Mary Winter in the Denver Post, in an otherwise nice take-down of the inequities in the treatment of and advertising for women’s and men’s sexual dysfunction:
Call me cynical, but when the voice-over says, “This is the age of taking action,” my bar is set just a bit higher. And not to go all feminist on anyone,but I find it interesting that the female version of Viagra — a product called Zestra — still can’t advertise on most television stations, apparently because erections lasting four hours are acceptable prime-time conversation, but allusions to female sexual desire are not.
You may have seen the story on ABC’s “Nightline” this fall: two female entrepreneurs in California developed a botanical-oil-based product that in clinical trials was 70 percent effective in enhancing women’s sexual satisfaction, according to Zestra’s makers.
Now, you would not know it from the $300-million annual ad campaign for erection-enhancing ads for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, but women suffer more sexual dysfunction than men do — 43 percent to 31 percent, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In other words, the potential market for flagging female libidos is huge. But here’s the irony: When the makers of Zestra went to 100 television networks and stations to buy ads, the vast majority refused them. The few stations that did take their money would run the ads only after midnight or during the daytime.
(U haz editorz at the Denver Post? Or is u now like the non-peer reviewed interwebz?)
Winter’s point is clearly and strongly a feminist argument–women’s sexual dysfunction is treated differently both medically and in television advertising. Yet, she distances herself from the political movement that made her analysis possible by writing, “[a]nd not to go all feminist on anyone, but. . . ” Can anyone imagine writing a column about (for example) racial injustice, prejudice against the disabled, or discrimination on the basis of sexual identity this way? “Not to go all Martin Luther King Jr. on everyone, but the rates at which black and Latino men are pulled over by local police are dramatically different in our town from the percentage of white male drivers.” “Of course I’m not one of those wheelchair terrorists, but now that I’m piloting a baby stroller I find that a lot of local businesses are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.” “I don’t really care who you love so long as you don’t flaunt it, but I can’t believe it’s still legal in most of the country to fire someone because she’s gay.”
No. It’s only feminism that can only be deployed by distancing oneself from those awful, monstrous, horrible, evil feminists. And this is how women’s history and the history of feminism is distorted, friends. Everyone agrees to forget that feminists ever did anything useful or beneficial for us, and we all pretend instead that feminists were just bitter, divisive, old, ugly, fat, hairy-legged, snaggle-toothed man-haters who focused on trivia like the definition of rape and sex-exclusive language like Congressman and mankind instead of advocating for things that were really important, like legal, social, and economic justice.