December 19, 2005


Several people wrote over the weekend asking "What do you think of the new American Apparel holiday banner ad campaign that is just girlass-in-panties and reads "Stuff This" along the bottom that's showing up on Insound and Pitchfork?" -- and my answer is I have not seen this yet, but will promptly go to Pitchfork and wait til it rotates up.

Ok, My first thought is that the porn zietgeist is in full flourish in America. The wink-wink nudge-nudge acknowledgement of awareness that, yes, in fact, the entire economic axis of the first world rotates in order to implicate and fuse to our very souls, this idea that if you spend money (and have money) you will get to "stuff" the ass of a white girl, or that a way for women to achieve power is to have a stuffable ass -- that this can be a harmless pop up ad because it is seen as MERELY ironic use of image and porn meaning-- it's a bum out. The trick is upon us like a cloud, kiddos.

Also, and, plus, that it's too bad that Insound and Pitchfork, who have women on their staff and thinking PC-ish dudes at the helm as well as purchasing/reading audiences that are likely at least 1/3rd women, and that they would not have the mettle to maybe tell American Apparel that they are not willing to post an ad like that is a little surprising. Maybe the "Stuff This" ad--maybe it's not "questionable" to them because they are excusing it by saying it's JUST ironic. Maybe they see it as just business as usual. Maybe they are into it and pissed they did not think of "Stuff This" first. I do not know. But I think the most "dangerous" idea at play here is excusing porn zietgeist as irony, which is akin to what feminists call gaslighting. The irony, here, attempts to disconnect us from the the truth that all images, including this one (of disembodied, "stuffable" girl ass) are suffused with meaning. If we can disconnect from meaning then we, as viewers/underwear buyers/hopeful holiday assstuffers, are NOT FORCED to examine what happens when porn zietgeist and objectified ass is being successfully used to broker us buying into certain products, who purport that their use of sexuality, is posed as liberation from shame, repreive from the hangover of PC, coming on strong to those who are tired of being denied our god given right to ogle/want to have it our way/consume women like we do any product/be unhindered by consciousness of others / and exalted and stabilized as (white) people with purchasing power... you know?

My question (not rhetorical if Ryan from Pfork or Matt from Insound want to answer), is, if that ad was for something NOT ACTUALLY COOL (qua Pfork/Insound relevent), like Miller Lite Ice/ Sofia Minis/Avenged Sevenfold/Jars of Clay -- that same ad, but with a different insignia somewhere, would they still say yes to it, would they still cash the check? Would those be given a pass, or because those products/companies are seen as being outre or mainstream, thusly we associate it's phallocratic steez with mainstream macho, and a literal mysogyny instead of an ironic, subversive, underground "cool"/punk-acceptable mysogyny?

I think this all, essentially, comes down to the post-PC hangover, where engaging porn zietgeist, casually (ab)using the word "faggot" like you did back in 3rd grade, cavalier dispensation of the n word, etc -- the nouveau cultural personae of this, the embrace of it, is about two things-- one, it's a totem of white identity (enough power/authority that you can betray accepted social norms/ideas -- or that it conveys that one is "beyond whiteness*") and/or , two, it says "I'm not a pussy". "Pussy-dom" is white shame by another name and I think, just like in the "real" world, it is the fossil-fuel propelling the economics of the underground.

(* "Beyond Whiteness" is something we will unpack later, input welcome)

Posted by Jessica at December 19, 2005 03:33 PM | TrackBack