Yoghurt, Shampoo and Orgasms

Does yoghurt make you come? Does shampoo provide you with a throbbing, writhing, screaming climax? I only ask because that seems to be the implication that yoghurt and shampoo adverts are making on a fairly regular basis.

Only last year was the pleasure of eating yoghurt compared to having your clitoris blasted with sperm from a big fireman’s hose. Don’t even try to pick out the subtleties of that, because there aren’t any. It’s not an implication, it’s scarcely metaphorical: yoghurt gives you orgasms.

Balls of deliciousness

At the moment you can see Nicole Scherzinger having one of those Hollywood-style orgasms that bear very little similarity to real-life ones – all head-tossing and ‘yes-yes-yes!’ing – because she’s eating some yoghurt. There’s a defence in libel – evident throughout most of this site – than anything clearly absurd can’t be taken to task for its claims. Hence Carlsberg’s long-running ‘probably the best lager in the world’ and Lynx’s adverts that have always implied that the smelly gas can turn weedy men into fanny magnets.

I guess that’s what’s going on here because I suspect yoghurt is most frequently eaten in place of cakes, biscuits and chocolate – the way a green salad might be chosen over a bag of chips. Surely no-one genuinely loves yoghurt? In the absence of the lack of deliciousness, adverts have made eating yoghurt into some sort of affirming lifestyle choice – it’ll make you sexy, see? Like Nicole Skirtflinger.

The Pussycat Doll can be seen in a variety of scenarios where she finds some time for herself, settles down on a sofa or bed and unveils a Muller yoghurt with the same furtive delight she might unveil a double-ended dildo – usually ending up with yoghurt on her face, doffing a cap to another common meme in advertising; cumshots.

All snark aside, there is something very interesting about yoghurt adverts: they are exclusively aimed at women. You never see a bloke eating yoghurt in adverts: men are never addressed in yoghurt adverts, appearing only for the delectation and amusement of ladies slurping the white stuff.

Why is this? I play cricket every week in the summer and see lads eating yoghurt all the time. I buy it myself. Men eat yoghurt.

There are a number of suggestions for this gender peculiarity: the supposed feyness of yoghurt as a foodstuff; the supposed benefits in digestion, strengthening bones and clearing up vaginal infections (the latter two at least more relevant to women); women are more concerned with dieting and dodging fatty foods; women are more likely to buy groceries; women looks sexier eating food than men do, ergo the food looks better and people of both sexes are more likely to buy it. Either way, I challenge you to find a yoghurt advert that’s aimed at men.

Orgasms in the shower

There’s more. Here’s Scherzinger having another orgasm (alongside some classic Herbal Essences adverts), this time in the shower. No wonder Lewis Hamilton keeps breaking up with her – the woman’s bloody insatiable. What is it with women and their ‘alone time’? Men are never portrayed as having a wank in the shower to sell Tango body gel, not we do we see men having a candle-lit bath and indulging in some furtive eating of Opal Fruits.

Weirdly, while male masturbation is portrayed as scummy and a bit weird in ads, it’s quite the opposite for women. It’s affirming, positive, representing feminine strength and independence. This is, arguably, reflected in a society where a woman admitting to owning a Rampant Rabbit barely raises an eyebrow in polite company, whereas men are rather more circumspect as to their ownernship of device called Fleshlights (if they own them at all).

Women in Advertising: Cleansing, Eating and Sex

This all tells us a lot about the advertising industry, which regularly reduces people down to whatever happens to be dangling – or not – between their legs. Women like eating healthy foods; they like cleaning themselves – so it makes sense to suggest that by eating and cleaning (two habits even flies share with us) women can somehow enjoy something luxurious and indulgent (and therefore be charged lots of money for it), rather than a simple function of existence. They are also likely to buy groceries and cleaning products for the family, so it makes sense that they should be targeted when it comes to adverts.

Ads reduce people down to their fundamental drives. With men it’s often sport, success and machismo. When men are targeted in terms of eating it’s likely to be burgers, fast foods, crisps, chocolate bars. When it comes to sex it’s very much about how to be attractive to women. Men don’t really exist in a vacuum in ads – we see them with their mates, kids, partners. To be a man in an ad is, generally, to be an adjunct of a wider unit.

Ladies, you too have been assessed. In terms of grocery shopping it’s being sensible, smart and outthinking witless men (see the stupid dad meme). In terms of food it’s indulgence, but there’s a significant degree of crossover with sex. With the latter it’s usually appreciating the male form – usually cast as slaves or some other inferior figures – or being worshipped, spoiled, adored. In terms of food and cleansing, more intriguingly, it’s masturbating alone (see above, plus Flake, Galaxy adverts).

What this says about women and their relationship with sex is debatable but if you were going by what advertising tells us, even if it’s on a subconscious level, there’s a very clear implication that female sexuality comes down to a fundamentally solo – secretive, even – pursuit. Women too are portrayed as part of larger units in advertising, but when it comes to down to treating themselves the kids have been sent to the grandparents’ and fella sent down the pub with his mates. Curtains drawn; lights down. Here comes the girl.

That’s what millennia of evolution has come down to and – against all odds – it’s women who are the wankers.

Irn-Bru, sextapes, dildos and cumshots

Irn-Bru’s advert in which a Mum shows of her tits to her son’s mates, to his apparent approval, has been all-cleared by the ASA despite a raft of complaints.

We should not be surprised at this sort of advert. Porn has been crossing over steadily into the mainstream for some time now and the sexualisation of our society continues unabated. Mobile phones didn’t exist when I was at school but I can only imagine what gets swapped between teen cellphones these days. And it is now routine to discuss a celebrity sex tape on daytime discussion shows, despite the fact that’s what being discussed is likely a pop starlet sucking on a cock and getting bummed in the process.

Consider the porn jargon that has crossed into common parlance. The Money Shot is frequently heard – a reference to a cumshot which, legend has it, was required for a male actor to get paid back in the day. Only the other day I found myself making a reference to being ‘balls deep’ in a site redesign (I’ll let you figure out what that might refer to); then compounding the faux-pas for jabbering something along the lines of “Did I just say balls-deep? Sorry I don’t know why I said balls-deep. I’ll stop saying balls-deep now.” A look of deep concern was the only comment.

Who among us knows what a DP is? A2M? Fluffing? Redtube? I’ve been startled to hear all of them mentioned by women recently, routinely dropped into conversations about nothing in particular. And I’m not alone, these days, when I smirk at a lady mentioning that’s she’s booked in for a facial.

For me there are some cultural landmarks that have brought these expressions of sexuality into the maintream, destroying the taboo that once existed around them. Sex And The City kicked it all off nearly 15 years ago, since when we’ve seen a swift erosion of all sort of notional barriers to what we see on TV. MILFs are clearly being referenced here – something widely alluded to in the likes of The Inbetweeners, perhaps the funniest comedy of the last decade and one that’s so remarkably filthy I sometimes can’t quite believe it. Use of porn, masturbation, a liking for the kinkier sexual acts are all routinely discussed these days in public – nothing new for bunches of men, or perhaps even bunches of women.

But I’ve had a number of female friends casually mention to me that they own a dildo (usually a rampant rabbit), have been enjoying reading 50 Shades of Grey, a comically bad book with bad sex that women are apparently masturbating frenziedly to on an almost hourly basis, and frequently mix the two. This does not concern me – men actively enjoy the idea that women masturbate – but I’m not personally into the habit of mentioning that I use one of those vibrating rubber fanny things you see on left-handed websites when the mood takes me. Not that I do, of course (nor a penis pump, viagra, dwarves or Spanish Fly), but I certainly wouldn’t drop it into casual conversation if I did.

I find myself constantly surprised by what I see on billboards, on television and within easy reach of young eyes. Nuts and Zoo mags basically feature women with their tits out on the front covers. Ad agencies continue to push the envelope and the crossover success of post-watershed telly via advancing bedtimes and the ease of access via interactive, recorders and the net means that we don’t really exist in a watershed age any more. I don’t consider myself a prude – far from it – but I continue to be taken aback by what our children are exposed to and how familiar with the lexicon and iconography of sex and porn they are.

Within this hazy miasma of celebrity, sex, pornography, advertising and TV it becomes genuinely impossible to attempt to legislate on issues like this. Our kids grow up in a fleshy soup of hardbodies, sex tapes, exposed breasts and jokes about cum. Everyone knows that Tulisa, a woman who amounts to a modern-day children’s TV presenter, can be seen online getting her mouth fucked – what would Valerie Singleton say (probably nothing – mumbling at best under those circumstances, I guess)? Can you imagine Googling a Maggie Philbin sex tape? Watching Janet Ellis making a penis ejaculate over her own chest? Hang on a minute, I drifted off there…

In this context it comes as no surprise that this advert – which I think witty and harmless – was OKayed by the ASA with a response that pretty much amounts to ‘Oh, blow it out your arse,” to the hundred-odd people who complained.

Children will likely see this advert. So what? If you’re a concerned parent who is compelled to write to the ASA about this commercial, I dread to think what you’ll make of what they’re looking at on their laptops. This advert amounts to the tip of an iceberg so big that the Canutes who complain about stuff like this don’t even realise they’re sitting on it.

ASA response below:

Although we noted that some complainants had interpreted the action in the ads as portraying an inappropriate relationship between the mum and the son’s friends, we did not consider that their interaction was a portrayal of irresponsible behaviour,” it said.

“We considered that the action relied on the mum being confident and attractive, but not consciously or overtly behaving in a sexualised or flirtatious way. We also considered that the focus of the ads was the son’s embarrassment at the effect his mum’s appearance was having on his friends.

“Therefore, and particularly in the context of ads intended to portray a surreal and light-hearted comedic approach, we did not consider that the action or depiction of the female protagonist was sexist or demeaning and concluded that the ads were not in breach of the code.”