Monday, 27 May 2013

When snacks attack

Pot Noodle has launched a charming advertising campaign called 'Peel the Top off a Hottie'. This is a pun on 'hottie' as in attractive young woman and spicy Pot Noodle, and 'peel the top' as in rip clothing off or remove lid of aforementioned revolting snack. I felt I should explain.

Just in case you're not sure, the delightful marketeers have arranged a couple of flesh-coloured Pot Noodle lids to look like a pair of breasts. And if you're still unsure there's generally a well-endowed babe lurking nearby in a skin-tight explanatory T-shirt.

Although the aim of the campaign is to encourage people to dip into a new brand of Pot Noodle, the choice of imagery does suggest that approaching attractive women and attempting to remove their clothing might be a reasonable, or at least desirable pastime.

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Boobs on the road

Pot Noodle appear to have been running a roadshow, in which they take two oversized Pot Noodle containers to town centres, and an attractive, large-breasted young woman emerges from each one.

The brand has, as you'd expect, received some criticism for the campaign. In response (I think) they have in some places had an attractive young man coming out of one of the pots, and in one case, men dressed as women, in a Rugby-club-lads-go-out-on-the-town-in-blond-wigs kind of a way. So as well as objectification you can add mocking transsexuality to their sins.

Is it just a bit of fun?

Am I being mean to the marketing people who are just trying to shift a few more nasty snacks?

I don't think so. Let's be clear: it's not the worst thing in the world. The Pot Noodle people are not actually encouraging men to assault women. Nor can we hold them responsible for domestic violence, female genital mutilation or reinforcing the glass ceiling. In the war over equality, they're hardly one of the worst offenders.

But this kind of thing just makes me weary. Can we not just move on from seeing women as no more than the sum of their sexual parts?

On the one hand I feel a little 'live and let live' about objectification: we're all sexual beings and it's natural that  we find the body parts that emphasise our sexual difference attractive. It's OK to have a little bit of fun with that - with men and women. It's fine that we fancy each other.

But I'm fed up with being part of a group in which our physical attributes always come first. Historically, women were baby-making machines - daughters came into the world to be married off and produce more sons. Surely society has moved on from this, and we should be able to value all aspects of  women - their bodies, their brains, and the contributions they make to the world?

Shouldn't we be seen as more than a pair of tits by now?

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