The reductio of the trans

The “Toasty Torpedo” represents Scott’s penis, and the male voice of the toaster oven has been and desires satisfaction with this transplanted penis. The evidence for this abounds: the erectile angle of the torpedos when held up at the end of the commercial, the brief spot at 0:22 when the torpedo is being slid into its pouch slowly (read: sultrily), Scott’s quick, putatively surreptitious (there’s something separate to analyze in that as well) glance at his genitalia after he says that, and I paraphrase, “last time burned.” I could go on, but I think I’ve cemented that the torpedo is synonymous with Scott’s penis. Whereas at first the blatant homoeroticism of the ad is startling, anti-normative even, it is not actually so.

Wan-Hsiu says that ads that are involve homo- or alternative-sexuality fall into a few categories: they go after the “gay male dream customer,” they sensationalize trans people, or they enshrine female bisexuality. It can be argued (and I do) that this ad falls into the second category, the sexualization of the toaster being some extreme example of a transsexual that is overwhelmingly persuasive.  However, Wan-Hsiu says that the portrayal of transsexual in ads perpetuates gender norms by using hyperfeminine transsexual male-to-female. But this ad does not do that. What does it do? The homoeroticism (or transeroticism) is directed, as “normal” transsexual ads, at straight men, and I suggest that the power of this ad for that demographic is a desire to be perceived by those of alternative sexualities as desirable, and to be perceived as virile by all segments of the sexuality spectrum. This reinforces the norm of the straight male as the indicator and foundation for all sexual interaction. This is a novel nuance to Wan-Hsiu’s second category that is worth being tracked across time and space.

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