Toilet Paper Group Media Analysis (Charlotte Calvert, Samantha Ehrenberg, Sam Hughes)

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Charlotte's Media Example: A Silk Soft Ad

Toilet Paper Dispenser.jpg

In this product placement advertisement for Silk Soft, toilet paper is being pulled out of what appears to be a man's anus.

1. Why? How is this product appealing to the consumer? Is this product placement Targeted toward males because the toilet paper is being pulled out of a man's anus?

2. What does this image imply? Are there any sort of sexual undertones received with an image like this?

This particular example of product placement for Soft Silk toilet paper shows that their company believes that it is effective to advertise their product in such a way that exposes a taboo image to the public. This image is trying to show to us that using the "private" parts of our bodies to sell everyday products is effective and acceptable. However, if it was a woman's anus that the toilet paper was being pulled out of, people might have a different reaction to the product placement. It might be considered more offensive and crude, whereas, since this is an image of a man's anus, it's somewhat humorous and people might get a laugh out of it. Why is that the case in our culture?

This image is problematic because for one, it's distasteful. It's unappealing to pull toilet paper out of some man's hairy anus to be used for cleaning yourself. This is very risky advertising because it can either be seen as completely repulsive or very funny, to some. But generally, I don't think this would appeal to the majority.

Samantha's Media Example: A Toilet Paper Magazine Advertisement

Toilet Paper Advertisement.jpg

What is this ad telling us about the relationship between sex and pleasure?
What gender roles are being reinforced in this ad?

It is hard for me to call this an advertisement about toilet paper as the product merely sits in the background to make way for the highly sexualized scene that instead normalizes many heteronormative practices. Depicted is a beautiful heterosexual couple with both partners conforming to their respective gender roles. We see the man as the dominant of the two as he stands solidly, staring down the woman who daintily sits, legs askew and uneven, looking back up at him but not facing him. Her head position indicates a tentativeness while his shows an easy confidence. The ad portrays the man as powerful at the woman's expense by displaying the woman as weaker.
The ad also creates a definition of desirability for bodies. It seems to be selling a white but tan skinned, healthy, young, and muscular version of sexiness far more than it seems to be selling toilet paper. The ad tells its viewers that this is what should be desired; it says that other sexual orientations, body figures, and races are not as good.

Sam's Media Example: A Toilet Paper Commerical

1. Does the use of an undressing model (an already objectified figure) play a role in sexualizing the product being sold? How might using a female of any conventional profession have crafted a different message?
2. How does the ending of the commercial, in which the woman does not remain undressed, but puts a robe on, change the message being sent? Does it become less sexualized as a result of the ending?

This commercial gives the concept of "sex" meaning in at least three ways:

First, it offers up an "idealized" image of female beauty to a general audience. She is tall, thin, gets paid to take attractive photographs, and has seemingly luxurious clothing (even though made from toilet paper) This sends messages to the viewed about the ideal form that femininity should take, contributing to a very specific, narrow view of proper gender roles.

Second, the commercial was set in reverse for a reason. The advertisers wanted to attract attention to both the woman and the clothing. Thus, they decided that a woman undressing was the most effective way to get their message across. This contributes to an understanding of sex in terms of sexuality. The implicit message is that women who are considered attractive and successful, like the model, ought to take off their clothes to attract attention.

Third, the lack of personality or humanity in the model is obvious. She has her picture taken with very little change in facial expression for the first 8 seconds, and stands mostly motionless for the remainder of the commercial, finally walking away backwards with her face away from the audience.The woman in this commercial is successful because she is "seen and not heard". Her value as a person rests not in personality or accomplishments, but in her ability to take pictures, and stand patiently as "life happens to her". This commercial, thus, reinforces gender roles encouraging passivity and attractive appearance as top qualities for women.


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