Cate Sevilla writes...
While it seems that the world is finally embracing the idea that "Gee whiz! Girls like gadgets, too?!", I wonder why the magazine world hasn't quite caught up to speed. Overall, I really do enjoy magazines such as Stuff and T3, but is the blatant exploitation of "sex sells" really necessary any more? The overly obvious "Notice us! We have hot women!" advertisements and "try to spot the gadget" photos are just starting to grow very old.
Look, I do understand why these magazines' covers consist of an oiled-up chick in lingerie holding a phallic looking gadget in between her thighs. Obviously, it gets a potential consumer's attention. It, admittedly, even catches my eye when I see a cleavage bearing woman blocking her naked body with a plasma screen TV. However, if we're really moving forward in the tech world with blogs and websites,such as this one, andGeekSugar, isn't using a woman's body to advertise a gadget taking giant steps backwards? Really, they can't even use the excuse of "Well, this is a magazine for men!", any more. Stuff and T3 both have a unisex staff, both advertise products such as pink mobiles and girly, blinged-out laptops, and even occasionally label gadgets as "Lady Pleasers". So why are their covers, main articles and photo spreads clearly aimed at men?
A woman sprawled across a bed on her back, breasts and ribs thrust towards the sky, with an out of focus iPhone looking like it accidentally landed in her hand isn't very impressive; nor is it actually selling anything. Just as having a hot brunette's corset taking up two pages, with a blurry MacBook shoved into the corner isn't really telling us anything about the product. I'm sure plenty of men would beg to differ, but that just puts me off. I would like to actually read the articles and learn about the gadgets without having to stare at some girl's crotch first.
Perhaps that's one of the biggest reasons that female-run gadget blogs are so popular. Never mind the "easy to understand" jargon and overall "female friendly" atmosphere...it's just nice to not be bombarded with half-naked women! Now, I have to stress that while this is annoying and should change, I think Stuff Magazine's actual content and magazine (sans the cover) is more female friendly than most; especially their website. With the fabulous (and fully clothed) Frag Dolls regularly contributing to their game reviews and blog, Stuff is pretty cool.
Now, here at Shiny Shiny, we have been known to have a bit of fun with this subject. We made our own hilarious videos using scantily clad men to model gadgets while we reviewed them. I think this just proves how ridiculous it is to use members of the opposite sex as ways to sell products; especially gadgets. It's distracting, unrealistic, and just plain silly. I won't go as far to say that it's degrading and offensive as I know it's just the unfortunate reality that "sex sells", and that the staff of these magazines aren't necessarily misogynistic...but I think it's about freakin' time that we move past using women's bodies to sell products. Especially in an industry where men and women are clearly, and obviously equals.