Friday, May 7, 2010

Below the Belt

Among other things, Buenos Aires is surely the lingerie capital of the world. Walking down Avenida Santa Fe, I'm sure to find at least one lencería per block, sometimes more. The majority have the same basic layout—two display windows exhibiting their selection, with a passageway in between that leads to a small intimate shop—and in every lencería I pass by I'll almost always see a couple customers on the other end of the passageway, or a woman stopped to peruse the offering at one of the two display windows. Clearly, there is a lot of demand for lingerie here.

If, for some reason, you can't make out the duo display window floor plan too well—say, you're on a bus—then at the very least you can't miss the large billboards of beautiful women reposing in lingerie that sometimes hang above the shops:

Seeing these billboards, I can't help but feel that they're exploiting my natural instincts. I find myself feeling just a little more carnal, slightly more lustful. It becomes more difficult to not think of women as objects, or to control all the other thoughts I know I should control, not only because they're undignified but also because they're irresponsible. For some unfortunate evolutionary reason, we men ended up physically stronger—and like all power, that extra strength demands extra care and caution in how we think. This marketing, however, isn't helping: it's a punch below the belt, in more ways than one.

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