It’s been said before, but JC Penney’s new ad reminds us: The female body is miraculous. We’re proud that our bodies can conceive, give birth and allow us to maintain our active pursuits, and women deserve to feel comfortable with their sexuality, too. So maybe we should take JC Penney’s use of Phoebe Cates‘ sexy bikini-clad body to sell dress shirts as a clever compliment to the female form, but instead, we mostly feel insulted by the implication that our bodies are just an advertising prop.
The ad opens with Kenny Mayne (an ESPN sports journalist and comedian) empathizing with viewers’ hatred of clothing ads, followed by a compromise: Alongside their ads for dress shirts, he offers Cates’ sexy pool scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (minus the actual nudity). As Mommyish editor Shawna Cohen points out, not only is it hard to see the connection between Cates’ 1982 bikini body and dress shirts, but it’s also so blatantly sexist that even the men apparently targeted by the ad (40-something dudes who wax nostalgic over Cates and connect with ESPN’s sports anchors) should be insulted by the assumption that they’re just a bunch of horny guys who’ll buy shirts if they get to see a girl in a bikini.
A quick survey of reactions on Facebook yields reactions ranging from “Not a good choice for JC Penny, who I thought was more of a family store…” to “anyone who thinks this ad is sexist is a prude,” and perhaps the most popular sentiment: “she looks good, but I have no idea what they were selling in that ad.”
Call me a prude, but I’m going to side with the argument that the ad is dumb and sexist. Sure, I’m hip to the fact that sex sells (see an earlier story from today about one guy’s plan to make men eat less meat by opening a vegan strip club). And like I said before: I think we all deserve to feel proud of our bodies and sexuality (that’s why all of us at Blisstree spend so much time thinking and writing about how to take care of your physical health). But using a video of Phoebe Cates about to get naked to sell products to men doesn’t quite pay respect to women’s bodies, if you ask me.
Watch the video and tell us what you think: