Thursday, June 21, 2007

Condoms: OK for disease prevention, not OK for contraception


That seems to be the attitude of FOX and CBS, who are refusing to air this ad for Trojan condoms. FOX gave Trojan the following justification, according to the New York Times:
In a written response to Trojan, though, Fox said that it had rejected the spot because, “Contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy.”
Actually, this ad doesn't mention pregnancy. It just implies that having a condom will make you more attractive to the hot woman. But I'm somewhat bewildered by FOX preference for disease prevention uses over contraceptive uses. What gives? I guess condom ads are supposed to talk about scary AIDS and nasty STDs, not pregnancy prevention. I know that in some religions birth control is evil, but I suspect those religions would consider any sex that required a condom evil, so how does making it about disease help? Maybe talking about disease makes sex seem sufficiently dangerous and yucky that the puritans are OK with it? I thought this sort of thing had fallen by the wayside, especially among the young, affluent demographic that people who trade television ad time fetishize. But I guess not. The puritans still exert their control. And who knows what CBS's justification was.

Here's Amanda Marcotte's take on Pandagon:

Translation: We can accept advertising of sexual devices if they are advertised as benefiting men. But if they insinuate something as crazy as the concept that men should respect women’s bodies, health, and choices, then they’re way out of line.

The good news is that the gloves are off. The networks are cowering because they’re scared to death of anti-choicers writing in and bitching about the idea that sluts should escape their due punishment for having sex. Make no mistake, this is not about the fetuses. Not even the most crazy anti-choicer can convince himself that condoms kill babies. The idea of preventing unwanted pregnancy—and therefore preventing abortion, actually—is the source of the angst. Once more with feeling: It’s not about the babies, it’s about punishing women for having sex.

One of her commenters remarks:

Let me get this straight–it’s OK to use sex to sell everything from cars to shoes, but run a commercial that suggests that buying your own condoms might make you more attractive to women?

Yeah, that’s beyond the pale.

Yes. You can use sex appeal to sell anything, but you can't sell sex itself, because it's evil. This is what happens when rampant commercialism and puritanical Calvinism jump into the back seat of American culture and make a bunch of babies. Not always a pretty sight.

Looking at it from another angle, could Trojan have crafted the ad specifically to be rejected, so that it would get free press coverage here on Internal Monologue (and elsewhere, of course)? Well, using condoms is a good message to spread, so if the Trojan folks get a little free publicity from me, I suppose that's not entirely a bad thing.

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