Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Watchmen Condom "Sexist?"

Concerning the Watchmen movie giveaway condom, Annalee at the Bitch blog writes:

"While most blogs seem to be talking about this clash between the ideals of the comic series and the commercialism of this promotional item, I was first struck by the overt connection being made between sex and comics. The idea of the "fan boy" has been a topic that I have personally been really interested in lately, so seeing this opportunity for guys to essentially have sex and think of themselves as a superhero* is especially intriguing.

Some may think that a feminist discussion surrounding this condom is a little played out, since the idea that comic books are frequently a boy's club isn't exactly groundbreaking (neither is the notion of men being protectors). However, this does seem especially interesting, right?"

However, Ned at Manolith puts it all in perspective:
"Like most of America, I have a boner for the new Watchmen movie. Yup. I am so excited to see it, I have a boner."
Is there anything sexist about this promotional Watchmen condom? Is a certain gender being discriminated against? Is there a statement being made?

Or is it just that this blue Dr. Manhattan condom sufficiently deals with the massive fan boner?

(of course, women can't have boners, typically. so where does that leave them in this equation?)

(I'm all about giving away free condoms, btw. They are expensive. Though I have my doubts about that blue one.)


  1. I don't think this in particular is sexist - it's simply the most easily produced and widely distributed contraceptive, and pretty funny. I know about the same amount of girls who carry them as boys, and culturally we just don't use vaginal barriers as much. So if they were going to produce one kind, this would be the logical choice.

  2. I'm speechless that this promo could somehow be construed as "sexist." Under what definition? Help me out here, because, a general rule, don't men and women both benefit equally from condoms?

  3. That's not sexist at all. Condoms should be used by everyone. From my experience, women tend to carry condoms around more than men. Even if you were to approach this from another angle, per se, a condom can easily be turned into a dental dam with a simple slice. In my opinion safe sex practices trumps any potential sexist problems.

  4. Condoms aren't sexist. They can be used by both men and women (in various couplings) for a number of purposes. It is, however, a pretty creepy promotion. Especially when you consider that Dr. Manhattan is the one who is shown as becoming so detached he's losing his sexuality. It could be worse. It could be a Silk Spectre morning after pill.

  5. From my experience and observation it's very common for women to buy condoms. I've seen more women in my lifetime buy condoms than men. It's like picking up groceries.

    I think maybe the blogger I quoted felt that -- like buttons, T-shirts, and hats -- the promo-condom was meant to be worn as a sign of support for the movie -- leaving female fans out in the cold. Perhaps next time: keychains.

  6. Wait, what?

    (Completely at a loss here.)

  7. I don't know about sexist, but I think it's a strange piece of merchandise.

  8. Next on the OS:
    "are morning-after pills sexist?"

  9. Personally I'm more interested in whether the condom tastes like you're licking a battery...

  10. I sold sex toys for three years. Trust me, condoms are equally useful for lads and lassies, regardless of sexual orientation. Even lesbian couples have been known to apply condoms to their accessories, if only to avoid irritation from cleaning products (or just one more regular chore by cleaning them at all.)

  11. Sexist? No.

    In poor taste or just stupid? Most definitely.

    And, Val... "are morning-after pills sexist?" ...just too damn funny.

  12. Anonymous5:39 PM

    At least this is more age appropriate marketing.

  13. Lets not forget, that for it to be sexist, it would have to be gratuitously targeted towards men.

    In this case it grows (hee hee) the brand, because, like it or not a huge (hey o!) Icon of the Watchmen comic is Manhattan's Big Blue Dong.

    When i first heard about this in Gawker, with the headline about you being able to have genitals like the Doc, I actually thought it was blue body paint for your penis and testicles.

  14. Anonymous6:28 PM

    I don't see anything wrong with this.... this GENIUS promo. This is just a sly way of bring up the amazingly dense "condoms are sexist" argument.

    And if this is also symbolic for "we know you have a boner for Watchmen".... then I salute the marketing team, for they are men and women of staggering brilliance.

  15. I don't want to live in a world where someone is going to use one of these and "think of themselves as a superhero".

  16. If this thing doesn't glow in the dark, it's sexist.

  17. "Sexist" is another of those words whose original meaning has strayed far from specificity and retains only the notions of "bad" and "related to gender differences." In its modern context (i.e., mostly in knee-jerk reactions found around the internet), it refers only to "something related to differences in gender that I disapprove of." As random items go, a condom is about as "related to differences in gender" as any you'll find, and there's plenty to disapprove of in all this Watchmen ephemera targeted at the lowest common denominator.

    So sure — why not? It's as sexist as anything else carrying that label around the internet.

    I do raise my eyebrows a bit at Schafranek's notion that the blue condom is more of a role-playing device than a promotional tool. Given the proliferation of branded condoms to promote almost everything in the name of a juvenile snicker, I think this item bears more relation to a USB drive or coffee mug with a company logo on it than an action figure or costume. Yes, the condom is blue, but note that it's marketed (as far as we can tell) as a Watchmen condom rather than a Doctor Manhattan condom. It could certainly be used in some form of role play (be it literal or less so), but I think assuming that's the intent of the condom is a bit of a stretch for the sake of the argument.

    And anyone looking to identify with figures of traditional super-heroic male power fantasies could do a lot better than identifying with Jon Osterman, who bears only the most superficial resemblance to such power figures. For my money, anyone drawing psychological reinforcement of that type from this item is barking up the wrong tree and would be better served by purchasing some Superman Underoos.

  18. I don't even see how that could be sexist... I really don't get that one. Maybe I should go read that other blog looking for that spark of insight or something.

    A friend used to have a leprechaun condom for jokes and grins, Hows this any different?

  19. Anonymous9:50 PM

    "I don't want to live in a world where someone is going to use one of these and "think of themselves as a superhero"."

    Too late.

    If there are fans, someone out there think it's real.

  20. I think if anything it's too presumptuous that comic geeks actually get any...

    Unless you count those private moments with old issues of She-Hulk where she always ends up naked, but we won't go there. :P

  21. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Ahhh, there'll be a load of nerd-boys who, years from now, finally manage to get a girl 'to that point' and then have to decide whether to keep their Watchment Collector's Item or have sex...

  22. Uhhh...

    I think Annalee is more upset about not being able to pop a boner for the movie, which is where the sexist part of the equation is coming from. I don't see this as sexist at all, would it make it better if they released a blue vibrator to accommodate the lady fans of the movie? Then that would probably be construed as sexist as well in her mixed up mind.

  23. Looking at those last comments, one of the things I'm starting to wonder is "Why do comic book fans insist on continuing the stereotype that comic book fans can't get laid?"

    Given the more mainsteam acceptence of comic books, as well as the increased number of female fans, isn't it time we started acknowledge that we've got about the same wank to whoopie ratio as the rest of the world?

  24. I never insinuate that comic book fans can't get laid, I'm living proof as well as my comic book reading friends that the stereotype isn't true. So I'm not sure where you got that from my comment.

    All I was trying to say is that Annalee seemed delusional in her interpretation about the promo condom.

  25. "Looking at those last comments, one of the things I'm starting to wonder is "Why do comic book fans insist on continuing the stereotype that comic book fans can't get laid?"
    Have you seen a comic con? I would say they is more truth to the joke then you think.

    "I'm living proof as well as my comic book reading friends that the stereotype isn't true." Yah sure... we all are amIright?

  26. Nah I don't think is sexist. Is probably one of the easier ways to promote more safe sex to a large number of people, after all huge numbers go to see the movie, and most people who will see Watchmen will be, probably of consensual age and many will be sexually active.
    So I actually think is a good idea.

  27. answer: no

    because... if a condom is sexist, then so is a dental dam.

    suggestion for next topic: sandwiches - "sexist"?

    i think, in order to funnel people towards a blog post, i will now title everything "is this sexist?". picture of cat, is this sexist? sketch of batman, sexist?

  28. i am with the writer that said condoms are for men and women it would be sexist if they were only giving them out to men. and realistically you know no fanboy or girl is gonna use it they will just save it.