Infidelity: Now With Threesome Potential!

This ad is a rather startling example of both the fetishized visions of bisexuality discussed in Wan-Hsiu’s “Assimilating the Queers” and the objectification of women seen throughout our advertisement studies. Portraying a husband discovering that his wife has been cheating on him with another woman, this men’s magazine ad, rather than considering the ramifications thereof, plays deliberately into the male gaze. Infidelity: Now With Threesome Potential!

The caption, with the bold words “Let us keep on dreaming of a better world,” plays up the appeal of woman-on-woman sex to the heterosexual male audience; the wife’s affair is not seen as a threat to the relationship, but as the precursor to a titillating, husband-pleasing threesome, very much the wild (male) fantasy seen in so many portrayals of bisexual women (8). The sexual relationship these two (white, thin, sexily posed, and generally conventionally attractive) women have is thus taken from the threat to patriarchy and heteronormativity described by Wan-Hsiu (11) to a reinforcement of male dominance and sexuality, a dream come true for the man who can now have *two* women lavish erotic attention on him, no thought given to the integrity of the relationship or the interest of either woman in such an activity. Their independent, maleless relationship has now been suitably rectified by the addition of a man, and the women are back to their “proper” place as sexual objects, existing for the male gaze and male pleasure, the heterosexual relationship never having been threatened.

Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai. “Assimilating the Queers: Representations of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Mainstream Advertising.” Advertising & Society Review 11, no. 1 (2010) http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 31, 2012).

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