So female thighs are the latest place to advertise? Women shouldn't be used as billboards

Advertising has crept into everyday life so subtly that we now forget to be outraged - this is a case of corporate identity replacing female identity

Share
Related Topics

One of the most fascinating things about the internet age is the transience of a news story.

This can be great for those who have ever wanted to escape their online history. Anyone who has ever had an embarrassing blog (including me) can breathe a sigh of relief that everything they have posted online is erased, or forgotten as more and more stories are stacked on top of one another.

The barrage of information means that news flows so quickly that we move on swiftly – last week Taylor Swift, this week Jennifer Lawrence. The problem is, however, that things do tend to be forgotten. News stories that enrage us are saturated, then left after they’ve seen a lot of online traffic, or had a desirable number of retweets.

The most recent example of this comes courtesy of last month’s story about a PR company paying women in Japan to advertise on their thighs. For those who missed it, Absolute Territory are a Japanese marketing company who pay women to paste temporary tattoos of brand logos on their themselves. To be eligible you must be at least 18-years-old and connected to least 20 people on social networking sites, and the idea is that you must upload pictures of yourself on to then collect your money at the end of the day (the amount of money you’re paid has apparently been reported as much as $12 to $130, so who knows).

Oh, and the name of the PR company, “Absolute Territory,” - who have been used by bands like Green Day to promote their most recent album - is a translation of the Japanese phrase “zettai ryouiki,” which describes the area on a woman’s leg between the end of her skirt or short and the beginning of a knee-high stocking. Nothing creepy about that.

‘Ad creeping’ (the term to describe marketing technique that sees advertisements creeping into your everyday life) is no new thing – whether it's Gordon’s Gin pumping the scent of Juniper berries into UK cinemas in the 90s, Calvin Klein being squirted onto the backs of Ticketmaster tickets, or product placement across TV and film.

Advertising has crept into everyday life so subtly that we now forget to be outraged that our lives are branded, and that brands dictate the way we use our senses.  In a sense, Absolute Territory have taken this idea of expanding advertisements from the 2D backdrops of plain old billboards and had a revolutionary idea – why not make us the billboard? And by us, I mean young women, and by women, I mean specifically, their thighs.

In a sense, we have become the billboards for as long as we can remember, as much as wearing designers and drinking branded coffees make us walking adverts. But the normalisation of casting the male gaze directly onto a woman’s thigh, and keeping it there, with the justification of ‘selling space’ is something we should all be worried about. The power of suggestion is what keeps advertisers in the money – whether it's Burger King re-enacting blow jobs or Campari letting you know that “Campari: The first time is never the best” in case you didn’t know, sex sells. And it couldn’t be less tedious. 

The focus here is not that hyper-branding culture has found itself onto women’s thighs, perhaps that was always the next step. The issue is that this sexual corporate commodification of the female body is the latest in an ongoing train of thought that sees women as billboards.

In the week that welcomes International Women’s Day (this Friday) it poses an opportunity to look at women’s issues that we may have moved away from, and to take a moment to think about and to retain some anger about things that are no longer deemed newsworthy.

Advertisements are transient. We’ve grown used to looking up at the ever-changing, shinier, punchier taglines, but to make a simple but important point, women’s issues aren’t. We’ve been trained to move on from adverts in a way that we can’t afford to move on from feminist issues. If we see companies attempting to project corporate identity in place of female identity, we need to start a conservation, and not stop until people listen.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Langley James : IT Support, Bradford £16k - £22k

£16000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Langley James : IT Support, Bradford £16...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager / Invoice Finance £75k OTE

£40000 - £50000 per annum + £75,000 OTE Car+Mobile : h2 Recruit Ltd: Business ...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager-Managed Services-£80,000 OTE

£45000 - £80000 per annum + £80,000 OTE + Car,benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Busine...

Langley James : IT Sales Executive;Borehamwood;£40k(neg) uncapped comm£100k+OTE

£40000 per annum + £100k+ OTE: Langley James : IT Sales Executive; connectivit...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

You wouldn't give your child untested medicine, so why would you give them an untested education?

Oliver Wright
Tony Blair and George Bush were united over Iraq  

America and Britain shaped the world after World War II, and ought to be proud of their work

John Rentoul
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital