Axe Undie Run Challenge: Some Brief Thoughts

21 Apr

This is disgusting.

One, Axe is justifying the hyper sexualization of women within the media through a charity.  It’s sort of a “get out of jail free card” because they can counter the claims of being a purely for profit company that just happens to demean the portrayal of women by supporting charity.

The ridiculousness of college life is exemplified in this.  Everyone has an ideal body unless there’s a shot specifically on the “joke” character.  I.E. the skinny guy trying to be sexy and the fat guy trying to be sexy.  The women are assumed to be sexy and are not meant to be funny.  They are merely there for eye candy.

The slowed down shots are disturbing removing the aim of the effort from charity to the continuation of the demeaning of women and their gender.  The men are dressed up in greek/trojan uniforms covering lots of their body and representing power and strength while the women are only in their socks, underwear, and bras.

The representation of race is also highly disturbing.  The eurocentricity of the advertisement allows for the ideal college student to be white, sexy, of ideal body shape, and wild/sexual.  I counted (quickly and without rewatching) probably 5 black people male or female in the advertisement with roughly the same amount of asian.  Compared to the dozens of white people running on the campus and “donating” their clothes (i.e. donating their body for objectification), the representation of race is incredibly skewed.

Anyway, those are just some thoughts on how Axe is continuing to hypersexualize and demean women while creating a portrayal of middle-class, white, college-student, in-shape, and wild people as the norm.

And yes, I saw this advertisement while waiting to play Scrabble on Pogo… that’s how upset it made me; it ruined my Scrabble experience.

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4 Responses to “Axe Undie Run Challenge: Some Brief Thoughts”

  1. Danielle April 23, 2010 at 4:12 PM #

    I agree that it’s hypersexualizing and objectifying women, but you might want to count again. I count about two dozen people who appear to be African-American, and many others of various shades of brown. Racially, this group actually looks more diverse than many campuses I’ve been on in the Midwest.

    You’re definitely right about them all being in-shape, though, and I see your point, but I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that I don’t really want to see a bunch of obese people in their underwear on TV. They’re showing what people want to see, for better or worse. Also, interestingly, there has been research showing that images like the “real body” ones in the Dove campaign cause women to feel even worse than images of thin women. Apparently the only thing that makes us feel worse than being reminded of what we don’t look like is being reminded of what we DO look like. 🙂

    • MechanisticMoth April 23, 2010 at 6:17 PM #

      Thanks for the comment.
      You’re probably right about the miscount, but I still find it a little appalling that everyone of a different race other than white is normally subjected to the background with the Anglo-Saxons hogging the forefront.
      You’re also right that the commercial is serving our “assumed desires” of wanting to see beautiful people. But, this type of beauty is emphasized through sex rather than admiration and interest.
      I haven’t seen that research, but I may go looking for it in some academic journals. It seems highly appropriate to look at it from a social scientific perspective.

      Just to articulate, this was written about 15 minutes before a class and I was in a rush just righting out my immediate reactions. On a second review, I may reconsider or emphasize different readings of the commercial. Nevertheless, I have enough to write about as it is, but I hope this can spark some conversation.

      Something I would consider covering further would be how many of the men in the video have covering/clothes. This would further the greek/trojan uniforms by also highlighting the Zorro-esque figure towards the end of the commercial. I find this segment particularly upsetting because of the women wearing masks and therefore covering up their identity for the man with the whip (granted, he also has a mask).

      Anyway, thanks again.

  2. Mike Williams May 13, 2010 at 7:25 PM #

    The fact that you have time to write this about an event that sponsors fund raising for the homeless, rather than participating is pathetic. I went to this event and ran it, and while yes, there were plenty of girls in nothing but bra and underwear, the majority of runners were guys who were wearing nothing but boxers and socks. Also, the ad does imply a certain body type as ideal, but it also makes the notion of any body type being “right” as comical, as implied by the cheesy narrator voice and the stupid outfits. So before you go ragging on charitable events, maybe you should participate and think outside of your little box. Oh, and stop playing scrabble online and help change the world rather than writing stupid blogs. Thanks

    • MechanisticMoth May 13, 2010 at 10:49 PM #

      Here’s some irony: I just got back from playing Scrabble for charity.
      I wasn’t “ragging” on charitable events. I was criticizing Axe for their continued use of derogatory imagery towards women and justifying it through the use of a charitable event. I addressed this in the very beginning of my passage.

      I have also stated that I wrote this quickly without an accurate amount of study. Therefore, these are first reactions rather than articulated points.
      Nevertheless, I believe that I make some valid claims that should be discussed.

      You have contributed by providing a personal experience, and I thank you for that.
      Unfortunately, stating that – at the actual event – the imagery from the commercial wasn’t present, in a way, supports my point. This is because the commercial provides an ideal world where women are sexual objects and are either viewed upon by the male gaze or thrown to the side in order to promote masculinity. Therefore, the fictitious world must be put up to scrutiny to understand why it has changed and what that says about society. That is what I try to cover in my first reactions rather than to debate whether or not a charity (any/most) is worth anyone’s time.

      My effort in trying to flesh out some of the symbolism behind the commercial reflects that I would rather participate and support a charitable function that promotes healthy equality than one sponsored (mostly as a publicity stunt) by a company propagating discriminatory imagery.

      I participate monthly at charitable events. Please focus on the topic at hand of the commercial, charity, and other relating material rather than personal attacks.

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