No Comment: Renewable Girls and Ecosexism

I get it. Sex sells. But this is just gratuitous.

These images are from a calendar entitled “Renewable Girls,” advertising–get this–solar panels. Part of a tacky trend of ecosexism in advertising for “sustainable” products, this calendar comes on the heels of PETA’s infamous sexy animal rights series and Yoga Journal’s seemingly exclusive preference for young/white/thin/topless models.

If these images weren’t degrading enough on their own, the accompanying text (not pictured) really clinched the deal for me. On the company’s website, the caption below the first image reads: “When her husband is away on business, Cynthia waits patiently by her solar-powered phone.” And below the second image: “Megan is Bananas for Panels!”

Thanks to WIMN’s Voices for pointing this out.

Unimpressed environmentalists can voice their concerns by emailing the company or writing to its founder, John B., at this address:

1458 San Bruno Ave
San Francisco CA
94110

Comments

  1. Why is it ok for Tila Tequila to use sex to sell? Aren't these women just "expressing their sexuality"? There's slight tinge of slut shaming here.

    • Slut-shaming? This is a marketing ploy, devised by the company's PR department or an ad agency. A group of executives sat around a table and decided to put half-naked women next to their product in an attempt to sell it. The addition of the caption “When her husband is away on business, Cynthia waits patiently by her solar-powered phone” makes it clear that the issue here is blatant sexism and objectification. No one made any remarks about the integrity or character of the models featured, or disparaged their choice to participate – only the use of their images.

    • Perhaps if the women were responsible for making the calendar, but these are paid (by some dood that just LOOOOVES solar panels) models. No slut shaming here.

  2. But "sex" doesn't sell. If this is what was "selling, we would see half-naked, sexually objectified men in ads all over the place because women are sexuate beings, too. So what is being sold? I think such ads are selling power — reminding heterosexual men that they are sexual subjects who act and women are sexual objects who exist for male pleasure.

    • But there ARE "half-naked, sexually objectified men" in ads all over the place.

      • Not even close to how many women-ads. Plus a lot of “sexy me” ads are supposed to be humorous. You know, because women are all pure and the idea of one having sexual desires is silly.

  3. yikes! you forgot the "photoshop of horrors" tag for the second photo.

  4. anastasiakeeley says:

    Ga-rosss!

    Ugh, douches are everywhere these days. :(

  5. I saw a similar story at Huffington Post, albeit with less holier-than-thou posturing. From what I read, the ad copy to which this blogger objects was wholly tongue-in-cheek. The whole production strikes me as a parody of the usual "sex sells" advertising mantra.

  6. Nice to see you countering the Ecosexism with some Femosexism against young white thin models.

    If fat is a feminist issue, then why is it okay to complain about other women's lack of it?

  7. I think they are making fun of it all and to get upset about it, well, it's just stupid. These pictures are so ridiculous and such 50s pin-up jokes, how can anybody doubt the irony here?

  8. Yup and you had no problem posting the images on your site, did you?

  9. Arctic Observer says:

    Sex sells – get over it.
    If this is what it takes to create an eco friendly world, then I'm all for it.
    Besides, less clothing means means less resources used to create this ad…
    … that's a joke, if you don't get…

    • It's not sex that's selling here, or there'd be, you know… SEX. It's a misogynistic beauty ideal that's selling.

    • Briawna says:

      I am not “all for” an eco friendly world at the expense of women’s liberation and the fight for equality. If you really think you can accomplish the goals of ecological preservation and respect for the environment in a society that doesn’t respect women, then you do not understand the nature of the problem.

      There is no eco-friendly without female-friendly.

  10. The "irony" in these images renders them retro-sexist; glorifying and perpetuating sexist ideals of the past and attempting to shroud them in this cloak of irony in order to evade criticism. It is still sexist, it is still perpetuating sexism.

    These images commodify the female form and, in the case of the second image, there is absolutely no meaningful connection between the product (solar panels) and the scantily clad, sexily posed woman. The sexiness is utterly arbitrary.

  11. If sex can protect our planet from further harm, let's all take off our hats to that.

  12. Stephanie says in her title that "she gets it" but I think she missed the point. Over thinking the whole message has got you confused about issues.

  13. Actually, sex doesn't sell. At least, not in mainstream USA. If you look at the most successful brands Got Milk, Nike, Apple, VW, etc. Their ad campaigns are almost completely devoid of sex. When you put sex in your ads, people tend to remember the sex and not the brand. Unless sex is part of your brand, like Victoria Secret. But even then you risk blending in with your competitors. It is actually quite rare to find sex in American advertising due to our puritanical values. The examples you provided are no name brands and activist groups who have to rely on sensationalism to get attention. So the notion that advertising perpetuates sexism is not based on fact. It is based on perception.

  14. As usual, the soft-headed males accuse women of "overthinking" messages that belittle and denigrate us. Because, you know, we aren't supposed to think. Tongue-in-cheek or no, this entire campaign smacks of misogyny. As to those who claim it's ok if this is how we get greener products, a better environment–what an incredibly foolish statement. No one is making anyone choose between sexism and environmental interests. Say we took another retro image–that of a man in black-face–and used that to sell solar panels. Or a picture of a Rabbi clutching his wallet to his chest (to make the point, of course, that you needn't be separated from your beloved money to go green). Yeah, right, it's not going to happen. So why trot this garbage out on the backs of women?

  15. Many more examples of sexist advertising see: http://www.flickr.com/sex-sells

  16. I'm waiting for the day when all women figure out that the whole vegan-as-environmentalist thing is hurting us too–we're getting our health damaged trying to do the right thing for the environment. Which makes PETA's sexist ads, in particular, all the more damning.

    • I am way anti-PETA, but what are you talking about in terms of harming anyone’s health? I am a professional athlete AND vegan. My health is just fine.

      • Vegan Power says:

        i am Ant-PETA due to the ‘Lettuce Ladies’ and the ‘id rather go naked then wear fur’ that crap is awful! exploiting women is NOT better than exploiting animals! there is a wonderful author that explores this issue Carol J Adams! should check out her book. Eco-Feminism is important and im saddened by all this CRAP eco-sexism! its just destroying the movement- tearing it apart… probably the point, designed by big business to destroy eco-friendships :(

  17. Just the text that says she waits by her phone when her husband is away is what gets me.

    Peta adverts arent sexy though, its just bodies. they use both women and men.

  18. I would have thought Yoga Journal would be more progressive,but I had noticed befoe that they put mostly men on the cover.That rubbed me the wrong way.Now this?

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