Twerking men and kick-ass girls: how advertising learned to gender-flip

A hypersexualised commercial featuring a man with a big butt has gone viral – is advertising finally embracing a new and improved approach to gender roles?

moneysupermarket.com advert

Well, your wish has been granted, sort of, in the form of an advert for Moneysupermarket.com. If you haven’t seen “Epic Strut” yet, the precis is: a man with enormous buttocks, wearing hotpants and heels, twerks down the street to the Pussycat Dolls’ seminal anthem Don’t cha. It’s gender theorist Judith Butler meets big booty culture – in a desperate attempt to make an ad for a car insurance comparison website go viral. And this somewhat bizarre formula appears to have worked. The ad has been viewed more than 1.4m times on YouTube and “Dave”, the man with the enormous buttocks, has ambitiously been dubbed the “new Kim Kardashian” by the likes of Grazia.

So a man with a prosthetic posterior (yep, sorry to break it to you, but Dave’s assets aren’t entirely his own) gyrates on camera to try to sell something … so what? Well, that doesn’t normally happen, that’s what. Since time immemorial, or at least since the 1970s, when sex exited the furtive confines of the bed sheets and clambered onto the ad pages of the broadsheets, the bulk of the scantily clad backsides and bare body parts in the media have belonged to women.

It’s not just adverts that are to blame: a study of Rolling Stone cover imagespublished over four decades found that, in the 1960s, 11% of men and 44% of women on the covers were sexualised, while in the 2000s, it was 17% of men and 83% of women. The study also found that, while sexualised representations of both men and women have become more common, women were much more likely to be “hypersexualised”.

Continue reading at: The Guardian