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Your Kink Is Not My Kinky metaphor for dangerous sexual behavior

June 6, 2010

Sucks to be Homo. Homo sapiens that is. Where the irrepressible desire to get one’s rocks off is often just so much fodder for the semiotics of othering.

Take the undeniable hotness of receiving couch cunnilingus from a four-foot fuzzed arachnid. No? Doesn’t do it for you?

A South American arachnid?

Ok. If like your arthropod sex a bit more vanilla, how about drilling a queen-sized scorpion missionary-prone on the rumpled sheets of the double-wide?

Oh, orgasm! Where is thy sting?

These posters were created as part of a 2004 French AIDS awareness campaign, and they’ve gotten a fair bit of play around the smutty & shocked-by-the-smutty webs since. I’ve gotta admit they are sort of hot, if fairly hetero-normative in imagination. But they’re also kind of a one-joke pony (no, I will not be exploring pony sex any further).

The meaning is immediate, once you realize the AIDS campaign context: Danger! & perhaps more subtly (against taxonomy) Bugs=Disease! And perhaps deconstructing this dead horse way too far (again with the horses!), Didn’t the HIV mutation make the jump due to inter-species copulation?

But I think what’s totally fascinating is how the ads leverage the implicit judgement against outlier sexuality. Ok, maybe I’m overstating it — after all an AIDS awareness campaign has a presumed goal of making sure fewer people die, which is A Good Thing. But the epidemiological education here is so muddled & fine-printed as to be almost meaningless. We know how to prevent HIV transmission, and it’s not by not having sex (yeah yeah, celibacy would significantly reduce risk, but get real) but by not having unprotected sex.

Note the dominant cultural context: Caucasian, wealthy, heterosexual. This is not a fluke. Ad execs get paid buckets to leave no subtleties of marketing demographics to chance, and this demographic is pretty damn low on the AIDS risk-table. So did they think “How do we get ’em to use condoms?” or did they think “How do we get ’em to make sure they only have sex with other low-risk, wealthy, heterosexual caucasians?”

Come to think of it, these actually are starting to creep me out. Maybe if you’re going to design zoophilic posters for an AIDS awareness campaign you should just leave the Homo sapiens out.

Definitely don't have sex with this rabbit.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Christy permalink
    June 9, 2010 9:05 pm

    brilliant. seriously!

  2. July 16, 2010 12:20 pm

    I don’t get it at all.
    “Without a condom you’re sleeping with AIDS.”

    What does that have to do with the spider going down on the girl? Or the guy doing the scorpion?

    If not using a condom is about danger, then wouldn’t it make sense for the tagline to be related to, “Without a condom, sex is deadly.”

    • July 16, 2010 2:24 pm

      Yeah, a pretty weak slogan, for sure. Maybe time for some re-purposing: “Jungle fever, just another term for AIDS” At least that puts the implicit racism out front. Plus, you know, lots of scorpions and spiders in the jungle.

      • July 16, 2010 3:43 pm

        You think it’s a black thing?

      • July 17, 2010 10:34 am

        You do understand! :)

        Actually, I think it’s more subtle. It’s about sex with something that isn’t white and wealthy.

      • July 17, 2010 2:03 pm

        Maybe in France they’re not wealthy, but in Indy, I frequently see invertebrates with pimped out rides and iced out entourages. How about you? Hectocotyli is from the invertebrate world.

        …though the high salinity content of your environment leads to premature corrosion, I s’ppose?

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