Target’s Big Ol’ Girl Bullseye

I’ve been mulling over this whole controversy over the Target ad showing a girl on a bullseye for several weeks, and I’m just not seeing the sexual exploitation thing other people are picking up on. Maybe she’s making a snow angel, like many people have suggested, or maybe she’s jumping in the air. But assuming the position for a big old sexing up? I’m just not seeing it.

I totally get and appreciate the importance of protecting people — and not just women or girls — from exploitation. No one deserves to be taken advantage of, and it’s up to all of us to protect those that can’t protect themselves. That’s all just part of being a community.

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Image courtesy of Bennett 4 Senate

For everyone that is in the dark about the Target ad controversy, here’s the deal: Target ran a series of print and billboard ads as part of its winter campaign that depict people performing outdoor wintery acts on the company’s logo (a target) instead of in the snow. Those acts included things like skating, hanging wreaths, and making snow angels.

The problem with the snow angel ad, according to watchdog blogs like AdRants and Shaping Youth, stems from the snow angel girl’s position on the target. Her hips, thighs, and crotch are clearly centered in the target’s bullseye. People that are offended by the image are crying foul because they see the girl’s placement as an intentional sexual reference, as something that denigrates women, and as a message that women are sex objects.

I have to disagree with the watchdoggers on this one. I see a young woman making a snow angel, and I think her positioning on the target was most likely chosen to balance the overall image. That’s it.

I remember my junior high and high school days when certain activist-ish groups wanted to tell me what I could and couldn’t read. They insisted that the Tarzan series shouldn’t be read or even available in libraries. Why? Because Tarzan and Jane were living in the same tree house and they weren’t married.

That’s a connection I wouldn’t have ever made, and it really bothered me when younger kids had that confused look because they didn’t get what the grown ups were all upset about. In the end, they were being exposed to concepts like premarital sex — and sex in general — years before they needed to be thinking beyond the adventures of Tarzan the Ape Man.

The other thing that bothered me was that these groups were looking for sexual references everywhere and in everything. You know, if you go looking for something hard enough and you really want to see it, you probably will… even if it’s not really there.

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