Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Denmark, Kingdom of the Slutty Blonde Sex Valkyries

Tourism authorities in Denmark have pulled an ad they had previously posted on YouTube because citizens complained that it implies that Danish women are ready and willing to have casual sex with tomcatting male tourists.

A few takeaways:

1.)The ad does more than "imply" the message in question - it pretty much flatly states it.

2.)It's obvious that despite their (somewhat deserved) reputation for irreligiosity, sexual liberation, and lax social mores, Danes don't enjoy being stereotyped as libertines or having their women marketed as disposable sex toys. Even in the most liberal corners of the world, social conservatism lives - after all, only 10% of Danish children are born out of wedlock, as opposed to something close to 40% in the U.S.

3.)There's an interesting double standard at work here, I think. This ad seems to have come under attack most from social conservatives in the U.S. (Fox News is all over it), whereas the most common liberal response I've seen is to laugh it off. If a poor country with a reputation as a destination for sex tourism - say, Thailand or the Philippines - attempted to market itself with a similar video implying its women were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to service foreign tourists, I suspect the liberal response would be very different. Sure, one can argue that because Danish women are comparatively much wealthier than Thai or Filipina women, they aren't as vulnerable to sexual or economic exploitation, and this is true in the sense that it's probable that very few Danish women are forced into actual prostitution by dire economic circumstances. But for those Danish women who don't wish to engage in promiscuous casual sex with random foreigners (of whom there are apparently many), is it really any comfort to know that they won't have to actually have sex with any of the American fratboys, English stag-doers, or other horny, obnoxious foreign men this ad attracts? Their sexuality is still being sold for money against their will. Sexual exploitation is sexual exploitation, full stop. There are only degrees of difference.

4.)There are some people working at this particular Danish tourism agency who should probably be in another line of work. Producing porn trailers, perhaps.

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