this philosophy been shoved in our faces through any number of social experiences? From movies, to advertisements for food to clothing, and even books, we can not get past this historical moment where EVERYTHING (just about) is sold with sex. Even the diaper advertisements in this country are sexualized! Surely it has always been like this, right?