A Lifestyle Trend or Fantasy


Yesterday I happened to leaf through an issue of Life & Style, a weekly woman’s magazine that Goddess V enjoys. There, across the gutter from an advertorial about T-Mobile’s forthcoming Sidekick 3 Do-Everything-But-Make-Breakfast-Phone, was a full page ad that had rather stylized silhouette artwork of a stiletto knee-high boot, complete with a whip in the background that was kinda wrapped around the boot. Surrounding the artwork was plenty of white space. Inside the boot in reverse type it read: My frizz is so wild even a dominatrix couldn’t tame it. It was done in green ink of all colors. Turns out, if you read way down at the bottom, it’s an ad for Sunsilk De-Frizz 24/7 Creme/Conditioner/Gel with aloe-E.

Now what do you suppose is going on here? Frizzy hair… dominatrix… oh yeah, I can make that connection instantly. In the advertising world, this is called a borrowed interest ad, but it seems to me there is a lot more going on here than borrowed interest. Do you think the copywriter on this as was a male with a submission fantasy? I’m guessing, yeah.
But regardless of who is creating it, for those of us paying attention, it seems we are seeing more and more of this kind of thing right out there in plain view.

A magazine ad like this one is a good bit more blatant than a New York Times article about how young women are out performing young men in our universities, don’t ya think? And it gets me to wondering. Consumer advertising involves spending big bucks. This particular full-page insertion for example costs $52,000, plus another $23,430 for the accompanying 1/3-page ad appearing across the gutter (which is small potatoes compared to some consumer vehicles with much larger circulations). So ad agencies and their clients typically do surveys, test marketing and focus groups before deciding on critical issues such as brand positioning, pricing, ad themes and so forth. I wonder if Lever Brothers, the manufacturers of Sunsilk products, has statistics to support such an approach.

According to Bauer Publishing, “Life & Style features the latest Hollywood fashion, beauty, and lifestyle trends merged with celebrity news and shopping. The goal: to celebrate and showcase celebrity lifestyle and help readers incorporate the trends into their own lives with timely and engaging shopping features.
Demographics are:
Readership: 91% female, 9% male
Median Age: 30
Median HH Income: $66,985
Paid Circ: 600,000
Total Audience: 2,100,000

So someone ‘splain this to me, will ya! Does someone know something definitive about a lifestyle trend among 30-something women… and their husbands?

As an interesting aside to this, the website created to promote SunSilk products is hosted by three blatantly gay young men (à la Queer Eye for a Straight Guy) who give advice to women not only on hair care, but also on how to keep your mother from interfering in your life, how to tell your best GF to keep her meat hooks off of your man and the like. Interesting. Especially considering how many of the women I know have said they love gay men. We recently met a guy who, when he told us straight away that he was gay, Goddess V said, “Oh how cool. Will you be my friend? I’ve always wanted a good male friend who’s gay.”

You see there? It’s now almost cool to be openly gay. Maybe it’ll soon to be cool to be openly dominant or submissive.


Polyfetishist said...

Actually Apple had an ad with a Domme with a cane back in the 80s. It is an easily exploited image - exciting to the vanilla majority - without a reflection of any actual social changes.

helpmate hubby said...

Delightful ad and post. Think it says a lot about where we are going as a culture, and i do think soon we will see people declaring themsleves openly submissive, like people who are gay do today.

whatevershesays said...

The outing of our style of relationship is occurring...slowly. I"ve seen it in ads too. Men cooking while the woman reads, etc.

In my blog I relate a conversation in which my wife told a friend that the movie we were going to see was, "whatever I want."

Maybe my relationship is getting outed too.

Queen'sKnight1 said...

Very interesting, and what a well written piece. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"I do think soon we will see people declaring themsleves openly submissive, like people who are gay do today."

"Being gay" and "having courage" is not a contradiction.

Biff said...

Dear Veezknight,
Would be interesting if the LFA or femdom lifestyle was becoming mainstream, but my guess is that the only mainstream thing about it is the lack of prohibition about using it for its sensational qualities. It is so hard to have an ad noticed amdist all the visual and audio clutter. My belief is that this image is only to grab attention because the lifestyle is still considered scandalous, and submissive men are still "in the closet" (probably bound and gagged).
I wouldn't be holding my breath that this perception is going to change.