Advertisements comprise thirty percent of the material aired on television, and many of us will view more than two million commercials in our lifetimes. The A. C. Nielson Company reports that, by the age of sixty-five, the average U.S. citizen will have spent nine years of his or her life watching television—twenty-eight hours a week, two months a year. And in one year, the average youth will spend nearly twice as many hours in front of the tube (fifteen hundred hours) as he or she spends at school (nine hundred hours). We may turn the box off eventually, but the advertisements remain. We are surrounded by them: they cover billboards, cereal boxes, food wrappers, bathroom stalls, tee shirts, and tennis shoes. They seep into our music, our newscasts, and our conversations. We recognize corporate logos and hum jingles ("Ba Da Ba Ba Ba"). In short, advertisements inform every aspect of our lives. Yet we often give them very little thought. We may make aesthetic judgments about them (e.g., "That commercial was funny" or "That commercial was stupid") or view them as innocent means to purchasing ends, but we rarely acknowledge them as messages that require critical attention. Advertisements, however, do more than entertain and sell more than just products. They suggest standards of normalcy, of coolness, of sexiness, of happiness, and so on—standards that shape the way that we view and interpret the world. They also serve the profit-driven interests of the corporations that create them. As cultural critic Naomi Klein explains, "Quite simply, every company with a powerful brand is attempting to develop a relationship with consumers that resonates so completely with their sense of self that they will aspire, or at least consent, to be serfs under these feudal brandlords" (149).  In other words, advertisements are hardly innocent means to purchasing ends and, more often than not, hardly true reflections of our senses of self. Instead, they are a powerful force in creating our senses of self. Therefore, advertisements do require a critical eye. Skyy Vodka has consistently been perhaps the most sexually suggestive advertiser of its genre. Its ads typically contain a thin, young, and beautiful woman in tight clothing with some sort of sexual power over her enticed male counterpart. The ads are not shy to appeal to sex and often promote the sexual benefits of drinking Skyy Vodka. While the advertisement for Skyy Vodka titled “The Antagonist” seen in People magazine’s May 7, 2007 issue adheres to the usual standards of Skyy ads, it has an underlying theme of white, male supremacy and the female threat to that power. The scene of the ad takes place at night in a sky-rise apartment in some thriving metropolis. In the apartment, the drapes are for now pushed aside while a woman, perhaps in her 20s, stands straddling a man, with an indefinable age, sitting in a 60s-style chair with only his legs and forearm visible. The man holds a martini and the woman holds a drink mixer while seductively looking into the hidden face of the mystery man. The man is wearing a business suit and the woman wears the clichéd “little black dress” paired with studded black heels. Both the male and female are Caucasian. In the left foreground is the picture of the product, a Skyy Vodka bottle sitting next to a martini on a table. The main appeal to sex is made by the body language between the man and the woman, as the man’s legs are in between hers and her posture and leering facial expression scream “seductress.” Another obvious appeal to sex is the inclusion of the drapes in the upper left-hand corner, implying that they might have to be drawn a bit later. The man’s hidden face is a significant statement to his power. The missing identity and the fact that he is sitting down in an enveloping chair gives the image of the high-profile boss who is never seen. He is the Charlie and the woman is his “angel,” a...
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