I understand that if you run a PR company, that it can get a little hard to have your clients stand out. The more time that passes, the more gimmicks that have been done, and finding an innovative way of drawing attention to yourself can be something of a challenge. However, sometimes you can stand out for the wrong reasons.
Absolute Territory, a PR company based in Japan, has recently made headlines as it has started using the thighs of young girls for advertising space. Japanese fashion has made it so that many young women wear a combination of short skirts and over the knee socks – you know, the school girl look. Absolute Territory obviously looked at that small gap of flesh just below the skirt line and thought ‘now that’ll get a look in’.
The company is currently paying young women, all over the age of 18 and with a signed waiver of consent, to wear either a sticker or temporary tattoo on the provocative areas of flesh. The wage is determined by how long the tattoo is worn and for the amount of skin space used. The girls, in return, have to wear the logos for at least 8 hours and provide evidence that they have been out in public promoting the brands through pictures on social media.
This story first came to my attention through the topical youtuber sxephil. He seemed in favour of the scheme, saying that these women participate through their own choices, and seeing as they’re all legal, there’s really nothing wrong with it. It’s just some clever accessorising, right?
He then also pointed out, that when he showed the story to a ‘radical feminist’ that she had very different ideas and that she thought it was disgusting.
As a feminist myself (this is a feminist blog) I can’t deny that this form of advertising leaves a foul taste in my mouth. Yes these women offer their bodies willingly, but why do they feel like a price can be put on their body? What’s more, younger girls who see this will start to assume that certain women are commodities, that a certain body type does have a social worth, a price tag if you will.
Even more damaging, by saying that these young women have a value; it also says that the women who don’t conform to this sexual image don’t therefore have the same value. Those women have less value. The women without skinny thighs, nice cleavage, clear skin; those that have perhaps disabilities, those that don’t conform – the price tag on these women is significantly lower, or made void all together.
I’m not suggesting that all this is a new thing brought on by this one advertising campaign. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any women appearing in advertising that doesn’t also resemble this same problem. However, what worries me most about a story like this is just how easy it’s getting for women to fall into the role of commodity. When did a woman become a walking billboard?
How long is it before we wake up and find a barcode on the back of our necks?