Monday, June 05, 2006

Nip? Tuck? Anyone?

Some time ago I complained to the Advertising Standards Agency about an advert for the Sky one series "Nip/Tuck". The advert appear in one of the Sunday magazines and went like this:

The two main male characters were sitting in an empty operating theatre. They were wearing their finest suits and looking mean and brooding. Draped across one of the men's laps was a slender and white naked woman with scalpels inserted into her body at various points. There was a similar naked woman standing elsewhere in the picture.

I got annoyed and dashed off a complaint. To me it seemed obvious; the advert was offensive on many many levels, not even considering the programme it advertised. It was not obvious, however, to the folk at the ASA. Here's the important part of their reply:

"the advertisement reflected the content of the programme, which was an adult drama about the private and professional lives of two male cosmetic surgeons" Yeeeeees? "the pose of the woman lying on her back was stylised; there was no blood emanating from around the scalpel" aaaaah, I get it.."The advertisement was unlikely to encourage violence against women or to cause serious or widespread offence to readers of national press titles." Ok then.

So, it's not offensive because there's no blood, the pose of the women was stylised and the fictitious men were plastic surgeons. The problem is that it SHOULD be offensive. The general public ought to be recognising that these are violent images of powerless women. Instead, these images just wash over people and their influences seep into the collective consciousness. We become more tolerant with every picture. I intend to complain more often, and with a louder voice.

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