This may be a campaign about HIV/AIDS awareness, but that’s no excuse. This is blatant misogyny, really sinister stuff that conveys a much more profound message about the female body.
Take another look at it. She’s got a killer smile, but still, you can’t see her eyes. The model is cropped so that she’s essentially headless. What makes her human is gone. What makes her a woman is on display. That’s a very deliberate creative choice.
She is an object to be fucked without a brain or an identity. Worse still, her vagina is a fully indexed destination on a Google map. The visual metaphor is so potent (and porn is so ubiquitous) that this image is more jarring than one in which she shows us her actual pussy.
It’s not about the fact that she’s had sex with Bill Johnson and 19 others. Who gives a fuck? What’s toxic is the idea that they checked into her vagina on Foursquare. It’s saying is that a her private parts aren’t private at all. They’re public. That’s the implicit message in this image, and it’s degrading as hell.
It’s not slut-shaming so much as it’s female-shaming, and it reinforces the age-old cultural narrative that women’s bodies aren’t their own.
Oh god, coketalk, you sound like a state-school Feminism 101 student who just discovered Camille Paglia. Yes, the ad is terribly offensive… if you pretend that there aren’t male and gay versions to go with it. In fact, the woman has had half as many sexual partners as her male counterpart and fewer than the gay man as well. It would fit your narrative to be female-shaming, but it turns out that it’s just slut-shaming after all, which of course is the provocative point.
Oh, and the thing about not showing their eyes? You’re right it’s a creative choice. Anyone who watched Friends knows that, as an actor or model, if you reveal your face in an STI ad, you’re a “Joey.”