Oh they didn’t did they? Appalling misogynist advertising.

experience the new durex superthin ultima. our thinest condom

so thin you can leave her pleasantly puzzled ~ did he really use one? or didn’t he?

Or, as one astute twitter user said “do I need an abortion? or don’t I?”. The fact that durex in India can confidently use rape as a selling point for their condoms shouldn’t be at all surprising really, after all, if Assange has taught us nothing it’s that having sex with a woman without a condom, even if she says she wants one, is just negotiation, not a betrayal of trust or a violation of her body.

I have many problems with this line of advertising.

  1. It trivialises consent in sexual relationships. If the female partner is having to ask herself whether or not her male partner used a condom during vaginal intercourse we have a major problem of lack of consent. Yes, unlike Assange would like to have us believe, consent is not just about yes or no to putting something in a woman’s vagina. Consent is also about the how, when, with what toys, in which positions, how many times and with what contraception and consent can be withdrawn at any time. If durex thinks it’s ok to have unprotected sex with a woman without obtaining consent, it’s seriously misunderstanding the legality of the activity from which it derives a big chunk of it’s income. Not something which is pleasantly puzzling in any language.
  2. It makes a lie out of the fact of vaginal sensation during penis in vagina sex. It is the male partner that is likely to experience the greater reduction in pleasure, not the female partner, when using condoms. In fact, in many studies into condom use and sexual pleasure women have reported little to no difference in pleasure based on whether or not their partner was wearing a condom. So using female pleasure as a selling point for condoms a) perpetuates a myth about female sexual pleasure being all about the cock in vag and b) could potentially discourage condom use among men as it is effectively legitimising their feelings of frustration about having to use a condom.

So when will advertisers learn that women’s bodies are not objects for use in making profits? If this is the sort of stuff we’re going to continue to see, I suspect it’ll be a looooong time. I’ve only listed two major issues I have with the add here. Do any feminaust readers have their own issues to raise? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. xxx

This entry was posted in Image/Media, Original comment/article by MsElouise. Bookmark the permalink.

About MsElouise

MsElouise is a community programs worker and feminist from Melbourne Australia. She likes to travel, write, rant and make people feel uncomfortable about their assumptions. She hopes to one day be remembered for changing the world just a little bit. Right now she does this by proving that teenage girls are a higher order of beings.

7 thoughts on “Oh they didn’t did they? Appalling misogynist advertising.

  1. I agree about the ad, that’s just ugly.

    But I’m caught by your abrupt jump in how you view male condom use. On the one hand you seem to accept that men experience reduced sensation while using condoms, but then two sentences later you’re reluctant to legitimise that experience for fear that it will make men reluctant to use them.

    • This is due to research which has indicated exactly that point. That men who don’t use condoms regularly are more likely to report loss of sensation during condom use and also less likely to regularly use condoms for that reason. Whereas men who regularly use condoms are less likely to report lessened sensation.

    • On reflection, perhaps “legitimise” was a poor choice of word. The loss of sensation is legitimate, it’s just not legitimate to use it as an excuse to trick women into sex without a condom which is what I feel this ad is doing.

  2. I have a few issues with your post.
    First off, while I don’t think the advert is a particularly good one, you seem to have a way of taking offence to things that are just plain not there.

    No where in the advert is there any reference or even hint at rape. Why do you bring this up when it clearly has nothing to do with the advert.

    Similarly with your first point, consent does not come into this advertising even a little bit.
    Durex is clearly saying that the woman will feel as if the couple has not used a condom when in fact they have. Nowhere does it encourage men to not use a condom without consent, nor does it encourage women not to use a condom without consent.

    If a female partner has an issue with whether or not the male partner is using a condom… why does she not simply check and ask. The woman has just as much responsibility to ensure there is a condom as the man does if she/he wishes to stay safe, if the man does not wish to use a condom while the woman does, she can either refuse sex or consent to it. After this point if the man continues without consent then yes it is rape.

    To point no.2 – I totally agree, this part of the advert is completely bonkers.

    • The advert suggests that the woman is unaware as to whether a condom was used or not.
      If she wanted a condom to be used and her partner used a line like “oh I did use one, it was just a durex ultima so you couldn’t feel it” but actually had not used one. That would be rape. The fact that the woman is left wondering whether he used one or not is legitimising coersive behaviour around condom use.

  3. Let me tell you that when you get to my age using a condom is more about “mess ” control and reducing sensation so you last a bit longer!

    On the ad – it riddiculous to think that the woman didn’t notice her partner slipping on the Durex – she must have been asleep!

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