First up is the W Magazine supposed S&M spread modeled by a very buff Bruce Willis and his new bride Emma Heming. Shocking and graphic and daring oh my! The fact that Bruce models gloves from an actual medical sex toy website is supposed to make this photo spread authenticly kinky? And what exactly is authentic about an Alexander McQueen fox fur jacket and leather harness, which are only available to order from the designer? If this was sex porn instead of sales porn, we wouldn't be distracted from the sex by the stated fact that "Mrs. Willis shakes up the city with Chanel Long-Lasting Soft Matte Makeup in Soft Bisque." Not that you can see it under the fur helmet:
Dear Mister Willis: You dressed Chris Tucker in your vehicle 'The Fifth Element' in sexier clothes (via Jean Paul Gautier) than you do your new wife in W. Here's proof:
Love that dress--always have--always will.
But this whole bs "shocking" sexual images in advertising thing has got to stop. Because whenever sex is used to sell something, even sex, it's not shocking, it's boring. Terribly terribly boring. That's why the coral suited lady newscasters on CBS Morning can cover it, do "on the street interviews," re the "shocking" Threesome Calvin Klein ad in Soho.
It's boring because it's commerce rather than carnality, which means it is expressly designed for the public space and public sphere, something that is the opposite of illicit sex. If someone gets sexually excited by doing something illicit, shocking, and unacceptable to polite society, they will NOT do that thing on a five foot high billboard. That ruins the fun. We are not seeing Bruce and Emma's private honeymoon photos in W. That's perhaps the fantasy they were going for, but really. Who packs Fox fur? (Don't answer that. Furries can go with God and all that, but sex with animals is not what He in His Divine Wisdom had in mind. Nevermind Nevada Senators, don't get me started about those poor horses.)
But if Bruce and Emma are actually exhibitionists, this would still not be the result. Face it, to slake their thirst for real exhibitionism, they would have 'leaked' actual honeymoon sex video to some sleazy celebrity scandal website (no link but you know the one, dahlink) and the lighting would have been terrible and Alexander McQueen would have asked for his made-to-order harness back. Instead we have a "spread" designed to create [blog] buzz for a printed magazine, and look, it succeeded.
All of this reminds me of a wonderful New York Times review, entitled "The Empress has No Clothes," (good writing and germane to my argument; go read the whole thing) for that "Sex" book Madonna came out with several years ago. I never forgot the tagline Caryn James came up with for the book:
"No sex please, we're posing."