Dutch men’s underwear company JBS are really kinky.
At first glimpse it seems they’re marketing themselves as the anti-metrosexual underwear brand: it features no gorgeous male models with abs and bulging packets filling out their products and provoking the lust/envy/anxiety of the male consumer. Instead there are pictures of hot porno babes in various states of undress, holding the underwear up to their faces.
So nothing faggy about JBS then.
But then look at the pictures again and you begin to realise that something really pervey is going on here.
For starters, the women are sniffing the underwear. Do many women – any women – actually do that? Especially with underwear worn by retrosexuals (usually for several days)? Isn’t that in fact something that men like to do women’s underwear – and men’s underwear? Isn’t there some kind of pervey projection going on here?
Maybe JBS is cunningly associating their underwear with the lingerie worn by their babes. JBS is selling itself as the brand for cross-dressers who haven’t come out to themselves yet.
Personally, my favourite JBS underwear is their daggy downmarket range. Here’s their alluring description of it:
For some people underwear is not exactly the most important thing in the world. They want a decent product – and at an attractive price; two requirements you can only completely satisfy by introducing them to JBS Trade.
I’ll take three. Do they do out-calls?
Don’t Send A Woman To Do A Man’s Job
I understand that in the world of advertising there is one mission, and one mission only, to sell a product and make money. However, sometimes in the pursuit of selling a product, the image behind the main focus can sometimes be incidentally, or purposefully, shown as degrading or disturbing. Sadly enough, this is most commonly shown with woman in the idea that “sex sells.” The worst part of this is that it actually works. I was assigned to write a paper on gender and stereotyping, and over the past couple of days, I have been looking for advertisements that I thought particularly stood out as degrading or sexually biased towards women. The advertisements of your company, JBS underwear, were by far the most concerning. The semi-pornographic pictures that show only a glimpse of JBS underwear are what you call an advertisement? The way you portray women is stomach churning and needs to stop. Women in advertisements of any kind should not be portrayed as sexual objects because it degrades the value of what being a woman is.
Your set of print ads demean woman because they portray them as sexual objects. These ads were published for all to see and each image appears to be some kind of sex vignette that has just taken place. In your images, the models are all dressed differently and produce an extremely provocative photograph. Three of the four images I found show a woman with her legs spread open, and all of them have opened or unbuttoned tops, if they are wearing tops at all. It is basically nudity with out the nipple. Some even show areolas. This set of advertisements shows women as whores who are just looking for sex. Two of the ads I found, show women at work who appear to have just had sexual intercourse. What are you trying to say? Do you think woman are just sex hungry animals that are willing to do have sex with whomever, wherever, and whenever? The entire ad campaign is awful. Women are not this way, nor should they ever be. By publishing these photos, you may be selling your underwear, but you are also selling an image of women that is not how my sister, mother, daughter should be portrayed.
I am personally disappointed in your entire advertising campaign. I would have hoped that you would have more confidence in your underwear so that you did not have to rely on this near pornography to sell a pair of briefs. You show women in a tired, drained, and nirvana state of mind, while simultaneously smelling JBS men’s underwear. That’s right, your entire campaign is based off of women smelling underwear. What was going through your head? You turned beautiful models into sluttish, half-naked, underwear smelling hoes. I genuinely feel sorry for these women, and you should too. What has selling a pair of men’s underwear turned into? This in no way depicts reality, nor does it take you a step closer to selling the product.
Not only do you show woman in a terrible light, but you also do not show a single man in the attempt of selling a pair of men’s underwear. Women are the only sex in your advertisements. The only image that slightly resembles a man in any of your ads is the underwear. However, even that is hard to see, not only because of the distractions in the image, but also because they are shriveled up and being sniffed by women. Your models should not be portrayed as male odor loving sex fiends.
After seeing your ads, I could not help but be reminded of an article I read just a few days prior. The writing was a letter that a group had written to fast food and burger enterprise, Carl’s Jr. It discussed a commercial in which Paris Hilton was the main focal point. So much so that many viewers never even saw the burger that Carl’s Jr. was trying to promote. Miss. Hilton is featured stroking a luxury car, wearing next to nothing, with a burger in one hand and a soaked sponge in the other. The group called the ad, “sexist […] insulting to our intelligence and in no way reflects reality” (Undersigned 1). The letter goes on to say that the commercial does not in any way “represent the customer” (Undersigned 1). Perhaps the most interesting thought that the letter presented was the comparison between Carl’s Jr. and Paris Hilton. It described how Miss. Hilton in no way reflects the company she was representing. There is a direct correlation between your company (JBS) and Carl’s Jr. You both use women as sexual objects in the attempt to make a buck. Regardless of what the product is, sex or sexual suggestions should not play any part in the attempt to sell something.
In the collection of ads produced by your company, you show women as if they had just been taken advantage of, and then deserted. The reoccurring theme of domination of women to sell a pair of men’s underwear is not only a bad idea, but also it the value of woman. Is this the image you want to be giving the public? The story or message you are giving off to people all over the world, both young and old, is that women are sex fiends who need their fix, and men must “give it” to them. After the deed is done, men are supposed to leave the woman naked and mangled, just as long as they leave their underwear behind so they can smell it.
You argue that, “men don’t want to look at men naked,” as shown in the tagline of your ads. You say that men do not want to look at other men posing in ads to sell products. I can see where you are coming from. I am a man, and if I were to flip through a magazine, I would be a lot more likely to pay attention to an ad with a naked woman, and not one of a naked man. I know that the women in your advertisements are merely props created to catch the eye of your target audience. The women are the bait to the hook that is men’s underwear. I get it.
However, I just cannot seem to get a grasp on the ethical and moral reasoning of thinking that portraying a woman that has just been “used” will sell JBS men’s underwear. High fashion model Heidi Klum once said in an interview, “Use me. Abuse me. I’m and ad hoe” (Klum 3). Perhaps this would be a more suitable campaign slogan. If you just wanted to put a woman in the ad, I could live with that. It is the way that you do it that I disagree with; it is the way that you go about doing it. You are raising a generation of men who will have unrealistic expectations of women that will never be fulfilled. You will be responsible for creating a generation of men who are unhappy due to constant unmet expectations. You need to take responsibility for contributing to this. These men may have good underwear, but they still will not be happy.
In conclusion, I believe the public would prefer to see woman treated with respect in your advertisements, and not treated as just a sexual object. Your advertising gives the public a message that women are nothing more than objects of sexual appeal. If we are trying to create a society where our sisters, mothers, daughters are valued, and treated with respect by others, we need to begin by not degrading their image. In one advertisement after the other, I found your female models posing as if they were an object, unimportant sex symbols, or something to take advantage of and desert, only to leave a pair of JBS underwear. I guarantee that the models you hire do not act this way by choice. They are forced to do this because it is the “image” that your company is looking for. In several of these advertisements the models appear to look abandoned, and drained, as if they had just finished sexual intercourse, therefore making them look more vulnerable. They are taught to look over powered, weak, and puny. Perhaps this is where the pressure to look thin comes from. It is not so that they can look more beautiful, it is so they can look more like the way you want them to. Changes need to be made, and this must be put to an end. If a large and influential company, like JBS, made the transition to producing non-sexual, or modest advertisements, it would definitely be a step in the right direction. Woman in advertisements of any kind should not be portrayed as sexual objects because it degrades the value of what a woman is. It all starts with you.
Doe, John. Letter. Carl Karcher Enterprises 23 Sept. 2002: 16.
JBS Underwear. Advertisement. 9 May 2008
JBS Underwear. Advertisement. 9 May 2008
JBS Underwear. Advertisement. 9 May 2008 .
JBS Underwear. Advertisement. 9 May 2008
Spiegel, Der. Interview. “I Didn’t Think the Girl was Too Fat” 10 Feb. 2006 .