Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Fine footwear meets trans for a non-sexist ad

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | September 28, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, The Movement
Tags: non-sexist ad, progressive advertising, trans humor

From French shoe company Eram. Translation: "No woman's body was exploited in this ad."


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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | September 29, 2009 12:27 AM

Gloria, I'm surprised no one commented on this. (Maybe all the commenters interested in trans issues got sucked over to Phil's thread.)

I've been mulling over the ad. My initial emotional reaction this morning, which actually hasn't changed, is that the premise is purely shock value: the handsome, naked male, wearing "women's" shoes. I don't feel it's trying at all to subvert the transphobic narrative, only reinforce it.

What about you?

I'm actually not seeing it as trans related at all, myself.

I see it as just a guy with a pair of women's shoes on him for the purpose of making an advertisement acknowledging women tend to get a bit abused by the sexual nature of advertising for them.

That is, the ad company and the shoe company realize that historically selling shoes on the basis of "they will make you look sexier" isn't really all that woman friendly.

So I'm kinda wondering what is the trans component. Shoe fetish maybe, but not trans.

I think a lot of the lack of comments is due to the vortex elsewhere.

Did people forget Joe Namath's pantyhose ads?

Using variance of gender expression (on male-bodied people) to get attention... oldest trick in the book, and not at all trying to get the reader to really think. It's using a subtle version of the old "man in a dress joke" to reinforce gender stereotypes... saying "see, we didn't exploit women, but when we don't get to do that, then you have to look at THIS ugliness hahaha."

This ad is not the opposite of exploiting women, it's a male joke explaining why they feel they need to exploit women and how 'silly' male-bodied people look in women's clothes.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | September 29, 2009 1:50 PM

I totally agree.

And Dyss, I see it as "trans" simply in its fundamental "crossdressing" aspect.

oh, there's certainly, that, by that same extnesion, a guy walking down the street with eyeliner on is a crossdresser and therefore trans.

Which may or may not be true.

If it isn't, it could be insulting. If it is, then could having said "hey, there's a guy walking down the street with eyeliner one" be misgendering them?

I can't say the discussion there wouldn't be interesting, but I won't say something is trans merely because of a single picture.

It smacks too much to me of being willing to leap to a snap judgement -- and for *me*, personally, that's proven dangerous.

Then again, I'm pretty judgmental as it is, so probably for the best, lol

Brynn, since you asked...

I never expect corporations to offer something as sophisticated as a genuine contribution to sexological thinking, much less advancing any purposeful cause (like changing the narratives on gender). Advertising is in the business of exploiting social trends to sell product. In that respect, I agree with those who say "another example of taking one sex and dressing it like another for shock effect, ho hum, he might as well be Milton Berle."

BUT...I will say my own initial reaction to this was not "just some man wearing ladies' shoes" but rather "Wow, that's pretty hot." To my eye, he doesn't look ridiculous in the least: he looks sexy and makes those shoes look even sexier.

And, as a member of the market they're targeting (het/het-flexible women who spend waaaay too much on shoes), perhaps that's the reaction they sought. 1. it isn't just another group of women I'll never look like flaunting expensive shoes 2. when I'm not looking at the shoes, I'm looking at someone who is hard to pin down: cross-dresser? shoe fetishist? trans? And in that respect, it changes the advertising narrative which, for the most part, re-enforces the same old stereotypes.

I realize they are exploiting a trend, but that's okay with me: I sort of wish they hadn't added the copy. It'd be more powerful without it. And I wish more advertisers would exploit the rising consciousness of gender diversity and shock more people into redefining what's sexy.