Written on: 8. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured news

Most will see Hunky Dory ads as good dirty fun in the worst possible taste

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I’m happy to say that my Hunky Dory calendar arrived safely yesterday. It consists of a series of exceedingly tasteful photographs of young women, clad in what might be some splendidly minimalist GAA outfits, or since a couple are holding an oval ball, possibly Australian Rules. The less the merrier, I always say in matters of girls’ togs. It is almost a universal rule in life that both men and women like looking at pictures of naked or near-naked women, which is why women’s magazines feature so much she-nudity. But it is also a universal rule in life that these simple pleasures will also be trumped by the joyless priggishness of the “offended” brigade, who can relied on to get constables patrolling the streets in pairs whenever a female breast or two heaves into view.

Noisy minorities have always been disproportionately successful in imposing their views on the rest of us. For the most part, they’re not fools: they know if they get into positions of power in things like quangos, their rules become our rules, especially on matters of “taste”. A near-naked woman in a woman’s magazine in this disordered moral cosmos is acceptable; an identical image in a men’s magazine is sexist, demeaning and objectifying. So, cry the sisters, let’s have a conference, (preferably at the expense of the state) into how women are turned into sex-objects by the media! Better still, throw in the wholly unsupported allegation that such advertising leads to rape, and before you can say bouncing cleavage, the airwaves are fully of people agreeing that sexy advertising destroys society as we know it.

And of course, no-one else ever gets the easy interview that Fallopia Whynge or her sister-feminist Griselda Grype are given on RTE as they fulminate that advertising causes rape. And let me state quite clearly here, that this is not a cue for me to condemn rape. Nor am I going to denounce child-prostitution, or human-sacrifices, or cannibalism, or the forcible decapitation of all women over 45. I shall utter not a word of condemnation of the Black Death, The Third Battle of Ypres or the Dreyfus Affair. And finally, I will also remain silent on recent government proposals to help defray our national debts by forcing Fianna Fail women TDs to work as comfort-girls in the forecastles of Japanese whalers, (though I will utter a silent prayer of sympathy for the Nipponese lads and their gallant harpoons).

One critic of the Hunky Dory adverts spluttered: “To see such gratuitous and exploitative images of women being linked with sport, and also taking up valuable space in the media in the week of our All-Ireland finals, is particularly distasteful and disappointing.”

No it’s not. It’s fun. As for “valuable space in the media”, well, if there’s room for this column, there’s certainly spare acres to so as to include some decent amounts of female nudity. My only real regret is that the calendar doesn’t show some tasteful little episodes in the showers, as Fedelma loofahs Nuala, and Catriona gives Laura a helping hand with that tricky bit between the shoulder-blades. Last year, Hunky Dory made some comparable adverts on a rugby theme. Featuring some fine-looking women with what looked rather like some fun-loving breasts inside some insufficiently-revealing tops, they were a restrained masterpiece of delicacy, with straplines such as “Are you staring at my crisps?” and “Tackle these”.

Needless to say, the grim old Roundheads of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland, ASAI, which could also stand for Appreciators of the Splendid Arses of Inishbofin, but probably doesn’t, promptly had conniptions. It ruled that the advertisements had caused grave and widespread offence and should be permanently withdrawn from all media, including the advertiser’s website. After all, they had “provoked” a record 300 complaints.

Three hundred? Widespread? But some 20,000 people alone will be watching the camogie final on Sunday in Croke Park. And there are around six million people in Ireland – which basically means that 0.005% of people can decide what the rest of us want to see. We’re not talking about the tail wagging the dog here; we’re talking about a whisker whirling a shagging whale. No doubt, the ASAI can be soon expected to take exception to company-keeping and unchaperoned contact-dancing between members of the opposite sex aged under 40.

Now there are some serious grounds for criticising “Hunky Dory adverts, because they encourage young people to eat junk food, so end up looking like some corpulent walruses waddling to a weight-watchers anonymous meeting. Instead, they should resemble the models that the ASAI so vigorously disapproves of. We actually need to see more pictures of such young ladies, but perhaps with even less clothing, to remind us what a woman’s body can look like when it is not fed a diet of greasy snacks. Appreciation of the naked female form is an enjoyable part of western culture; and the taboo on the same subject reflects the unease of a tiny minority. But it is a tiny minority. Most people will see the advertisements just as the girls themselves probably see them: some good dirty fun in the worst possible taste.

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