...and then all that was left was the porn
December 21, 2015 12:05 PM   Subscribe

"But in the dark crevices of the Internet, something else was brewing: without warning, Erin Esurance became masturbation fodder for the very demographic she was designed to target." How Esurance Lost Its Mascot to the Internet.
posted by naju (131 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite


 
“The first thing I had to do,” Brewe tells us over the phone, “was attempt to understand 18 to 24 year-old men a bit better.” So, she took to gaming forums:

God, how does the entire article become unsurprising when you notice that sentence.
posted by maxsparber at 12:11 PM on December 21, 2015 [69 favorites]


No way am I clicking on that link at work.

I'm willing to bet Flo(gressive) is another horrifying example of Rule 34 in action, but again, not gonna try and verify that right now.
posted by Metafilter: at 12:12 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's SFW.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:14 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


This quote made my day:

“But it’s like my grandmother used to say: ‘Never mud wrestle with a pig; you get dirty and the pig loves it.’”
posted by Pendragon at 12:14 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's SFW.

Not so safe for driving, though.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:15 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to bet Flo(gressive) is another horrifying example of Rule 34 in action, but again, not gonna try and verify that right now.

From a friend: "there's crossover smut with her and Flo the progressive lady (i'm sorry)"
posted by naju at 12:15 PM on December 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


Even if they did make an effort to not make her overtly sexual, she was still designed to be sexy. Drawn youthful but not childish, tight catsuit, ridiculous poses that are sexy rather than practical.

The other problem is simply that she's an advertising mascot. There isn't "legitimate content" that could possibly overwhelm the porn. Almost every cartoon has its share of fan-drawn porn, but a naive search for "Steven Universe" or "My Little Pony" will bring up the real thing first, before the porn. For Erin Esurance, unfortunately there was no "real thing."
posted by explosion at 12:16 PM on December 21, 2015 [20 favorites]


Sounds like the ad campaign was a success. They couldn't have done all that market research beforehand, reading "gaming forums" and noticing female characters' popularity, and not noticed Rule 34. If they were scandalized by porn of their character they wouldn't have let it go on for years. For Esurance, it was just free advertising.
posted by Rangi at 12:17 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


In the chart, 1% of respondents aged 13-49 found the Gorton fisherman sexy. Is it ageism or are fisherman fetishists just a very small crossover with ad character fetishists?
posted by graymouser at 12:23 PM on December 21, 2015 [21 favorites]


1% of respondents aged 13-49 found the Gorton fisherman sexy. I

That's just misguided NY Islanders fans talking.
posted by stevis23 at 12:24 PM on December 21, 2015 [18 favorites]


Just in case anyone was wondering:

rule 34 gorton's fisherman: no
rule 34 geico gecko: yes
rule 34 clippy: yes, and quite a bit more than you'd think
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:28 PM on December 21, 2015 [60 favorites]


graymouser, he has that knowing, steely gaze annealed by years at sea. He's committed to the classics with the vinyl foulies, the spoked captain's wheel, and the wool muffler. He spends his days crusted in salt and chilled to the bone to put a fresh caught cod fillet on your table; you're telling me that's not sexy?
posted by a halcyon day at 12:29 PM on December 21, 2015 [43 favorites]


The porn only made explicit what they meant to be implicit from the beginning.

They might as well have called themselves 'Exsurance'.
posted by jamjam at 12:29 PM on December 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why would a car insurance company even want to market to 18-24 year olds. They are the absolute worst risk category for driving.
posted by srboisvert at 12:31 PM on December 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


And they also pay the highest premiums. Plus, I'd bet that research shows that people tend to stay with the first insurance company they purchase well beyond their first car.
posted by Think_Long at 12:33 PM on December 21, 2015 [22 favorites]


While I'm not convinced at all about the innocent stance of Esurance on this, I found it to be a rough and chilling read when you consider the same happening to any reasonable attractive woman mascot a company chooses to go with. I think there's room for more discussion here than "what did you expect", and I'd be disappointed if the thread never veered from that. Just saying. Don't want to threadsit so I won't belabor the point.
posted by naju at 12:34 PM on December 21, 2015 [26 favorites]


But it's exactly "what did you expect". explosion is right, the character was designed to be sexy. If you're selling with sex, expect the audience to react to that.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:37 PM on December 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


That article needed to be longer with more pictures.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:38 PM on December 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


For God’s sake, sex and auto-insurance are not two things that go together.


- JG Ballard
posted by louche mustachio at 12:39 PM on December 21, 2015 [36 favorites]


rule 34 clippy: yes, and quite a bit more than you'd think

one time i wrote browser extension porn

iirc it was greasemonkey/stylish
posted by poffin boffin at 12:40 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]



Just in case anyone was wondering:

rule 34 gorton's fisherman: no
rule 34 geico gecko: yes
rule 34 clippy: yes, and quite a bit more than you'd think




um yeah but what about Mayhem?
posted by louche mustachio at 12:40 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Fan letters poured in from young girls and their fathers, who were happy to see a powerful female role model on television.

Who are these people? It's a thirty second commercial with a lady designed to be attractive to young dudes, what on earth do you mean it's a "powerful female role model" for young girls? WTF?
posted by sciatrix at 12:40 PM on December 21, 2015 [46 favorites]


From the article:

“When you’re in a board room designing a corporate mascot, gender is always a part of the conversation,” Brewe says. “And that conversation always goes, ‘Do we make the zebra a woman or a man? Let’s make it a man, because there won’t be as much porn of it.’”
posted by matildaben at 12:41 PM on December 21, 2015 [36 favorites]


I kind of wonder whether Erin's success was the inspiration for all those other crappy insurance/mortgage/whatever companies who suddenly needed an animated character. The General, Granny, that fox, etc.

If so they obviously missed an important part of the formula. They achieved "annoying" though.
posted by Foosnark at 12:42 PM on December 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


You can order a custom NFL jersey with Rule as the name and 34 as the number. I don't think I will, though.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:45 PM on December 21, 2015 [17 favorites]


This is fandom doing what fandom does, isn't it? Shipping, cosplay, remixing, fan art, slash...
posted by Leon at 12:46 PM on December 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think those animal mascots were copying the Geico gecko and the Aflac duck, both cute talking animal mascots that appeared in 1999.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why would a car insurance company even want to market to 18-24 year olds. They are the absolute worst risk category for driving.

That's why they charge them so much money. The company will be fine. And their shareholders will receive a lovely dividend check
posted by DigDoug at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2015


This is fandom doing what fandom does, isn't it? Shipping, cosplay, remixing, fan art, slash...

I missed the memo on "shipping". What words are being mangled to get there, please? Sorry, it'll be obvious in retrospect I'm sure.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:51 PM on December 21, 2015


it is when two unrelated canon characters fedex photos of their butts to one another
posted by poffin boffin at 12:51 PM on December 21, 2015 [38 favorites]


This is fandom doing what fandom does, isn't it? Shipping, cosplay, remixing, fan art, slash...

Is there an actual fandom here? Or just guys wanking to naked cartoons? While there's some overlap, I thought the bar for actual "fandom" is generally higher, with some degree of actually relating to and/or caring about characters and their inner lives, etc.
posted by naju at 12:53 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Shipping as in "relationship."
posted by emjaybee at 12:53 PM on December 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'd say if you're wanking to it, you can call yourself a fan.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:54 PM on December 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


i mean if you're making fan art of something and posting it to places where people are like "we want to see your fan art of this media character" then it is a fan activity taking place within the context of a fandom community. if it's just a bunch of guys saying "lol i want to put my weiner in that cartoon lady" then idk how much i would classify it as actual fandom.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:56 PM on December 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


While there's some overlap, I thought the bar for actual "fandom" is generally higher, with some degree of actually relating to characters and their inner lives, etc.

I generally agree, but if we applied this logic to the majority of the people playing the original Tomb Raider game (let alone the new ones. although the new ones arguably give her character more depth, but they also give you more time staring at a young womans ass), I would argue a huge number of the fans of that game had almost zero interest in Lara Croft as an in depth character, and largely considered themselves "fans" because 1) They liked the gameplay and 2) because they wanked it to Lara.

I mean, Maxim style posters of Lara were totally a thing when those first games came out. Is that fandom or not? Really hard to say.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:56 PM on December 21, 2015


but obviously the latter can lead to the development of the former.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:57 PM on December 21, 2015


naju, it is dark, but it's such a large phenomena that most people are going to shrug. I don't feel as much angst over people doing this to an animated character as to a real person, certainly.

Speaking of sexy (to some people) cartoon mascots, someone on Tumblr joked that 2016 is the Year of the Furry because there's six or seven talking-animal cartoons about to come out (Zootopia, Pets, and a bunch of others I can't remember). And now I will feel weird if I go see any of them.
posted by emjaybee at 12:58 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Prize bull octorok, ordinarily I trust you implicitly, but I just don't buy that no one wanted to get under Capn Grton's yellow slicker.

I might be willing to buy that Erin E wasn't designed for sex appeal, but they definitely took it a step further than accident when they put her in the Escher girls boobs-and-butt spine twister pose.

It isn't acceptable that all women, even cartoon women, even cartoon mares, are subject to the sexualizing male gaze, but Erin was designed to appeal to male gamers aged 18-whatever - she was, if not designed, then certainly executed as a sex object.
posted by gingerest at 1:02 PM on December 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Why would a car insurance company even want to market to 18-24 year olds. They are the absolute worst risk category for driving.

Well, part of it is that they were big on bait-and-switch tactics. They tripled my car insurance after six months (no accidents or anything, just a 200 percent rate increase), and I had to get my credit card company involved.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:07 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fan letters poured in from young girls and their fathers, who were happy to see a powerful female role model on television

I think I track this. As a teenager, I loved the Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Police Woman, and really any image of a woman who was strong and capable and didn't rely on some man to fight her battles. I am currently partial to the Lara Croft video games for the same reason. And of course part of what makes women look traditionally womanly is curvy bodies. (I am NOT saying that is necessary to be womanly, just that it is part of the traditional image.) As far as I am concerned, Madeline Albright, Malala, Golda Meir, Carol Mosely Braun and lots of other women who are not primarily known for their attractiveness are equally inspiring. But surely we can recognize a woman, for example Michelle Obama, as both. It is about time we accepted that as with men, women can be very physical and attractive and also capable and impressive.

We have a sick attitude towards women in our society, though. Any woman, even a fictional one, and even very young women, seem to be viewed as fair game for sexualization, and not just by the gamer community. It bothers me that we take this sexualized viewpoint for granted for this age range of men who are 18-24 -- after all, they are the youngest "adult" group, aren't they? When, if ever, will we see a generation that doesn't first think of women as sexual objects?
posted by bearwife at 1:07 PM on December 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


> Is there an actual fandom here? Or just guys wanking to naked cartoons?

Fan is short for fanatic. If someone out there was constantly drawing pictures of this Emma-Peel-for-car-insurance in BDSM poses, I'd call them a fan. No weirder or worse than Kirk/Spock slash, anyway.
posted by Leon at 1:09 PM on December 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


i mean if you're making fan art of something and posting it to places where people are like "we want to see your fan art of this media character" then it is a fan activity taking place within the context of a fandom community. if it's just a bunch of guys saying "lol i want to put my weiner in that cartoon lady" then idk how much i would classify it as actual fandom.

While I doubt that the participants at places like HongFire's smut boards, 4chan, etc. would self-identify as contributing to or working within the context of a fandom, they put a staggering amount of work into pornogrifying media that previously lacked pornographic content (consider Skyrim nude mods, etc.) and into translating, modifying, and extending Japanese pornographic books, movies, and games, oftentimes with the goal of recapitulating characters from other sources into pornographic scenarios. Considering this is mostly done for the gratification of their community as a labor of lust and money rarely changes hands, if their territory does not overlap that of fandom, it is at the very least adjacent.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 1:14 PM on December 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Perhaps if we called this something like "fapdom"...
posted by naju at 1:16 PM on December 21, 2015 [22 favorites]


Yeah, I think that what is making me uncomfortable about that is that for me, a strong female character has agency, personality, storyline--and you're not going to find any of those in a commercial, no matter how nicely written.

I think that the idea that a woman can be physical and attractive and also capable and impressive is maybe harder to sell for real women, but I emphatically disagree that it needs to be emphasized more in our popular media. I never see women with significant attention in media who aren't attractive, and I think it's more important to sell to women that you don't have to be narrowly conventionally attractive to get stuff done, you don't have to be narrowly conventionally attractive to be strong and worthy of identification. Female characters with agency are hard enough to find as it is, and I can think of only a few non-attractive fictional female characters off the top of my head compared to dozens and dozens of thin, curvy, sexy ones that can punch people and be strong without having to demonstrate any scarily masculine muscles. Especially in action and thriller genres, which is pretty clearly what they're aiming for here.

Basically, I looked at that commercial and thought of Kate Beaton's Strong Female Characters, where sexiness is almost more important than what the female character is actually doing, and it weirded me out that it would drive people to actually contact the company and praise them over it.
posted by sciatrix at 1:17 PM on December 21, 2015 [22 favorites]


(and that brings to mind The Fappening. and now i'm kinda squicked out again)
posted by naju at 1:17 PM on December 21, 2015


If teenage girls writing slash fiction count as a fandom (they do), then so can teenage boys drawing porn. I'm not aware of any minimum-quality bar for being a fan. (Luckily so, otherwise I wouldn't be a "real" Lego fan despite my terrible Bionicle fanfic from when I was ~14.)
posted by Rangi at 1:18 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm not surprised. There are guys out there sticking their dicks into pretty much anything and everything (shampoo bottles, cream cheese, foods, electrical sockets, etc)as anyone who has worked in an ER can attest to. There is going to have to be a day where every young man is explicitly going to have to be told that it's a bad idea to just go sticking their junk into wherever it looks like it will fit because they're horny or just curious.
posted by discopolo at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Electrical sockets?

What's the kink there?
posted by GreyboxHero at 1:22 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's the kink there?

I don't know, and I don't want to know. I already feel like I know too much I don't want to know re stupid things some guys do when they want to get off.
posted by discopolo at 1:24 PM on December 21, 2015


I think that the idea that a woman can be physical and attractive and also capable and impressive is maybe harder to sell for real women, but I emphatically disagree that it needs to be emphasized more in our popular media. I never see women with significant attention in media who aren't attractive, and I think it's more important to sell to women that you don't have to be narrowly conventionally attractive to get stuff done, you don't have to be narrowly conventionally attractive to be strong and worthy of identification. Female characters with agency are hard enough to find as it is, and I can think of only a few non-attractive fictional female characters off the top of my head compared to dozens and dozens of thin, curvy, sexy ones that can punch people and be strong without having to demonstrate any scarily masculine muscles. Especially in action and thriller genres, which is pretty clearly what they're aiming for here.

This, a thousand times, this. Even when it comes to the "unconventional" women in movies. You know, the ones with blue hair and/or tattoos and piercings, the same stupid rule still applies. Thin and attractive.

I remember wanting to see Ghost World and then opting out when I found out that it was Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch in the main roles. Birch was a good fit, likely, but I couldn't stomach the idea of Johansson being in it that I never saw the film. The comic book it was based on, of course, is a classic. Anyway, I felt like the choice to go with traditional pretty Hollywood women to play frumpy social outcasts missed the point.

(To a lesser extent, I also always felt this way about Fight Club with all its anti-consumerist messages, being starred by two big-name Hollywood pretty-boys. Doesn't that kind of undermine the message of the whole film?)
posted by deadaluspark at 1:25 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


It bothers me that we take this sexualized viewpoint for granted for this age range of men who are 18-24 -- after all, they are the youngest "adult" group, aren't they? When, if ever, will we see a generation that doesn't first think of women as sexual objects?

But it's a two-way street, isn't it?

That is, the 18-24 males are sexualizing but companies are also explicitly using sexualization to sell their products to them. The audience is sexualizing a female character that is already being presented to them in a sexual way. I frankly just don't believe the creator of Erin when she insists that their intent was not to sell with sex with this character, but even if that is true, as gingerest notes it clearly was where the campaign went.

So it seems fairly disingenuous to paint this as young men turning their evil gaze upon a female character. It's young men taking the sexual suggestion presented to them and running with it. You can't have it both ways, that you can present something as sexy but then be shocked when it's taken in a sexual way.

"Hey young man, look at this hot woman."

"Yeah, she is hot."

"Disgusting pig!"
posted by Sangermaine at 1:29 PM on December 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


It bothers me that we take this sexualized viewpoint for granted for this age range of men who are 18-24 -- after all, they are the youngest "adult" group, aren't they? When, if ever, will we see a generation that doesn't first think of women as sexual objects?

When, as a society, we find a way to prevent sex from being simultaneously a near-total taboo and the shorthand for "happy/successful/powerful" where men are concerned. The combination places insane pressure on every even-halfway-plausible instance where sexualization might occur.

I think that the taboo strengthens and enforces the notion of sex as "ultimate attainment". It has a mystery and an allure to it, in our culture, that goes well beyond the sheer mystery/allure of the act itself. The only thing really puncturing that mystery on a mass scale is porn, but porn is consumed as a solitary activity, in private and in the dark. What's more, there's a notion that watching porn is somehow "failure", because if you want to have orgasms but don't have a person to reach orgasms with then you clearly aren't as successful as you could be, because porn is everything etc etc etc.

Demystifying sex isn't a panacea. I have close friends in the kink community, and, while many of them have far healthier/less obsessive relationships with sex than even my best vanilla friends do, the kink scene is full of men who assume that the dom/sub relationship consists of the dom getting everything they want without communicating whatsoever with their subs. (I'm thinking fondly of a very bro-y dude who wandered into one of my roommate's parties with an Astro Zombies shirt on and holding a big wooden paddle, looking utterly bewildered at the fire/shock play that was happening on a table nearby. Poor guy had no idea what he'd stumbled upon. But I say "poor guy", and meanwhile there are groups in this city who're known for exploiting young women who want to explore the community without any idea of what a "good" place would be to start.)

That said: in my experience, any situation in which sex or even nudity is considered a subject for discussion, expression, or socializing tends to immediately deflate a lot of the unspoken group tensions that are so common they become invisible. It's hilarious how uninteresting naked bodies, or even people having sex, becomes when it happens out in the open. Bodies aren't that interesting. Sex is pretty funny. Removing our ability to candidly process sex as a facet of human experience basically turns sexuality into Voldemort: nobody says the name, everybody's terrified, and if you're caught doing it in public three men in robes show up and take you to their mansion. Or maybe that's just me.
posted by rorgy at 1:29 PM on December 21, 2015 [17 favorites]


I remember wanting to see Ghost World and then opting out when I found out that it was Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch in the main roles. Birch was a good fit, likely, but I couldn't stomach the idea of Johansson being in it that I never saw the film.

You should see it! It's a fantastic movie, and there's no sexualization of the characters that comes to mind. Also Scarlett was 16 at the time I think, and looks/plays the part of an ordinary teenager, more or less.
posted by naju at 1:31 PM on December 21, 2015 [18 favorites]


For God’s sake, sex and auto-insurance are not two things that go together.
Of course not, being uninsured is part of the thrill.



I guess. I don't recall anything on Crash about insurance.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:32 PM on December 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oddly I'm obsessively playing the Rising Tide expansion of the Civilization game Beyond Earth and about half the playable characters are women - one is a young Arabic (!) woman and two are middle aged women (GASP!).
Let me tell you - if Lena Ebner of the INTEGR faction takes her glasses off you'd better batten down the hatches because shit is about to get real.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:32 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


I guess. I don't recall anything on Crash about insurance.

The book was English and the film was Canadian, so, at the very least, the hospital bills were not an issue.
posted by maxsparber at 1:35 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


But it's exactly "what did you expect". explosion is right, the character was designed to be sexy.

This sounds a lot like a cartoon version of the "tight skirt" defense, honestly. So I take it that unless pains are taken to make a character as unsexualized as possible, it's not the fanboys fault if the only thing they can think of to do is porn?


Who are these people? It's a thirty second commercial with a lady designed to be attractive to young dudes, what on earth do you mean it's a "powerful female role model" for young girls? WTF?

Haven't you noticed how few role models there are for girls? Female characters that aren't in the "secondary character who flirts with the male lead" role? Since this was precious to Korra, there was what, Kim Possible? Which was an attractive active woman in a catsuit. Hmm. Who also has a large fanboy base. I take it she was supposed to have been designed as fapp material?
posted by happyroach at 1:37 PM on December 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


So I take it that unless pains are taken to make a character as unsexualized as possible, it's not the fanboys fault if the only thing they can think of to do is porn?

You can't both use sex to sell your product and criticize the target audience to whom you are directing your sexy content for finding it sexy, no.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:40 PM on December 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


prize bull octorok: "rule 34 clippy: yes, and quite a bit more than you'd think"

It looks like you're trying to have a quick one off the wrist. Would you like help with that?
posted by chavenet at 1:44 PM on December 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


I frankly just don't believe the creator of Erin when she insists that their intent was not to sell with sex with this character, but even if that is true, as gingerest notes it clearly was where the campaign went.

Oh yes of course, now i see how sexism was a lying woman's fault entirely
posted by poffin boffin at 1:45 PM on December 21, 2015 [31 favorites]


“I was a crappy artist, but one thing you can do to bypass that is to draw things naked,”

QFT
posted by Hicksu at 1:48 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kim Possible? Which was an attractive active woman in a catsuit. Hmm. Who also has a large fanboy base. I take it she was supposed to have been designed as fapp material?

The point isn't that some characters are meant to be fap material. Every character will inevitably be, that's the "rule" part of "Rule 34."

The point made was that "legit" Kim Possible material will drown out the porn in discussions and Google searches. Erin Esurance didn't have "legit" material. No comics, no real plot. Just the image.

Furthermore, while you can find individual stills of Kim Possible that might possibly be taken out of context, Erin Esurance's imagery, especially images rather than the cartoons, was a lot of sexy posing. The Internet just happened to notice, and the creators played dumb.
posted by explosion at 1:49 PM on December 21, 2015


Dude, did you miss how I have been repeatedly talking about strong female characters as defined by agency rather than appearance? Because let me repeat that again: a good, relatable female role model is someone who controls what she does, who shapes her own story, and who exists in the plot for reasons beyond "look sexy, date reader-stand in."

The design is a red herring. The constant insistence on sexiness as something a "relatable" female character must with zero exceptions have is irritating, but ultimately beside the point. It's the agency and the choices, the things the character does, that is important. And I don't have any idea where they were supposed to be shoehorning that into a series of 30-second ads hawking car insurance. Are you seriously arguing that the characters of Erin Esurance and Kim Possible are completely indistinguishable because they share design features? Is that seriously what you are trying to argue to me?
posted by sciatrix at 1:51 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Should have doubled down and made Erin Esurance into a holy-shit-what-am-I-looking-at hentai phenomenon. Shintaro Kago by way of Kathy Acker, or vice versa. Make the viewer so stunned that they'll do anything to re-understand the universe.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:53 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


The commercial inspired this particular gentleman to create a series of 15 “extremely NSFW” Erin Esurance paintings, which he later sold for up to $120 through Paheal.net, a “giant, searchable archive” of cartoon porn.

I feel the word "gentleman" has been so diluted as to be meaningless.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:53 PM on December 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


“I was a crappy artist, but one thing you can do to bypass that is to draw things naked,”

QFT


One of the first industries the Internet killed off was playground patronage: the practice of young blooming artists producing naughty cartoons in a dark corner of the playground and selling them to classmates for a small fee.
posted by duffell at 1:54 PM on December 21, 2015


It's young men taking the sexual suggestion presented to them and running with it. You can't have it both ways, that you can present something as sexy but then be shocked when it's taken in a sexual way.

This is sounds suspiciously like the premise behind the "she was asking for it" argument. Just because men are presented with a woman they find attractive, doesn't mean that it's suddenly open season for them to publically air all of their sexual fantasies. It might just be a cartoon, but this trend of behavior occurs to real women too (see: catcalling, internet rape threats, routine sexual harassment) that I can really sympathize with women who are 100% done with men making every public space a forum to talk about what they want to stick their dicks into. You can justify it with marketing, short skirts, make-up, whatever, but I hope we're reaching the point culturally that we recognize these excuses as very thin veneers on unacceptable behavior.
posted by Conspire at 2:06 PM on December 21, 2015 [26 favorites]


Should have doubled down and made Erin Esurance into a holy-shit-what-am-I-looking-at hentai phenomenon. Shintaro Kago by way of Kathy Acker, or vice versa. Make the viewer so stunned that they'll do anything to re-understand the universe.

Aeonsurance Fluxx
posted by Sebmojo at 2:18 PM on December 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


No wonder the rates keep going up. It's tough to have a wank, keep a hand on the wheel, and text all at the same time.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:18 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are guys out there sticking their dicks into pretty much anything and everything (shampoo bottles, cream cheese, foods, electrical sockets, etc)

So THAT's how they spread bacteria!
posted by Naberius at 2:18 PM on December 21, 2015


Put me in the column of people who are very skeptical of the after-the-fact claims of ad execs and creators saying that they were shocked, shocked to find Erin E. sexualized--well, sexualized more than they intended.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:19 PM on December 21, 2015



This is sounds suspiciously like the premise behind the "she was asking for it" argument. Just because men are presented with a woman they find attractive, doesn't mean that it's suddenly open season for them to publically air all of their sexual fantasies. It might just be a cartoon, but this trend of behavior occurs to real women too (see: catcalling, internet rape threats, routine sexual harassment) that I can really sympathize with women who are 100% done with men making every public space a forum to talk about what they want to stick their dicks into. You can justify it with marketing, short skirts, make-up, whatever, but I hope we're reaching the point culturally that we recognize these excuses as very thin veneers on unacceptable behavior.


Sadly, once you explain that to the "look how she looks, she's asking for it" crowd, even as gently and kindly as you have, quite a few loudmouths then defensively try accuse women of shaming men for sexual needs that are apparently dictated by their scant understanding of evo psych and bio. "I'm programmed to spread my seed, man!"

It's so ridiculous and laughable and so absurd and sad. Lol and sigh.
posted by discopolo at 2:20 PM on December 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


rule 34 clippy: yes, and quite a bit more than you'd think

I've actually spent money on it.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:22 PM on December 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is this a good place for me to bemoan the nightmare-inducing Skinny Cow? There is a PhD dissertation worth of deconstruction here. Why does she appear to look like a human woman wearing a dress, in terms of having concealed breasts on her upper body? She's a cow. Wouldn't she have udders? If she were to use those breasts to feed something, would she have to unzip her skin? Why does this cow want to fuck me? Why are only skinny cows allowed to be sexy cows? WHY ARE THERE SEXY COWS

See also here and here.
posted by zeusianfog at 2:25 PM on December 21, 2015 [24 favorites]


Yeah, I think that what is making me uncomfortable about that is that for me, a strong female character has agency, personality, storyline--and you're not going to find any of those in a commercial, no matter how nicely written.

sciatrix, I agree with so much else in your perceptive and thoughtful comment, but I want to disagree with this a bit. I think we see strong and traditionally attractive men with these qualities in commercials fairly often. You know, like Mr. Clean and Dennis Haysbert in the Allstate commercials, Isaiah Mustafa for Old Spice, Justin Long for Apple. So I don't think it is the commercial format that is the problem, I think it is the problem we have taking women seriously as strong, admirable characters, especially when they are traditionally attractive too. For example, can anyone quickly think of well known female athletic spokespeople? I can think of plenty of male athletes who do that.
posted by bearwife at 2:27 PM on December 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


The one that got to me was the Nationwide Insurance Cat Burglar ads. Talk about pandering to middle-aged men (who the hell else would they be aiming at?). I bet they packed at least five ass shots into a thirty-second spot. I'm a middle-aged male and I do like a posterior view but Jebus on a Stick I really hate an insurance company trying to manipulate me with ridiculous objectification. Besides, she was old enough to be my daughter.
posted by Ber at 2:38 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Female athletic spokespeople are pretty common in sports where women get famous. Maria Sharapova has been one of the world's topic athlete-product endorsers for ten years. Serena Williams ain't doing badly either. Only Djokovic and Federer do better with endorsements.
posted by MattD at 2:41 PM on December 21, 2015


The Maria Bamford Target ad campaign was really effective, imo. Instant characterization, storyline, etc. Unfortunately there's probably something not great about the alternative to women being sexy in advertising is "crazy", whereas someone like the Old Spice guy would never be called "Crazy Old Spice Guy" even though he acts bonkers. (or his craziness is a cool craziness in any case)
posted by naju at 2:43 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I'm a little confused by the conversation here.

We have a serious problem of women being blamed for their own objectification - and any behavior or aspect of their appearance that can be perceived as sexual being used to excuse men because they just took the invitation they were given. But at the same time, another aspect of this objectification is how sexualized portrayals of women in the media are.

So how do I talk about the problems I have with a character like Erin Esurance, without making it seem like it's "her" fault that she got turned into a porn star - that it's women's fault when men treat them as sexual objects?

I mean, I understand that this is thorny, but Erin Esurance isn't a real person; she's a fictional character designed by people steeped in a sexist culture. She shares a lot of the same visual design features that serve to sexualize female characters in comic books, for exampe: proportions exaggerated to emphasize sexually attractive traits, a costume that involves individually vacuum-wrapping her boobs and high heels, and constant escher-girl action poses.

(A comparison to the visual design of Korra - also an attractive adult woman - is in the back of my mind as I write this. Her sexual traits weren't erased or hidden, e.g. she often wore a tight shirt, but they also weren't emphasized.)

I think these three things are true:

(a) Erin Esurance was designed to be appealing to a particular demographic that is used to this kind of portrayal. I'm cynical about what the designers claim, but let's say it was unintentional and just due to borrowing this kind of visual language - intentions don't matter so much.

(b) This doesn't mean that her target demographic gets a free pass on all the porn they made of her, because they were involved in her creation too. It was their expectations and preferences about what makes an "appealing" female character that guided the design of Erin Esurance in the first place.

(c) This doesn't make girls and women who saw something positive in Erin Esurance "wrong," make being sexually attractive opposed to being a capable, strong character, or anything like that.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:43 PM on December 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think the current high-water mark of intriguingly bizarre sexualising is SNAKE TITS (0.45-0.55)

Firaxis: they're snakes.

Snaaaaaaakes.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:44 PM on December 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Female athletic spokespeople are pretty common in sports where women get famous.

The top 100 athlete product endorsers for 2015. Number of women: 10. Number in the top 10: zero. Number in the top 50: 5.
posted by bearwife at 2:50 PM on December 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Honestly, I'm a little confused by the conversation here.

I think that's because the "freedom from" and "freedom to" camps are deliberately talking past each other. C'est la vie.
posted by Leon at 2:52 PM on December 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is sounds suspiciously like the premise behind the "she was asking for it" argument.

"She's asking for it" is very different from "the people who created her are asking for it". The woman in question isn't being blamed for anything, because she's a fictional character.
posted by shponglespore at 2:52 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think the current high-water mark of intriguingly bizarre sexualising is SNAKE TITS (0.45-0.55)

Nothing new.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:53 PM on December 21, 2015


rule 34 clippy: yes, and quite a bit more than you'd think

I've actually spent money on it.


Shades of Chuck Tingle.
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:53 PM on December 21, 2015


I think the "sexual object"-ness of Erin Esurance is also being overstated in this thread. There's nothing overtly sexual about any of the ads I'm seeing in a youtube search. Examples: here, here, here, I stopped watching because I got bored. But it's about the same innocence level as Kim Possible.
posted by naju at 3:02 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh god, I laughed so hard I cried at the thought of being asked to rate how sexy I find the Pep Boys.

Like, all three? At the same time?
posted by davejh at 3:11 PM on December 21, 2015 [18 favorites]



"She's asking for it" is very different from "the people who created her are asking for it". The woman in question isn't being blamed for anything, because she's a fictional character.


The similarity is that they both precipitate on the premise that men are entirely incapable of controlling or holding back expression of their sexual desires, even when it is absolutely socially inappropriate and implicitly threatening of women to do so. And somehow, that lack of control is the fault of women (see the men chastigating the creator of the character). Which, come on.
posted by Conspire at 3:19 PM on December 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


Suddenly the names "Manny," "Moe," and "Jack" seem so very much less innocent
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:19 PM on December 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Like, all three? At the same time?

i mean? sure? if that's what you're into?
posted by poffin boffin at 3:27 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Erin Esurance's fate is nothing compared to what has been visited upon poor Mrs. Butterworth.
posted by humanfont at 3:32 PM on December 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Suddenly the names "Manny," "Moe," and "Jack" seem so very much less innocent
They do everything. For less.™

One of the first industries the Internet killed off was playground patronage: the practice of young blooming artists producing naughty cartoons in a dark corner of the playground and selling them to classmates for a small fee.

You do know that these days people commission artists to make naughty cartoons on the internet?
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:08 PM on December 21, 2015


If anybody wants a high quality giclée print of La Vache Qui Rit and The Hartford Stag doin' it, MeMail me
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:15 PM on December 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


The similarity is that they both precipitate on the premise that men are entirely incapable of controlling or holding back expression of their sexual desires, even when it is absolutely socially inappropriate and implicitly threatening of women to do so.

No, they don't. Again, Erin Esurance is not a person inherently deserving of respect who was just trying to get through her day but got caught up in the whirlwind of men sexualizing everything. Erin Esurance is a fictional character created by three men (Robinson, Lau, and Ballesteros) for the express purpose of engaging the sex drives of young men and then attempting to turn that engagement into profit for Esurance. This isn't men being entirely incapable of controlling their sexual desires; this is men being explicitly asked to find something sexual and then agreeing to. If anyone is being socially inappropriate and implicitly threatening women, it's the people running the ad campaign, who decided to produce an insurance mascot wearing skintight leather (or latex?) with a waist as narrow as her neck, and who decided to air things like this (what the hell is she even supposed to be doing there?) and the commercial which inexplicably begins with Erin in the shower.
posted by IAmUnaware at 4:15 PM on December 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


She's asking for it" is very different from "the people who created her are asking for it". The woman in question isn't being blamed for anything, because she's a fictional character.

But the creator of the character, a women, definitely is. Hell, it's slut-shaming by proxy.

Oh yeah, and look at this- the women who dais no, sexual arousal wasn't her intent is called a liar. Because SHE is responsible for men getting off.

So yeah, we have the "short skirt" defense, and "she lies when she says it's not sexual" line. Which is...really fucking typical. I just thought better of the people here.
posted by happyroach at 4:15 PM on December 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


ESurance is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allstate, rebranded for younger customers. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned here.
posted by spitbull at 4:19 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


[NSFW]"BB-8 is super adorable. And when I found out that she’s supposedly a girl, I knew I had to draw her with a special Fleshlight port. So here it is in celebration of today’s opening night!"[NSFW]

If you can't don't want to click, yeah, that spherical robot in the new Star Wars movie has been given a vag.
posted by LindsayIrene at 4:19 PM on December 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


rule 34 gorton's fisherman: no

Mrs. Paul, hell yeah.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:24 PM on December 21, 2015


"Seductive Beeping Noises"

Oh man I want to find that artist and hug them. Seductive BB-8 is the best.
posted by Bobicus at 4:41 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's the agency and the choices, the things the character does, that is important.

Not to the people were talking about. To them, Erin, Kin, Korra, etc., they're agency and actions don't matter, just how they can get off.

Now, I'd be willing to disagree on fundamentals- good commercials are narratives, albeit compressed and limited. Their abilities to tell stories are integral tip their to sell. I'd also argue that within those short narratives Erin has agency as a character. But that's irrelevant. Because the people that we're arguing about, don't care about agency. Defending their actions, by doing a "this character is made for arousal" argument, is making a distinction they don't see.

Are you seriously arguing that the characters of Erin Esurance and Kim Possible are completely indistinguishable because they share design features? Is that seriously what you are trying to argue to me?

The porn artists dont. As far as they're concerned it's all there for their sexual pleasure. In fact, I'm pretty sure they'd make the same sexualization argument regarding Kim Possible and Korra.

It really is a parallel to the situation I've seen with people arguing "Well, the successful businesswoman doesn't deserve to be catcalled. But that woman dressed like a prostitute? She does." You aren't going to make much progress making distinctions like that..
posted by happyroach at 4:51 PM on December 21, 2015


As a man who remembers long ago when I was a young man thinking about sex a lot and also exposed to a lot of sexualized women in media (Ginger - Gilligan's Island, maybe Daphne - Scooby Doo, etc), I still can't imagine ever having the time or inclination to sit there and make porn out of TV characters and I think I would then as I do now find those men who do to be really pathethic.
posted by osk at 5:02 PM on December 21, 2015


osk: Everybody's kink looks pathetic in the cold light of day.
posted by Leon at 5:20 PM on December 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


Leon: Love is a beautiful thing, and looks good in any light. At the risk of sounding obtuse or out of touch I guess I don't know what you mean by kink. If it refers to making porn out of animated TV characters in your spare time, I guess I still think it's pretty pathetic (and probably would have when I was younger).
posted by osk at 5:40 PM on December 21, 2015


my kink is a good night's sleep and adequate but not excessive dietary fiber
posted by poffin boffin at 5:47 PM on December 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


Shades of Chuck Tingle.

Indeed, the link was to one of Tingle's books.
posted by kenko at 5:54 PM on December 21, 2015


Is this a good place for me to bemoan the nightmare-inducing Skinny Cow?

AUGH YES there was an ad for some other low-fat yogurt, not Skinny Cow, with a photo of a young woman-cow-thing standing upright, wearing a zippered cardigan and pair of jeans, holding a tub of yogurt and spoon in her hoof-hands, and she had boobs where human women have boobs, but just a slender nothing where her udder should have been, and she was Jersey-patterned everywhere she was showing hide, and it's in one of my cooking magazines so I've spent more than a few hours being distracted by the horror while I was trying to concentrate on how many teaspoons of sugar or whatever I was supposed to be adding to my soup or whatever, and it has left scars on my psyche and I really doubt it sold much yogurt, but I'm sure somewhere a dude wanked to that picture, thinking about her Uncanny Valley hurr hurr.

Also it is totally possible that people creating this stuff no longer even see the sexualization because we've been soaking in it nonstop for decades. Erin Esurance's outfit is pretty much identical to Emma Peel's.
posted by gingerest at 6:28 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'd say if you're wanking to it, you can call yourself a fan.
Well, unless you're hate-wanking.
posted by ArmandoAkimbo at 6:33 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I’m having trouble understanding the idea that fan porn art is horrible and deserves our hate, but fan porn writing is a healthy expression and shall not be disparaged.
posted by bongo_x at 6:58 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Shades of Chuck Tingle.

Indeed, the link was to one of Tingle's books.


Jacqueline's link took me to a different author. Are you saying he and Chuck Tingle are one and the same?!?!?!

I don't know if it would make me happier to know that there is only one guy writing in the "Pounded in the Butt" genre, or very sad.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:03 PM on December 21, 2015


Cruising through the Bing images of Erin Esurance (porn images are why Bing exists, on the subject of ostensibly mainstream phenomena that's been set to an edgy, possibly unanticipated purpose by the end user), I wonder if she hasn't met with a happier ending than one might think. She seems pretty happy, if maybe a little less verbal. Her life is a polymorphously perverse series of amazing transformations -- here she's a mermaid, there she has all her fantastic curves plus a jaunty little erection, now she's fucking Johnny Bravo, here she is riding a tentacle beast -- and this all seems a lot more exciting than shilling car insurance.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:27 PM on December 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Cruising through the Bing images of Erin Esurance (porn images are why Bing exists, on the subject of ostensibly mainstream phenomena that's been set to an edgy, possibly unanticipated purpose by the end user)

I did not know until now that Bing was considered a better porn image search engine.

The search string "erin esurance porn" pointed onward to

People interested in erin esurance porn also searched for:
  • esurance girl porn (ok, no surprise here)
  • Flo porn (huh, ok - also insurance mascot related)
  • Kim Possible porn (hmm...)
Essentially confirming most of everyone's Rule 34 suspicions from the thread. Except for Clippy. No pointers to Clippy. (I think I'm thankful for that.)
posted by theorique at 7:34 PM on December 21, 2015


Why does it matter if the person who created this character was a woman or a man? Whatever their gender, they weren't acting qua woman or man, or even as just a person. They were acting as an ad exec whose sole goal was to sell a product. They did this by creating a sexualized character designed to attract young males. That of course doesn't mean that those young males weren't creeps who turned the character into porn. But some of the comments here presuppose that the ad exec was innocently trying to create pure art and then creeps seized on it.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:42 PM on December 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


When, as a society, we find a way to prevent sex from being simultaneously a near-total taboo>

Can you elaborate on this because I do not understand what you mean at all.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:48 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why is porn of Erin Esurance inherently more problematic than Kirk/Spock slash or all the Harry Potter slash out there? Because one is used in visual porn and the others written? That seems like a strange distinction to me. I see a couple mentions of slash upthread but not really in this context.

We've talked about slash fiction before and, yes, there are generally understood to be aspects which can be problematic particularly in regards to LGBT issues but I don't get the same feeling that the entire endeavor is seen as inherently bad.
posted by Justinian at 8:14 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


I’m having trouble understanding the idea that fan porn art is horrible and deserves our hate, but fan porn writing is a healthy expression and shall not be disparaged.

Look, I don't think anyone is saying porn art is horrible. If I had to guess, I'd say most or all of the people pushing back are pro-kink and pro-porn. But the "well, you depict a conventionally attractive woman as your mascot, of COURSE the internet is awash in naked pictures of her - she was wearing a tight outfit, what did you expect?" response brings to mind a few things: 1) it's uncomfortably close to things that women hear in their own lives when they get inappropriate sexual responses just for existing and going out in public, 2) even if individual porn habits are going to be what they are, in aggregate we're still dealing with an effect on the representation of women - or women with any visible sexual characteristics - and that may well be a chilling effect on whether women are depicted in ads, and how, 3) there is also the issue of how women are perceived within men's gazes; and this has consequences on women, and girls who are developing an understanding of their value and what men think of them. All this seems like plenty to think about and feel troubled by. It doesn't mean that I, or anyone else, is actively criticizing you or telling you to stop masturbating to certain things. But it should be okay to talk about topics like this, and why it might be troubling, and whether there is any way to depict women mascots who are desirable along any of a number of multiple axes without having this be the one and only inevitable result.
posted by naju at 8:20 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oh, I see bongo said more or less the same thing earlier and you are replying to him. Thanks.
posted by Justinian at 8:23 PM on December 21, 2015


srboisvert: Why would a car insurance company even want to market to 18-24 year olds. They are the absolute worst risk category for driving.

Customers who are staying home to wank to your mascot aren't driving around to get into accidents. It's a stroke of brilliance.
posted by dr_dank at 8:29 PM on December 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


We see what you did there.
posted by Justinian at 8:35 PM on December 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


To me, the creators of a sexualized mascot for mass market consumption are much more worthy of our condemnation than porn parody cartoonists. As media consumers, advertising is media that we have limited control over, and I think there is good reason to hold it to a much higher standard than art that was not created with a mass audience in mind.
posted by sanedragon at 8:36 PM on December 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's worth talking about. It's all worth talking about. There doesn't need to be support of one side (creator of the advertising) vs. support of another side (creators of the porn art). The issue is too complex for that.
posted by naju at 8:39 PM on December 21, 2015


From the article: “For God’s sake, sex and auto-insurance are not two things that go together.”

Bwahahahahahahah.

"Even if they did make an effort to not make her overtly sexual, she was still designed to be sexy. Drawn youthful but not childish, tight catsuit, ridiculous poses that are sexy rather than practical."


Yeah, and those poses are ones that no human woman could ever approximate.

" When, if ever, will we see a generation that doesn't first think of women as sexual objects?"

Never, ever, even in a billion years of evolution.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:58 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


still can't imagine ever having the time or inclination to sit there and make porn out of TV characters

Let me guess, not interested in drawing or writing at that age?
posted by smidgen at 9:17 PM on December 21, 2015


" When, if ever, will we see a generation that doesn't first think of women as sexual objects?"

under my totalitarian gynocentric theocracy
posted by poffin boffin at 9:42 PM on December 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


ArmandoAkimbo: "
I'd say if you're wanking to it, you can call yourself a fan.
Well, unless you're hate-wanking.
"

Life is too damn short to hate-wank.
posted by Samizdata at 10:19 PM on December 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hey, my policy is up here, dude.
posted by Segundus at 11:06 PM on December 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


" When, if ever, will we see a generation that doesn't first think of women as sexual objects?"

under my totalitarian gynocentric theocracy


Tricky. Currently in /u/ they're shipping the periodic table.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:23 AM on December 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Part of the challenge of assigning "blame" for something like "Erin Esurance porn" is that there's a whole chain of ownership and responsibility. It's really a collective phenomenon of the internet: 'free' content via image search, anonymous people with time and inclination to create - then iterate, over and over again. This is really the driver of Rule 34 - the long tail of

As others have pointed out upthread, the only really personally identifiable persons involved are the advertisers. Does that make them 'more' responsible for what happened, or just an easier target? There was also a process of iteration between the original audience and the advertisements where the advertisers realized from feedback and focus groups that they had a hit on their hands, as long as they kept the cartoon character 'sexy'.

Everybody can point to someone or something else that "made them do it". The advertisers can point to the TV audience - "THEY made it popular. It could have been a flop." The porn creators can point to the advertisers - "we didn't create the character, we just, uh, customized her". The porn audience can point to the TV audience - "come on, you guys were thinking it". And so forth and so on. No one is blameless but no person or group is individually to blame either.

A lot of collective Internet phenomena have the similar "iceberg" structure - a tiny tip of individually identifiable persons doing something publicly respectable, and a large group of anonymous individuals, among whom are included a tiny percentage doing something very fringe.
posted by theorique at 1:37 AM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


my kink is a good night's sleep and adequate but not excessive dietary fiber

Where I come from, that's not kink, it's just "regular."
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:13 AM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


" When, if ever, will we see a generation that doesn't first think of women as sexual objects?"

under my totalitarian gynocentric theocracy
"

As Gandhi is said to have said when asked what he thought of Western civilization, "I think it would be a good idea."
posted by jamjam at 2:01 PM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Currently in /u/ they're shipping the periodic table.

so that's how there's so much zinc in my copper.
posted by numaner at 6:33 PM on December 22, 2015


To me, the creators of a sexualized mascot for mass market consumption are much more worthy of our condemnation than porn parody cartoonists.

So what do people here think women SHOULD wear in the media they consume? What do they think women should wear in real life? Do people here ever tell women what they should wear in order to be respected? If not, why not?

You know, I don't disagree that Erin Esurance has sex appeal, or was drawn sexily. But then again, she was a deliberate referent to a long line of "Spy Girl" characters of whom Kim Possible and Natasha Romanov were only the latest iterations. We're talking something that stretches back to Julie Newmarr and Eartha Kitt as Catwoman, Mrs Peel, and Modesty Blaise (incidentally, if you have questions as to why a little girl can find Erin Esurance empowering, well there you go: along with the sexiness of the characters, went a lot of action and independence.) Now one can argue that "The Spygirl" is a trope that has sexist elements and is designed at least in part for the male gaze, I wouldn't argue (Especially if you brought in characters like Fujiko Masumane).

But if say, someone started posting without permission nude pictures of Diana Rigg or Scarlett Johansson, would an acceptable response be "No! We should really condemn the movie studios for making them sexy!"? Is the consensus "Yeah, if a woman is sexy she deserves whatever happens to her, because (Company/society/the system/etc."?
posted by happyroach at 12:16 AM on December 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


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