Svedka Demands Support for Robot-Robot Marriage

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This weekend I spotted a number of ads similar to this one plastered on the sides of transit buses and on billboards all over New York City. As in all Svedka ads, this one features a (white) fembot with a sizable bust and unbelievably thin waist branded with the company logo. Lying on its side, it glances expectingly at the observer while placing one hand alongside its head and the other near its breasts. Ignoring its physical characteristics, we are meant to know its sex simply the implications in its body language -simultaneously inviting sex and sympathy (see tagline). This heavily maligned depiction of a female body comes to represent the Svedka bottle itself, quite literally a mere vessel for male enjoyment and intoxication. This depersonalized female image is extremely troubling not simply because of the transparent objectification of the body, but because of the implications of thise which Jean Kilbourne describes in her film Killing Us Softly 4, namely the fact that this encourages violence against women as they are reduced to nothing by the mass media. The only element of personality at all associated with fembot(tle) is the ad’s tagline: “Support robot-robot marriage,” presumably meant to elicit pity towards the ad’s subject which cannot marry other robots. This obvious tongue-in-cheek reference to the fight for same-sex marriage both makes a mockery of a truly disgraceful reality which members of LGBTQ communities are forced to live with on a daily basis, and courts these communities in exactly the sort of way Wan-Hsui Sunny Tsai describes in her piece “Assimilating the Queers,” going on the idea that by being “edgy” and somehow “risque,” the company putting out the advertisement stands to benefit (5). The result is this twisted heterosexist (but somehow implying otherwise) rubbish polluting the streets of New York and the collective female consciousness.

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