Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Literally Selling Sex in Advertising--A Porn Company Has Fashion Products Now

I learned the other day via people discussing it on Twitter that a porn company known as Brazzers (that link is not safe for work in any way, shape, or form) is selling expensive clothing. I have to say this feels like the inevitable climax (no pun intended) of a whole bunch of concepts in communications and media melding together. Let's take a step back so I can explain all this.

I took a large number of courses in the span of my undergraduate and graduate degrees that involved health, communications, sociology, and anthropology. They all would extensively discuss the media and advertising. One thing in advertising that is obvious regardless of if you have a bunch of book-learning or didn't even finish high school would be this: Sex sells. Whether you are selling the idea that buying a product will make a person seem sexy/desirable, will attract a partner, or that not purchasing something makes you lack in the sex-appeal department, a good deal of advertising is based upon playing our desire to be sexy. Hell, even just associating the pleasurable feelings of arousal with a random concept or thing is a big point of ads. This seems to especially apply in the realm of fashion.

When you are selling clothes/shoes/etc. you are literally selling sex. You are telling someone, "Wear this and you will be attractive." Almost any clothing is designed to appeal to the male gaze (sometimes the female gaze) or to encourage the women being advertised towards to themselves appeal to the male gaze (as much of advertising is still of course very heteronormative in design). In this era of an increasing digitization of sex as well one finds how things that used to be taboo are now literally just a keystroke away, and more and more individuals feel comfortable openly discussing their kinks and/or fetishes. One element of all this is also how pornography makes more and more money these days, because people like sex, and the internet makes getting dirty videos a lot easier than in the old days when people had to drive to an adult store or theater to gain access to X-rated materials.

Our world becomes even more money-and-power focused these days as we potentially reach late-stage capitalism now, when even our raunchy stuff is sometimes tailored to appeal to people desperately wanting to look wealthy. In other words, we've got sex, money, fashion all on everyone's mind, and we are all talking about it on the internet--because even if folk hate the 1% a lot of individuals maybe secretly wouldn't mind being in that demographic. Folk may say, "Eat the rich," but also wonder what it would be like if they could spend money as if there was no tomorrow and have sex like the night were endless...or something. This brings us to the porn company Brazzers and their $250 pair of shoes.

If you aren't aware of it (or just want to pretend you have never heard of the company to seem innocent), Brazzers is one of the biggest and most popular internet porn companies around, according to sites like Wikipedia and from the minimal tax info that can be gleamed from assorted sources. They get mainstream press sometimes for doing outlandish things like creating pornographic spoofs of popular mainstream movies (basically any super-hero flick has a Brazzers parody) along with adult parodies of video-game subjects. They have won all kinds of adult content awards and have millions of subscribers. They also now sell extremely pricey clothing.

In their official store (that link is safe for work) one can find $40 t-shirts with the Brazzers logo plus  $120 sweatpants and $130 sweatshirts that have cheeky little, "X-Rated," faux-rating symbols on them are for sale as well. Oh, and the $250 shoes I mentioned. This apparel isn't shy about its namesake either, as even the shoes are emblazoned with the Brazzers name, so that anyone wearing this stuff can proudly state, "I love sex/porn and expensive shit."

Selling fashion often means selling sex, and seeing as Brazzers literally sells sex it actually all makes perfect sense in some twisted logic. The only other occasion I can think of something vaguely like this occurring was when a now-defunct French clothing company got headlines over a decade ago for shooting short porn movies featuring its actors and actresses wearing their clothes briefly before disrobing in order to have sex. The company is long since out of business, but now here we are so maybe they were just ahead of their time/the world hadn't gotten weird enough yet. I'm not sure if Brazzers' gambit of selling pricey clothing is going to pay off, but they have enough capital from their main business (selling videos of people fucking) to for sure give it a try.

I may be knowledgeable about health and human sexuality thanks to my schoolin' and be heavily enmeshed in media-topics as a part of writing a popular-culture blog for 8 years now, but I have minimal fashion sense and the only brand-name stuff I wear I got on clearance. Therefore, while we all know that sex sells all kinds of products, who knows if sex itself can sell something...if that clumsy statement makes any lick of sense--I surely don't have the fashion-knowledge to tell you what will happen. Time will tell what success or failure Brazzers will have with this endeavor, but there is no doubt it seems like the logical conclusion of the intersection of sex and commercialism that a porn company starts selling expensive apparel. Once Victoria's Secret quits pussy-footing around and just starts selling hardcore videos of models in their underwear we'll know we truly have reached an apex in regards to all this.

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