Anti-Science

Puritans vs. Pigs

In a recent television spot for Trojan, a woman at a bar is surrounded by (literal) pigs. One pig lumbers over to the bathroom and procures a prophylactic, at which point he is magically transformed into a young (human) hottie. He walks back to the bar and picks up the woman, and viewers are left with the tagline, “Evolve. Use a condom every time.” Fox and CBS both decided that this commercial was inappropriate for their airwaves. Can you guess why?

If you’re scientifically literate, your answer may be, “Because the spot misrepresents evolution as a magical event that occurs quickly, and implies that a pig can immediately evolve into a human.” Smart, but wrong.

If you’re in advertising, you may think, “Because pigs are an obvious metaphor that’s been done to death, and plus you’re going to get letters from the evolutionary biologists upset over the misuse of scientific terminology.” All true, but no.

No, the networks have rejected Trojan because they believe that condoms should only be sold based upon their ability to prevent the transmission of disease, and not on their ability to prevent the transmission of sperm. You see, preventing God’s Milky Army of Procreation from reaching the Hallowed Ovum of Mother Mary is just too damned controversial for those networks to deal with. Instead, they’ll sell that ad space to the guys selling the pill that’s supposed to give you a gigantic wang that you can use to screw chicks and intimidate male rivals. You know, the commercials with the creepy Bob-guy with the big grin on his face? The big grin that says “I’ve got a gigantic wang and I know how to use it?” Yeah, that’s the one. Those are okay. Safe sex? Not okay. Well, not unless you specifically point out that the condoms are to be used only for stopping STDs.

Enjoy all the hypocrisy fit to print here.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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28 Comments

  1. OK, I read this three times now. I'm not a US-citizen and I'm genuinely confused.

    Am I to believe they pulled that commercial because condoms were presented as a contraceptive?

    I'm trying to find a logical reason for that.

    I tried.

    Didn't find one.

  2. @Brum:

    I thought it was pretty clear: Many religious people in the U.S. (and other predominantly Catholic areas of the world, particularly South America) believe that the prevention of pregnancy is a cardinal sin. Therefore advertising that a product is capable of reducing the likelihood of pregnancy is offensive to them.

  3. And don't forget! If you say, "Uh, that's just you. You don't have a right to push your beliefs on the public," then you're accused of being a mean atheist who wants to stomp all over the rights of the religious to legislate based on their church doctrine. It's in the constitution somewhere, right next to the part where it says that torture is awesome and habeas corpus is for chumps.

  4. I'm just not sure that this pig commercial constitutes an example of condoms preventing pregnancy. Pigs are typically thought of as "dirty" animals, and "dirty" is often equated tp "diseased" in public parlance (hence its antonym "clean" being used in personal ads to signify having no STDs). A pig becoming a man via a condom, to me, seems to work as a metaphor for essentially becoming "safe" for sex via the use of a condom, regardless of how "dirty" you are before.

    Of course, the other possibility is that I'm reading way too much into it.

    Really, I'm just tired of religiously-influenced, "moral" people telling me how to use my wang. Is that so wrong?

  5. I don't watch these channels much anymore, but I recall a show FOX had tried out a couple of years ago that was SO soft porn I was surprised – steamy sex scenes.

    “It’s so hypocritical for any network in this culture to go all puritanical on the subject of condom use when their programming is so salacious,” said Mark Crispin Miller, a media critic who teaches at New York University. “I mean, let’s get real here. Fox and CBS and all of them are in the business of nonstop soft porn, but God forbid we should use a condom in the pursuit of sexual pleasure.”

    Bob and the Viagra, etc. commercials creep me out. Oh, the one with all the husbands jumping up and down outside their houses – I can imagine a bunch of wives saying "Get the hell away from me."

    Expatria: Really, I’m just tired of religiously-influenced, “moral” people telling me how to use my wang. Is that so wrong?

    Especially when many of them turn out to be the most sexually deviant.

  6. skepticnurse wins the thread for the Python video…I only wish I'd thought of it first.

    I also regret not being able to find a clip of the very next segment from Meaning of Life, as it's all about how the main benefit of being Protestant is being able to purchase condoms, french ticklers, et al.

  7. "I thought it was pretty clear: Many religious people in the U.S. (and other predominantly Catholic areas of the world, particularly South America) believe that the prevention of pregnancy is a cardinal sin. Therefore advertising that a product is capable of reducing the likelihood of pregnancy is offensive to them."

    Yep, that about covers it. The dirty slut in the commercial was having sex for FUN. God forbid! (Literally) I think a lot of people in this country are resentful that us wimmenfolk aren't constantly barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen anymore.

  8. It's doubly insane because the Catholic (batshit insane) Church claims that condoms _don't_ protect against AIDS. I could understand it if the objection was that the advert promoted casual pick-up sex (understand, not agree), but this is ridiculous.

  9. Well, I certainly know some people who think of pregnancy as a communicable disease, so maybe they should have tried to sell the commercial THAT way!

    It's funny, but the first thing that came to mind when I saw the commercial was that using a condom was not, in fact, consistent with the desire to "evolve." Seems almost ANTI-evolutionary for the responsible, condom-wearing guys NOT to be reproducing, while the irresponsible guys ARE.

  10. I don't know what you guys are talking about, I am all for the banning of 30-second psychological trick-filled invasive attempts to make us give rich people our money for shit.

    *sigh* one down, 250 million to go…

  11. The difference between the condom commercial, and the Viagra(tm) commercial is that in the Viagra(tm) commercial, the men are all married, and having sex with their wives.

    Yeah, right!

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