Ford has apologized and discontinued a series of ads which were planned for publications in India due to outcry that they were misogynistic. This because the ads featured pictures of scantily clad women bound and gagged in the cargo area of the Ford Figo.
Seriously, in an age of ever-increasing awareness of sexual trafficking and particularly the horrific story of the woman who was gang raped on a bus in India, the advertising decision by Ford requires somebody to ask: ‘What were they thinking?’
In light of what we know about sex trafficking generally, the idea that women would be bound, gagged and hauled as cargo is in no way funny.
But this also makes me wonder about how desensitized we have become. A twisted idea — or images that bear a striking resemblance to a twisted idea — is able to become the central theme of an advertising campaign for a major automobile company because we are desensitized to the reality that women shouldn’t be treated as cargo. We are desensitized to the idea that women are worthy of more respect than to be portrayed as scantily clad.
Porn culture is what has desensitized us. It’s the same thing that has desensitized the decision makers at Victoria’s Secret to the point that they think it’s appropriate to market lingerie to middle school girls.