Monday, August 24, 2009

Douchebag DESchatz uses Guinness to construct women as shared surface for beer

Edit: Apollo was kind enough to inform me that this is NOT an actual Guinness ad. The asshole who did create it defends himself thusly:
It really isn't real. I shot the ad with no intention of sending it to Guiness because of the content. IT was meant to either make people laugh or get really disgusted. I rather people felt the former because that's why it was made. Just for fun.
Oh and it only cost $320 for the ad. My equipment, 300 for the actress, and the rest for food and a six pack of Guiness [sic]
So, Guinness is not the asshole here, this douchebag DESchatz who thinks dehumanization is "just for fun" is. Sick. And he's bragging about it and how "cheap" it was.

I love Guinness, so I was sincerely disappointed to see this pop up in my reader courtesy of Citizen Ojo:

In this commercial, a beer is placed in the small of a woman's back. Her body is moving rhythmically to music at what sounds like a house party, though the viewer cannot see how or why it is moving. Other than the horizontal jiggling of her back, she does not move - her hair stays stationary, and the angles of her body do not change, indicating that she is holding her position. What looks to be three male hands come out and take the beer and replace it, one after another - one comes from the direction of her feet, one from her head, and one from below. The text at the end reads "Share one with a friend. Or two."

The woman in this commercial is constructed not as human, or as worthy of respect. This woman is constructed as furniture - without limbs, or a head, or digits. She's not a body - she's a disembodied, decontextualized, less than fully human body part. The woman in this commercial is just a groove in which to place one's beer. She does not enjoy the beer herself, or take part in any of the revelry. She is dehumanized to the point where she is just a surface.

This disembowelment of any kind of identity on the woman's part is completed by the end text. The woman in the commercial is not one of the friends being shared with. There are three men in the commercial, and they are the friends. At best, this woman is what they gather around; at worst, she's the one being shared.

Furthermore, the sexual overtones in this commercial make me really uncomfortable. Why is this woman's body moving the way it is? What is the relation of these men to this woman? Why is there a man in back, in front, and below her? She's clearly not agent in whatever sexual activities are going on - her body is not moving, but rather being moved. She's a passive recipient of actions - a surface to place beer upon, someone who is receiving action from behind, from her front, from below.

This reads as rape to me. She's not agent in anything - she's a body part that's being moved and being acted upon. She's being shared. She is not sharing her body - men are sharing her, without any visible respect for her wishes or bodily integrity.

I've been reading a lot about agency on the part of women who are constructed as sexual in pornography and other sexual imagery, but this is not a case where feminism is doing the dehumanization. This woman has nothing at all beyond the small of her back and her hair - she does not have a face, or legs, or arms. She has nothing beyond that small space, used exclusively by men. It's another entry in the long and sorry history of degraded women in beer advertisements.


  1. This isn't an actual Guinness commercial. Article. Not that it makes the video any less disturbing, but it shouldn't be associated with the lovely folks at St. James Gate.

  2. I'm still kind of disturbed that this commercial was made as "just a joke," (quote from article linked to above). Even if it's not associated with Guinness. I'm not sure if I'm more disturbed that it's a joke or just as disturbed.

    The fact that something like this is perceived as a joke and intended to make people laugh is a precise example of how prevalent sexism is in society. It's apparently a joke that women are less than human and completely accessible to men. Gross.

  3. Apollo - thanks so much for the tip, I've added a note clarifying. Laura, right on.

  4. This isn't the first mock/fan ad for a product which involves the graphic exploitation of women. It's interesting that fans of a wide variety of products seem to think it's a good idea/acceptable to make ads in homage to their favourite products which feature the denigration and degradation of women.

  5. Great post! Commercials really bother me-- they are so frequently sexist, questionable, and quite disturbing, but they are so infrequently challenged. I realize that I probably see different adds than you now that I'm in Europe, and most of the commercials I see are UK products, but I would *love* to read more commercial analysis. Special K and Dolmio are at the top of my hate-list right now. Let's get 'em!

  6. Ugh. Really disturbing - I'm glad you brought this up.

    ...that said, "douchebag" is not my insult of choice on these kinds of blogs. Personally, I wouldn't want this guy anywhere NEAR my genitals.


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