It first distinguishes between them, and then presents the themes, characteristics, and underlying values of soft-core pornography known as the "women's romance. Last, it discusses the implications of different pornographies in three areas: Some researchers say that the prevalence of this imagery reflects the importance of sexuality as an essential consumption element -- a bonding agent between consumer and product Dichter The abundance and ubiquity of sexual imagery has been castigated at best as "Sex-cess in Advertising" Pollay , and at worst as commercial pornography McLuhan ; Miller ; Prewitt However, while all pornography defined below contains sexual imagery, not all sexual imagery is pornographic.
The concept of consumer "lovemaps" -the "patterned acquired tastes that delineate an individual's erotic fantasies and corresponding practices" Gould -- suggests the role gender differences play in what is experienced as sexually arousing. Thus two inter-related questions about sexuality, pornography, and consumption are of interest to researchers, one concerning text the advertisement , and the second concerning reader response to text the consumer.
The first question is, what is the distinction between pornography and other sexual imagery? The second is, what is the distinction between what men and women consider sexually arousing stimuli?
The purpose of this paper is to address these questions. It presents the feminist concept of "two pornographies, one for men, one for women" Snitow , p. The paper will first distinguish between the two pornographies, and then present the themes, characteristics, and underlying values of soft-core pornography known as the "women's romance.
Last, it will discuss implications of the two pornographies for consumer research in three areas: Most of the sex-related research up to the s was based on assumptions of male norms, implicitly held applicable to females as well. Feminist scholarship has questioned these assumptions.
Its major contributions to cultural self-awareness have been the identification of a "masculinist" bias and the discovery of a female culture coexisting with- the predominant male one in patriarchal societies. Since the most fundamental distinction between the two cultures is based on sex, feminist scholars often begin by hypothesizing differences between men and women in relation to words, images, and ideas related to sexuality.
Feminist scholarship is thus an additional but under-utilized resource available to consumer researchers bent on understanding the still-relevant question, "Why does sex sell? Since sexually-oriented appeals are unlikely to disappear, more accurate knowledge of what pornography is and is not as well as what sexual imagery appeals more to women than to men may encourage creation of advertisements that are more socially responsible and more effective.
Distinction Between Pornography Erotica Both pornography and erotica are terms categorizing literary texts whose goal is sexual arousal Sontag Yet the etymological roots of the terms reflect differences: Erotica, in contrast, comes from the Greek eros, meaning passionate love Steinem The denotative concept of sensual awakening connotes mutual rewards for equal partners in a love relationship.
Pornography is thus rooted in the concept of domination of women, and is often associated with sadomasochistic violence, in that the participants in the exchange are either male conquerors sadists or female victims masochists.
The literature sends messages of male aggression and superiority, for standard themes are misogyny, mistreatment of women as objects, and sex as a weapon. Nearly all pornography is written, sold, and bought by men Morgan , for, like rape, its aim is power through sexual humiliation rather than mutual erotic satisfaction Brownmiller Some critics feel that the main subject of pornography is pain leading to death Sontag Erotica, on the other hand, is the literature of pleasure Steinem True pornography is said to "serve as aversion therapy for sex" for most women Steinem , p.
Feminists point out that what arouses women is different from what arouses men, a distinction that has led to the concept of "two pornographics" Snitow One is "hard-core," more likely to arouse men sexually, and the other is "soft-core," more appealing to women. Erotica has been defined as synonymous with- soft-core pornography since , when the term first appeared in the journal Lancet Oxford English Dictionary , italics mine: A distinction could be drawn between erotic art or soft pornography and hard pornography, which by connecting sex with violence, hatred, pain, and humiliation, stimulated gratification of sexual desire in deviant ways.
Discussion of male-oriented hard-core pornography lies beyond the scope of this paper see Prewitt , and we now turn to closer examination of romances as pornography for women. The genre includes many species variously called gothics, historical romances, soap operas, and erotic romances Ellis Its ancestry is traceable to Greek romances, and it bears remnants of medieval Arthurian tales and post-eighteenth century popular gothic novels.
Unlike hard-core pornography, soft-core literature has traditionally been written by and for women. It describes sexual activities in veiled rather than overt terms: In a word, soft-core women's pornography presents foreplay, whereas male pornography describes penetration. The reason that romances stop after foreplay is that they have but one major theme: Romances end with marriage -- "they lived happily ever after" -- a goal attainable only if the heroine retains her chastity.
They are an unusual literary genre in that they are told from the woman's point of view, with a woman as the major protagonist Cawelti The heroine occupies center stage in a love relationship, for in this literature, the male is the inscrutable "other" De Beauvoir ; Stern Romances characteristically feature a lonely heroine, emotionally and often physically isolated, who tries to keep her virginity intact under pressure from a sporadically available but nonetheless powerful male.
The gulf between the sexes is widened by this romanticized sexuality, for women's pleasure derives from the excitement of waiting to unravel the male mystery: The Freudian question "what do women want?
But male-female communication is less a concern than sexual fantasizing. Because romances rarely depict sexual activities below the waist -- they are popularly called "bodice-rippers" -- they do not present mature sexual relationships. Since the only adventure open to women is the hunt for marriage, romances fantasize the early stages of love. Once the woman gets her man, this particular story is over.
Romance literature, then, is the literature of courtship rather than of consummation, for "sex means marriage, and marriage, promised at the end, means, finally, there can be sex" Snitow , p.
Romance themes Coles and Shamp can be summarized as follows: Despite the societal changes in the past generation, traditionally feminine values seem to be coexisting with newer liberated ones.
In this context, romances may function as repositories of fantasy as well as descriptions of reality, fulfilling the dual literary mission of defining sexuality while at the same time reflecting it.
Advertising, like literature Light , plays a part in constructing sexual ideology and in defining the multiplicity of "femininities" that come to be lived, and its articulation of romance themes in s terms indicates a pervasive media influence.
Analysis of A Romance Advertisement: It is used as an exemplar here for two reasons. Second, it provides enough rich verbal and visual detail to enable close analysis of the romance themes that define the nature of this image. The date of the ad suggests a link to popular romance themes, for was the start of the postwar decade most closely associated with "the feminine mystique" Friedan and the full development of modern romanticized sexuality.
This mystique is rooted in post-war optimism and prosperity Light In the environment of abundance, women's "place" was once again the home Welter , for sexual and social fulfillment were circumscribed within the confines of marriage Light A contemporary survey by Dichter points to the centrality of marriage in terms of the mystique Friedan , p. The modern bride is deeply convinced of the unique value of married love, of the possibilities of finding real happiness in marriage and of fulfilling her personal destiny in it and through it The Two Protagonists The ad's romance themes cluster around four characters.
Three are realistic -- the hero, the heroine protagonists , and the doctor see next section -- and one is symbolic -- the Prell figure see below. The first theme, the glorification of courtship, introduces the protagonists and the product message. The ad is about the heroine's entry into the marriage mart, and the product's benefit is to make her a winning player. The realistic level concerns the heroine's activity in the business of getting a man, step one on the road to domesticity.
She is the center of male attention, winning admiration for her beautiful hair. Long shiny hair as a sexual lure links this text to folk-lore antecedents -- fairy-tales such as Rapunzel, Biblical tales such as Samson and Delilah, and modern variants such as the musical Hair.
The respective size and placement of the main characters heroine and hero illustrate their importance in the romance world: Interestingly, the heroine's hair ha bangs obscures the hero partially. He is on a line with the conversation bubble below her fan, and seems to be emerging from the top of her head as a continuation of the unspoken thoughts signified by the bubble.
The alignment of these thoughts, the heroine, and the hero on a diagonal suggests that his identity springs from her imagination. The heroine is thus the major character, with the hero off to one side, perhaps more imaginary than real. Colors and clothing provide an important clue to the hero and heroine in romance, for this is a genre in which the characters are unidimensional and simplistic -- they are what they wear.
The ad's hero is a generic "everyman," present only as an image of a future husband. He could be any available man, for he is a depersonalized character whose hair and dress -- brown-haired, clean-shaven, well-groomed, wearing a tuxedo -- describe anonymity. Brown is the commonest hair color in the United States, and a tuxedo resembles a uniform in that it masks distinctions among wearers.
However, since tuxedos are commonly associated with wedding attire, the uniform also indicates that the hero matters less as an individual than as husband-fodder. The Case for Chastity: The Virgin Heroine Colors and clothing also provide insight into the more complex and ambiguous nature of the virgin heroine.
She embodies the second theme -the ideal of virginity. This ideal equates a woman's value in the marriage market with the cardinal virtue of chastity. Romances present women who are determined to preserve their virginity for their husbands, since non-virgins are considered, in marketplace terms, "used goods.
However, her sexuality is ambivalent, since she must simultaneously project virtue at the same time as sufficient sexual availability to make her interesting to prospective mates. Her black glove, most notably, is a sign of sexual experience, yet its color is what connects her visually with the hero's wedding attire - his black tuxedo and tie. Her ambiguity is further complicated by the colors of her garments -- pink and blue -- hinting at baby innocence.
Moreover, each garment has some white in its pattern, suggesting bridal innocence as well, for brides wear white in this culture as a symbol of purity. Thus the heroine reveals innocence as well as provocativeness, holding out the promise of an end to virginity, if it is preceded by matrimony.
A Character From Ritual to Romance In the smaller picture, a secondary male character occupies a pivotal role: His presence is noteworthy, for he is the link between the third theme -- marriage as success -- and the underlying mythic level first identified by Weston as the foundation of modern romances , repr. These mythic associations have been familiar since Eliot's The Waste Land popularized arcane folk matter for modern audiences.
The doctor is a descendant of the "Medicine Man" in fertility rituals, a stock character whose function was to restore to life the wounded representative of a vegetation deity. By the time of the Arthurian romances, the Medicine Man had taken on elements of the Redeemer, for his original pagan task of healing the body had metamorphosed into the priestlike Christian mission of healing the soul.
The ad retains echoes of the doctor's dual function as both healer and priest. In the first role, he is a scientific authority schooled in medicinal remedies to cure physical ailments. As such, he provides the data that convinces the heroine of the shampoo's benefits -- "Doctors' examinations proved" Prell's ability to remove dandruff. But in his second and more important role, the doctor does more than simply describe or prescribe a remedy: