HOTmilk and MILFs: Whose “Sexy” is Pregnancy?

Ad for Hotmilk lingerie, showing a pregnant woman in bra and panties

Ad for HOTmilk lingerie

by Kristen Hurst

The MILF acronym, popularized by 1999’s American Pie, is most often associated with teenage male desire for their friends’ “hot” mothers. Over ten years after the release of this film, even the casual cultural consumer could notice that soft-core MILF pornography has become prominent in pop culture, and with that, the sexualization of motherhood and pregnancy are on the rise.

Pregnancy fetishists and feminists alike may argue that pregnancy has always been sexy—it’s the natural result of heterosexual sex, after all—but a pregnant MILF’s body that has been dismantled limb-by-limb by an advertiser’s camera may only be sexy according to a troubling narrative, one which many feminist mothers would like to decapitate, even if they lack the tools to do so.

The main advertisement that I’m referring to, the 2009 commercial promoting HOTmilk lingerie, has been discussed widely across feminist blogs. As you can see below, a lingerie-clad mom-to-be greets what we may assume to be the father of her unborn child with a glass-shattering striptease.

Mom is so voracious that she is willing to break any dish or lamp in her belly’s way, but there is little in the video that lets the viewer know that the woman in question is pregnant. The editing and camerawork are handled in a way that would make Laura Mulvey more than cringe. While we see the assumed father’s titillated reaction to the tease on his face, the mother is revealed as an array of parts—a seam on the hip here, a bra strap there, a glove against the lip. She is a buffet of sexual consumables that you, too, can access, if you visit She is sexy even though she is pregnant. Read more

Posted on by Kristen Hurst in Feminism, Pop Culture Leave a comment

My Reality: I Pitched My Marketing Class on the Diva Cup

divacupThis is the first post in a new series we’re starting at Gender Focus. The “My Reality” series is the brainchild of regular contributor Alicia Costa and will feature a variety of contributors writing about their diverse experiences. Our goal is to let people share their stories: both those that are common but not necessarily widely discussed, and those that are highly unique.

If you would like to submit a one-time post to the “My Reality “ series (or contribute more regularly to Gender Focus) check out the site submission guidelines.

I Pitched My Marketing Class on the Diva Cup

by Jarrah Hodge

I was at least a little out-of-place in my Writing Creative Copy class last term. The course, part of a local college Marketing program, was taught by a kind but easily-distractable woman in her fifties with extensive experience in the ad industry.

Now the industry isn’t exactly like Mad Men anymore, but there’s still a lot of pretty bad advertising produced, including all those racist political ads that came out in the States last year, and just reams of sexist ads promoting anything from fast food to high fashion.

So how do you switch hats to go from being a feminist cultural critic, who spends a lot of her spare time analyzing and writing about sexist advertising, to being a trainee ad copywriter who is trying to learn some new skills and pass a class?

Turns out it was possible to do and have fun. It helped that the philosophy of the instructor and the course was to emphasize creativity. If your jokes and images and concepts came straight out ads you’d already seen, you had a problem. You couldn’t just stick in a picture of a sexy, half-naked woman and expect to get a good grade.

But I still had a bit of a block; a discomfort with writing even fake ads for products I didn’t think people should buy.

So when it came time to develop a radio ad campaign for our mid-term assignment, I sat down and I went through all the products I use on a regular basis. I wanted to find something I could fake sell without feeling like it compromised my ethics.

I picked the Diva Cup.

Now I’ve used the Diva Cup (a small, internally-worn menstrual cup made of silicone) with Lunapads’ washable cloth menstrual pads for backup for about five years. To me it’s no big deal. I learned about the cup from a friend in university and it just made sense. Why was I using these bleached, scented, drying menstrual products instead of this cheaper (up to $150 cheaper per year) and more eco-friendly option. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism, My Reality 9 Comments

Feminism F.A.Q.s: What is Objectification?

Feminism FAQs Title Screen

by Jarrah Hodge

My latest episode of Feminism F.A.Q. is on the issue of objectification, specifically sexual objectification, and why this is an issue for feminists. Check out the video below and read my notes and the transcript after the jump.

Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism, Pop Culture 3 Comments

The Awesomely Nerdy Posters of the SFU Choir

by Jarrah Hodge

This is a purely fun post because as those who read my Bitch Magazine blogs column know, I am a huge nerd. I was postering for the LACE Campaign up at Simon Fraser University yesterday and came across these amazing nerdy posters for the SFU Choir. Actually made me wish I was back in university again.

SFU Choir Poster Futurama

SFU Choir Poster Star Wars

A couple more after the jump:  Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Can-Con, Pop Culture 1 Comment

FFFF: Gay Characters in TV Ads

There are gay characters in TV commercials! But wait, they’re either there for a laugh or for a scare. From the now-ended “That’s Gay” Current web series, it’s still relevant.


Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in FFFF, LGBT Leave a comment

Violence Sells? Time to Say “Enough” to Twisted Advertisers

This ad is from the 1950s. Not much progress in depictions of women in advertising has happened since then.

Here the 2nd post in  Joanna Chiu’s series of posts for Vancouver’s Battered Women’s Support Services on media representations of violence against women. Read the whole series as we cross-post them here, or check them out at the BWSS Ending Violence blog.

Before anyone had even heard of the show Jersey Shore, MTV leaked out a clip of Snooki (Nicole Polizzi) getting punched in a face by a man in a bar, and the clip went viral, prompting articles like “The Countdown to Snooki Getting Punched in the Face Is On!” (trigger warning for link).

The author of that article for Barstool Sports wrote:

“But as much as I enjoyed the first episode it was all overshadowed by the upcoming scenes when Snooki gets coldcocked in the face by a dude. I literally have to take sleep medicine now before I go to bed now just so I can relax and not think about how excited I am for it. Because I’m telling you right now this is destined to go down as one of the greatest moments in the history of television.”

MTV waited until the last minute to announce that it wouldn’t air the footage, and denied having leaked the clip, despite having included part of the clip in the trailer for the show.

That is just one of thousands of disturbing examples of violence against women being used for decades to promote everything from men’s suits to high fashion to vegetarianism (You can thank PETA for that one).

This 2007 ad for Dolce & Gabbana, which became known as simply “the gang rape ad,” depicts a man pinning down a woman while other men look on.

Dolce & Gabbana "Rape Ad"

This isn’t just a case of “sex sells.” These tactics are continuing to go on and on because advertisers, organizations like PETA and entertainment companies believe that images of violence against women can sell products and influence behaviors. Read more

Posted on by Joanna Chiu in Feminism, Pop Culture 1 Comment

The Skinny on Childhood Obesity

One of the young overweight girls featured in an anti- childhood obesity campaign in Georgia was interviewed last week on CBS about her involvement in the project.  The project featured five overweight children, each linked to a different way children are affected by being obese. Chloe McSwain, 11 boasted high self-esteem by telling CBS News she thinks she is “very pretty.” McSwain wanted to be involved in the project to “help kids” by raising awareness.

According to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the folks who created this campaign, over one million kids in Georgia are classified as “obese”. The campaign is aimed at parents in an effort to give them a “wake-up call” about childhood obesity because “75 percent of parents of overweight or obese children don’t see the problem.”

Firstly, I think the images of overweight children on billboards and TV ads achieve little else than fat-shaming overweight kids. As someone who was an overweight kid, these ads make me cringe. When you are a fat kid there are a million things a day including mainstream media and images that remind you that you are not the norm. I think it’s great that McSwain has high self-esteem but I do not think this is reflective of overweight children living within the unrealistic body images they are bombarded with today. Read more

Posted on by Alicia Costa in Feminism, Pop Culture 6 Comments