The video: An ad for Zestra, an "arousal oil" meant to enhance female sexual interest, claims that women are "starting to talk about something they’ve been feeling for a long time." (Watch below.) But the company is having a hard time getting anyone to listen. Though Viagra advertising is ubiquitous, many networks are refusing to air the Zestra spot, or dumping it in late-night or early-morning time slots, and the chief executive behind Zestra is alleging sexism: "The Cialises of the world are a perfectly acceptable part of conversation in our culture today," Rachel Braun Scherl told The New York Times, "but when it comes to talking about the realities of women’s lives, like menstruation, you always have some woman running in the field in a dress."
The reaction: Given that the ad is "remarkably tame," says Molly Jane Knefel at The Faster Times, particularly compared to ads for male-enhancement drugs, this brouhaha implies that "female sexual satisfaction is so dirty it can only come out during the phone-sex and psychic-hotline time slot." But Zestra is not analgous to erectile-dysfunction drugs, says Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon, since it doesn't treat an actual medical dysfunction. In the end, this is less about sexism and more a sign of "cultural discomfort with non-medicalized sexual issues." Watch the ad:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- How Hillary Clinton's 'smart power' turned Libya into a dumpster fire
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
Subscribe to the Week