This website really stinks

Hah. Gotta love stupid puns about repulsive, sexist deodorant websites. I wasn’t aware that even deodorant could be marketed with such over-the-top sexism, but the Axe website proves that it can. You build (or “customize,” as they call it, kind of like a car) your “dream girl,” and Axe tells you what kind of body spray to purchase to snag her. Rad. Now, my slow dial-up connection was taking a few minutes to get me all the way into the site, and after about 30 seconds I asked myself, “Wait, why am I looking at an Axe deodorant site to customize my dream girl?” so I clicked out of the page. But not before I read the lovely “page loading” message:

Your desires are important to us. Please continue to hold. loading legs loading firm buttocks loading swan-like necks loading super-sized chest you could bury your head in loading moist pillow lips loading seductive haunting eyes loading naughty tongue…

I’m just gonna skip the usual deconstruction of this website because, really, it’s not that complicated to see what’s going on here: women, like cars and other things you “customize,” are things. They serve a particular purpose in a man’s life, and that purpose is sexual, ornamental or both. Plus, you should buy things. Things like Axe. Because buying things gets you more things.

So everything else aside, let me just add this: Axe stinks. Seriously. I’ve smelled it, and it’s nasty. I also have a (perhaps unfair, but now… maybe not) stereotype about the type of guy who uses Axe body spray — and it’s not appealing. And let me reiterate: It. Is. Smelly. No offense to any nice boys or girls out there who use it — but do you even exist? Are there nice, cool, progressive and socially conscious men and women who are purchasing and using Axe body spray, after their repulsive ad campaign and this inane website? Anyone?

Via Shankar at TK. Because for whatever reason, today I’m really feelin’ the blogs of conservative former NYU students.


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31 comments for “This website really stinks

  1. BillyHW
    May 25, 2005 at 2:39 am

    it’s not that complicated to see what’s going on here: women, like cars and other things you “customize,” are things. They serve a particular purpose in a man’s life, and that purpose is sexual, ornamental or both.

    No, it’s not complicated to see what’s going on here: this is what contraception has wrought. Before women were regarded as beautiful creatures endowed with the awesome ability to bring life into this world. They were treated with respect. But now that the contraceptive mentality has completely taken over our culture, women have lost that profound dignity in the eyes of men and have become like cars to them: sexual toys, ornaments, semen receptacles, to be discarded once boredom sets in.

    I know feminists worship contraception and regard it as the greatest thing since sliced bread, but you don’t realize just how much it has degraded the dignity of women.

    Contraception has empowered men, not women.

  2. May 25, 2005 at 5:04 am

    First, I bought Axe when it first came out cause it was cheap. I had never heard of it. My son has 2 more to go before he’s through. Sorry, I can comment to him about the ads but I cant get my money back now.

    Second, Billy, did it ever occur to you that women are slightly more complicated than Madonna vs. whore? That either way you are worshiping their ability to be a vessel for sperm?

  3. May 25, 2005 at 7:37 am

    We were just talking about this brand yesterday in my class on multiculturalism. We got onto the topic of body image and body types and mass media’s influence on sex and sexuality.

    A guy raised his hand and said, “You know, I’ve used that stuff [Axe] and I’ve never had women flock around me. Like, cologne doesn’t do that to people. Their commercials are so unrealistic.”

    His simplicity aside, the (count ’em) four guys in class all agreed they hate the commercials and that they paint an unfavourable picture of not only women in particular, but also of men (i.e., beefy physique and only interested in a certain type of woman).

  4. michelle
    May 25, 2005 at 7:42 am

    Birth control was around long before Margaret Sanger et al, so you can’t reasonably blame anything on it.

    If women were really revered for their ability to create life, all those midwives wouldn’t have been murdered for their knowledge of the ‘mysteries’ of childbirth during centuries of inquisitions.

  5. mac
    May 25, 2005 at 8:17 am

    I’ll ignore the comments of Mr. Neanderthal, and opine on what I imagine is the standard issue kind of guy who a] wears Axe and b] believes that supermodels will flock to him because of it — the stereotypical South Philly guy.

    Let me explain. There is a billboard in South Philly for a men’s clothing store. It features a bare-chested guy, legs akimbo with a half dressed bimbo kneeling before him. If the proportions are right, the girl must be about 7 feet tall and the guy is 4’5″. The stereotypical South Philly guy’s dream is this sign. Yet he’s 5’4″, overweight, talks like a circa-1976 mobster, and has a serious back hair. And he drives a Dart and wears lots of gold chains. I know plenty of these guys. And I would guesstimate that they all wear Axe.

  6. May 25, 2005 at 8:43 am

    Apparently, by dousing oneself in this warmed-over goat placenta, one can attract a nice girl, like the one who cuts off her lovers’ feet in Takashi Miike’s Audition.

  7. May 25, 2005 at 8:54 am

    Oh, dear, Billy. I’m thinking that you weren’t paying attention during your women’s history class. I could give you a reading list if you’d like a refresher course. You’ve clearly forgotten that the whole “angel of the house” idea that women were beautiful and moral and nurturing was really a 19th century innovation, at least in the U.S. In 17th century New England, women were considered especially sinful and were constantly reminded of their collective guilt for Eve’s sin.

  8. May 25, 2005 at 9:18 am

    Before women were regarded as beautiful creatures endowed with the awesome ability to bring life into this world. They were treated with respect. But now that the contraceptive mentality has completely taken over our culture, women have lost that profound dignity in the eyes of men and have become like cars to them: sexual toys, ornaments, semen receptacles, to be discarded once boredom sets in.

    No, without contraception, women were regarded as semen vesicles with an obligation to bring life into the world regardless of their situation or preparedness. Now, men can marry women for reasons other than “future producer of my heirs.” Personally, I’m glad that my husband loves me for who I am–as a writer, a person, and a companion, and not just for my ability to produce sons for him

  9. Nora
    May 25, 2005 at 9:28 am

    Aound here, Axe tends to be a middle school crowd thing. And believe me, as overpowering as the stuff is, it sure beats the hell out of eau de middle-school-boy.

    Those Axe ads have been running in movies theatres around here for a while — haven’t seen one on TV yet. They usually just get a lot of snickers from the audience.

    There is, however, something refreshingly yes-I’m-just-a-dumbass-goombah-from-Astoria about the site, though. As sexist and piggy as they are, at least they aren’t as nauseatingly cloying and precious as this site:

    http://www.sweetspotlabs.com

    Disclaimer: the dumbass-goombah-from-Astoria comment was made with much love — there will always be a soft spot in my heart for dumbass goombahs from Astoria.

  10. Kim
    May 25, 2005 at 9:39 am

    Contraceptives have been around since women have been having children. For instance, the now-extinct plant silphium was a widely-used herbal contraceptive in use by the ancient Romans. Hell, even condoms have been around since the ancient Egyptians. Wikipedia’s got a pretty good overview of some early methods. Yes, it could be argued that Billy meant “since contraceptives have become less of a taboo subject,” but then that leads me to ask: Would Billy rather we go back to the days when women would ingest pennyroyal in secret and die? That’d be pretty dignified, I guess.

    Heh. Axe. My brother showed up the other day to hang out. The following exchange occured:
    “Hey, what’s that…smell…?”
    *he rolls his eyes* “Axe.”
    “Look, guy, I’m your sister — please don’t expect me to do anything that leaves some object imprinted on my back.”
    “Oh, no, that’s the other brand’s commercial. Yeah, my girlfriend bought it for me. It stinks horribly, doesn’t it?”

    The other brand? How many skeevy, cheap, “chicks’ll do anything if you wear this stuff” colognes are there out there? Man, I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, and it shows.

  11. May 25, 2005 at 9:43 am

    It’s probably worth noting that Axe (known in the U.K. as Lynx) is a Unilever brand that was sold in Europe long before it was available in the U.S. I’m not sure that makes their marketing campaign any more or less sexist, but my opinion of it (the campaign, not the deodorant) becomes much more muddled when I consider the cultural implication.

    Whatever the case, I wouldn’t blame Axe for making stupid men stupider, just stinkier, which, when you think about it, is a pretty helpful marker, possibly even a public service. You shall know them by their reek and, thus, be better able to avoid them.

  12. May 25, 2005 at 9:45 am

    Given the crowd that Axe is marketing to, is anybody surprised? Dismayed, perhaps, but this tenor is no different than any other piece of marketing in existence, blatantly sensory/sensationlist/fantastic in nature and completely unilateral.

  13. May 25, 2005 at 10:10 am

    Just like a beer commercial, it misses the point of what it is supposed to do, make one smeel nice, and gives us unrealistic expectations, women will love you.

    Not only does it treat women as a commodity, which in itself is extremely sexist, but it lowers the male to the point of being such an idiot he needs deoderant to help him obtain the woman of his dreams.

    In the end, advertising simply attempts to nudge our primal urges, since those at times are very strong since we are always attmpting to repress them, whcih on intelligent human beings, falls short of any intellectual value.

  14. May 25, 2005 at 11:05 am

    Can there be a new rule here? Like, if you are totally ignorant of history – especially feminist/women’s history- and are just going to spew lies and misconceptions about it, AND have no interest in actually being informed by the people who know something, you don’t get to post comments on a feminist blog?

  15. Nora
    May 25, 2005 at 11:06 am

    All ads exist to give unrealistic expectations. 99.99% of advertising, either in print or on the airwaves, is for mundane, ordinary products, all of which are virtually identical to their competitors, and none of which can change our lives in any truly meaningful way.

    And sex sells — or gets us to look, anyway. These ads and sites are running because people responded to them favorably in test groups.

    So what do we learn? There are a lot of horny, dumbass 18-34 males out there who use vile-smelling body spray. Is anyone really surprised by this?

  16. May 25, 2005 at 11:28 am

    Thanks, Bill, for making our options clear–we can be sex objects or sex objects that are also wombs. At no point are we human beings, of course.

  17. May 25, 2005 at 11:44 am

    But how upset are you all going to get about a product that brings hot, mostly-naked men to our television sets during commercial breaks?

    Honestly!

  18. May 25, 2005 at 11:47 am

    And beyond all of the objectifying, there isn’t even a good selection! You can choose a librarian, a convict or a guidance counselor. There is absolutely no variety here. This does a real disservice to men and women alike. In this capitalist economy, we deserve a greater degree of selection.

  19. May 25, 2005 at 11:52 am

    Chuck,

    if there was equal objectifying of both men and women on TV, it would be a completely different matter. (For me at least.) If I got to see as many full frontal men as I do women, I would not complain.

  20. Nora
    May 25, 2005 at 11:54 am

    Oh, Chuck…don’t worry…at the age of 44 I sure can appreciate hot, almost-naked, horny, dumbass males between the ages of 18-34. I’m all for them, actually. I fully understand the male midlife crisis these days. I totally get the lure of the incredibly hot, incredibly horny, and incredibly stupid. Just as long as they leave before morning…

  21. May 25, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    oh dear. i actually went through the customization process… and one of the outfits you can pick is “black leather thong and stainless steel nipple clips.” then you are supposed to choose a metaphor for your dream girl’s attraction, and “like a maggot on dog poop” is an option there.

    my boyfriend wears axe, but he certainly doesn’t expect my “brain to receive sports updates every ten minutes.”

  22. May 25, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    You have selected American woman with cupholder wearing skimpy field hockey skirt who will come on to you in Museum of Natural History, reptile exhibit “like wet grass on a white sneaker” American woman will rip off everything but her cowboy hat, invite you to lick whipped cream off her stomach, then work her magic until you suffer from dehydration.

    Your match is APOLLO. Spray Axe APOLLO under your arms and across your chest every day, and soon you will meet your customized dream girl.

  23. May 25, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    Jill how right you are. Axe is the real-life version of Sex Panther.

    My boyfriend and his roommates used to have Axe wars where they would spray that stinky shit on each others beds as punishment for not doing dishes, etc. Was very effective.

  24. May 25, 2005 at 1:38 pm

    see, i don’t think the problem with axe is that it intrinsically smells bad. the problem is that all the guys i know who wear it think that lots and lots of cologne is a substitute for showering. it isn’t. it really, really isn’t.

  25. JC
    May 25, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    How can anyone take this seriously enough to be angry? Don’t forget reality — the sign is not the thing.

    You have selected Japanese woman with tongue that can tie cherry stem in knot wearing black latex thong with stainless steel nipple clips who will come on to you in dumpster behind dance club “like a cheapskate to an all-you-can-eat buffet.” Japanese woman will rip off everything but her cowboy hat, invite you to lick whipped cream off her stomach, then work her magic until you suffer from delusions of being an ancient Roman emporer.

    Your match is TSUNAMI. Spray Axe TSUNAMI under your arms and across your chest every day, and soon you will meet your customized dream girl.

  26. JC
    May 25, 2005 at 3:08 pm
  27. May 25, 2005 at 3:19 pm

    I tried to load the site but couldn’t keep listening to the repeating intro. Egads.

  28. May 25, 2005 at 4:45 pm

    That’s odd. It looks just like my wife.

  29. Kim
    May 25, 2005 at 6:56 pm

    Hey, look, it’s food porn! I actually saw a .mpg of this commercial and laughed, as this imaginary conversation went on in my head.

    “You want me to do what? Look, I’m all okay with wearing the bikini — it’s more than, like, what I wore last night to that really kickin’ party. But, like, you expect me to EAT something? That’s SO not hot.”

  30. May 25, 2005 at 8:43 pm

    If you decide to choose women by “career” and then choose High School Guidance Counselor, she yells at you for wasting your time and your “potential” on trying to pick up girls and then the window closes. Pretty funny.

    And I agree, Axe stinks…Old Spice smells much better.

  31. Linnaeus
    May 26, 2005 at 2:24 pm

    I dislike Axe commercials for the same reason I dislike most beer commercials…they objectify in a particularly odious way.

    The Axe thing reminds me of the popularity of Drakkar about 10-12 years ago. That cologne also smelled like you were a man on the make. I’m all for smelling good, but I must say that no cologne or fragrance I ever wore made women flock to me.

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