Stet by Ria Bacon

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Tits 'n' bums, kids 'n' mums

Peeling postersThe city council has put up extra billboards to host the thousands of posters for the forthcoming regional elections. The regular billboards are overloaded with dozens of posters stuck on top of each other by the busy glue boys working under cover of darkness. In their hyperactive haste they seem to drip as much glue on the ground as they do on the board, judging by our sticky tiptoeing to the car each morning. By election time there may be as many as fifty posters on a single board, the edges curling up and creating a confusing collage of political messages. Eventually the heavy mass falls to the ground, lies in the rain for a couple of days and dissolves in a glutinous mush.

But we're not there yet.

Most of the election posters are head shots of the candidate. Occasionally the communists will put up one with text only, shunning idolatry for the purity of the true word - as if anyone can read a paragraph of text from a speeding car. From the driver's seat of my own speeding car, I carried out an extensive survey of the image of women in the posters lining the route to school. It may not bear up to scientific scrutiny, but so what? - it was raining heavily and my son kept wanting me to turn round and admire his glow-in-the-dark shoes.

This is what I saw:

-No turning back-


Election poster #1
Big-haired brunette beauty, bare shoulders, beaming smile, her arms protectively around a little boy






Election poster #2
Small child with his head against a naked pregnant belly. Woman's head and legs cut off. (Reminds me of the tits 'n' bums photos in porno mags, and of the Meat Manual that we produced recently.)

Election poster #3
Young mother standing side-by-side with man and two small children

Election poster #4
Girl, aged about 9, backpack on, heading for school

Election poster #5
Beautiful blond woman, head thrown back, laughing loudly on the phone

Election poster #6
Middle-aged woman in hospital scrubs, smiling softly

Message to the female voter:
Get a basic education
Gossip & flirt
Get pregnant
Look after your kids
Stand by your man
Take care of sick people.

. . .

Is that all there is?

How does the commercial world present women on my drive from school to work?

Ad #1
Intimissimi, with their new winter range of push-up lingerie for teenage girls

Ad #2
LookAtMiHonda's new scooter, with a perfectly sculpted woman's face in deep shadow, bee-stung lips and a wide-eyed side glance at the shiny SH125i. Look at mi is the caption, in English.

Ad #3
Casaidea, the interior design exhibition, showing a zany mussy-haired woman with an apple on her head

Ad #4
Where's the jack, Jack?Telecom Italia, promoting a double-speed ADSL connection by using the obvious image of a gawping raven-haired beauty lying naked with phone cable wrapped round her breasts and hips. Double-speed ADSL :: near-naked woman. Gosh, the copywriter really pushed the envelope on that one.

My caption: "Find the jack, Jack". I should get paid for that, don't you think?


What message do you get from these ads?