Friday 22 December 2017

On Poundland's Pathetic Edgelording

1. Ho, ho, ho. You've got to larf, haven't you? Because if you don't you're po-faced, humourless, PC, SJW, and have a broom up your arse. Well actually, no, you don't have to laugh. Poundland's marketing stunt is crass, stupid, sexist, and cynical, designed entirely to kick up a Twitter storm as the media winds down for Christmas and can't be arsed to put much out beyond rewritten press releases.

2. "But oh, it's just a bit of fun" intone supporters of Poundland's edgelording. "They're just dolls", they cry. The fact one of them is a male doll, while the other is female and wearing a feminist top is entirely coincidental. There is no message there at all. I wonder how our fans of cheeky banter would have felt if it was a baby doll getting tea bagged. Or, even better, an elf festooned with EU regalia planting his bag on another dressed up in a Union Jack suit? I'm sure we'd hear no end of it. These people know well then how jokey imagery can convey a message. But because it's a female doll (and a feminist) on the receiving end, they play the stupid and pretend naivete. Their aggressive attacks on anyone who objects goes to show they really know what's going on.

3. In popular culture, teabagging is inseparable from power play. In sex/porn, it's about a dominant male asserting themselves over a prostrate and/or supplicant partner. This dominance is replicated in its use outside of sexual encounters in video gaming. In multiplayer first person shooters, having players crouch over the fallen digital corpses of their adversaries is not uncommon. Here the domination is explicit: I killed you so I can use and defile your body in any way I please. Though, of course, it's all in the name of bantz.

4. What the bloody hell were Poundland thinking when they nodded this atrocity through? Understandably, Twinings took exception to their product being advertised this way and insisted on its removal. The image above is the redacted version Poundland have elected to keep on their feed, no doubt in "defiance" of everyone who objected. But look at other entries in their current campaign, easily stuff the unlamented Nuts and Zoo would have considered too tacky to run. This still begs the question why. Poundland's customer base is not young men with underdeveloped senses of humour. They are, as a general rule, people on tight budgets and as per most grocery shoppers, they tend to be women. Is risking alienating your core consumers worth it for a few hundred retweets and an ignominious spot on the losing side of the culture wars?

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