Boo or hoorah? BOO OR HOORAH?!

5 Sep

Today, I saw a tumblr post reporting the emergence of an advert for K-Y Intense featuring a couple consisting of women, which is due to be first aired today:

On the one hand, I think it’s really rad that, as the original Jezebel post says, a couple consisting of women is being represented for reasons other than the fact that they are a couple consisting of women (obviously I have a bit of beef with the Jezebel post for presuming – and the Deviant Femme post for not questioning the presumption – that they identify as lesbians but, since this niggle isn’t to do with the advert itself, I’ll leave it to one side for now.) The idea of living in a media culture in which more positive depictions of non-heteronormative couples (or groupings) are more frequent is a very pleasant one, and I would really like to think that this advert might pave the way for that kind of environment: I have, after all, never seen an advert involving a couple consisting of women before.

That said, I have a fair few questions and issues with this representation. Following a Facebook comment from a friend of mine, I’ve been thinking about how it is going to be appearing on television (I presume that it will be appearing on television since it has an airing date). How many channels will it be appearing on, and which channels will include it in their advertising breaks? Which programmes will it be shown next to? Is it aimed at an audience of queers/queer women/queer people who have connections with the labels ‘woman’ or ‘female’ (which seems odd since it’s such a comparatively small group and no company ever seems to have done this before), or is it also hoped to function as a tool for promoting further inclusiveness and tolerance (which seems wildly unlikely, although that might just be because I am very cynical about business)? Will it have to adhere to a watershed? I wish I had the means I could find this stuff out myself, although bloggers in a position to might yield this information in time. The answers to these questions make quite a big difference to how positive I feel this advert is, or can be – that it would be on television is, obviously, awesome, but there are lots of degrees of awesome and I don’t want to feel like it’s making-out-with-Lady-Gaga-awesome when it’s actually finding-a-pound-in-your-sofa-when-you-previously-had-38p-to-live-on awesome.

I also have some concerns regarding the way in which women who have or are in relationships with other women are being represented here. I really like the conversational tone and feel it adds to a sense of validity – these characters are clearly very close – as does the friction between the characters when one of them produces the K-Y jelly and derails the other’s serious monologue about the ways in which their relationship is “successful.” I wish very much that there were direct references to orgasm rather than the use of euphemism to shroud it; although it might seem a little “too much” to expect from an advert, this is the first thing that made me feel tense about the representation of positive sexuality without masculine involvement. The second thing that made me feel tense about this was one member of the couple’s use of the phrase ‘like nothing we’ve ever felt before,’ and the reason that these things make me feel tense is because I worry that, for some bigoted viewers, this will support the myth that sex between women can’t be as fulfilling as (specifically penetrative) sex between a heteronormative couple.

Personally, I do not think that the inclusion of lube, sex toys, role play, or any other “marital aids” (lol) in sex compromises the quality of that sex, providing, of course, that those involved are using these tools because that is what they want to do. I don’t think that anyone watching this advert should have the right to use it to bolster their own prejudices about what women “need” in bed, and neither do I think that this advert should be used as “evidence” for the belief that, for a woman, sex with another woman will be inherently less fulfilling than penetrative sex with a man. But just because I believe that the advert should not be used for those purposes doesn’t mean that it won’t be.

I understand that you can’t encapsulate the nuances of any gender politics in something as brief as an advert. I also understand that there is a revolutionary aspect of including a couple consisting of women in an advert without linking their relationship with a heteronormative man. I think what I’m trying to figure out here is whether it is worth the risk. Or, in saying this, am I just pandering to the offensive and oppressive attitudes that I am seeking to minimise? What do you think?

My First Blog Post

24 Aug

Well, this is awkward: I don’t like first blog posts. In fact, I hate them. I mean, when other people do them it’s fine: my discomfort refers only to my own first blog posts. I don’t really know what I want this blog to be, yet, apart from more temporally successful than my previous blogs and also less whiny. (Good start, Lizzo.) It just feels so hard to get into these things without worrying that you’re setting some kind of precedent – and then admonishing yourself for imagining you have a particular type of audience, or any at all beyond futureliz. (Hi, futureliz.)

Fuck it. I’m going to write a blog post about hot men.

There aren’t many men that I find hot; I like to call them my ‘exceptions.’ I suppose it’s kind of like that Friends episode where they’re all discussing the famous people they’d be allowed to sleep with if they got the opportunity whilst in an otherwise monogamous relationship – except it really isn’t because it’s hardly as though the people I’m involved with have a rule against me fucking men. I just generally don’t find (cisgendered) men at all appealing. Except. For these guys. I think part of the appeal is that I am clearly never going to meet these people and also they are mainly characters in TV programmes so there is a suitable distance between me and having to interact with a cisman’s actual penis (although, that said, I suppose that wouldn’t be a necessity). I think another part of the appeal is HELLO look at them.

Eric fucking Northman

OH HAI. I’ve been watching some episodes of True Blood season four with my brother Will recently and it has just brought all the Ericlust back, although I do still prefer him with longer hair. I think a lot of what made it easy for me to be attracted to Eric (because I generally find it difficult to find my way into a mental space in which I can find men attractive) was all the homoeroticism which I’m SURE wasn’t just shipping but was a bit of a real actual thing in the True Bloodiverse. I mean. Just look at him.

Spike

Clearly there is a bit of a theme here. HELLO SPIKE. I started watching Buffy when it was first shown on BBC2, so when Spike hit the screens I would’ve been about twelve and identifying as bisexual. These days I can see that a lot of the physical attributes Spike and Eric have are attributes that I find incredibly attractive in women – tallness, good cheekbones, muscly, bit moody-looking (or “interesting”). I especially like Spike in New York in 1977, as pictured here – he basically looks like my ideal boy when I was in my teens, whom I obviously never met because he only really existed in fiction and also had I met him irl I would have hated him for being problematic on, like, a million levels. Oh, also, the homoerotic potential of Spike and Angel totally didn’t pass me by.

Jeremy’s Iron

Oh, Jeremy. Jeremy with the SILKEN VOICE and EXCELLENT FACE. The other day, Ryan and I were watching the latter bit of The French Lieutenant’s Woman and it was just the best thing ever, especially with Meryl Streep. We just didn’t know where to look. Also, it was really confusing and we probably should watch it from start to finish some time. ANYWAY. I am in a constant state of dismay that I haven’t seen Brideshead Revisited, since my favourite men are men that get with other men; I mean, I do want to read it before I see it, and I haven’t read it yet, so there is a very simple way to solve this problem (except I’m reading Orlando and Sex and the Slayer at the moment, so). Jeremy just has such a delicately beautiful face and the lip curve is just omg. Also I’ve more often than not seen him playing villains, which is obviously something I like in a fantasy man.

After all that, I actually can’t think of any other men I find really attractive; I think I might have manswooned myself out. At least my first post is done 🙂

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