Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mrs. Claus

Last night, I went to the local Christmas light show. Look at how Santa and Mrs. Claus are shown.

At first, I thought this seemed quite odd... however it appears to be not nearly as odd as I would have expected. I searched Mrs. Claus images expecting to find this:

But what I found was that more than half of the pictures looked more like this (and this was by far not the raciest image that showed up on the first page):

There was no such trend with Santa, as a search of his name showed only Tim Allen and this kind of figure:

So, christmas characters are not sexualized equally. Santa is an old man with a white beard that is shown half the time with a similarly aged woman with white hair, and the other half the time with a half dressed model young enough to be his granddaughter (and I don't mean because he lives forever). To make this even creepier, often this model is further infantalized wearing pig tails or, in this case, holding a lollipop that is often associated with very young children.

They do live in the North Pole, do they not? Is Mrs. Claus not allowed to wear warm clothing in that kind of environment, or is it so essential that women keep their bodies on display all the time that we ignore that part of this story. And stiletto heels are great for walking on ice and through deep snow. Very practical.


  1. I think this one is a gross overexaggeration. I did a search on Google Images and on the first 2 images are traditional Mrs Claus. The third image is a site selling lingerie. The next 2 images are again traditional. The 6th image is again a racy photo but it's from a blog site complaining about the sexualization of Mrs Claus as you did. Image #7 is an arts and crafts project featuring Mrs Claus. #8 includes a racy photo but is part of a photoshop contest. The next dozen images are about 80% traditional and 20% racy. But again, there are a few blogs in there complaining about the sexualization of Mrs Claus and more lingerie related costumes being sold. So in the context of using sexual images to depict Mrs Claus in a Google search is misleading. However, I would like to point out that Macey's has a commercial on TV with a scantily clad woman presumably representing Mrs Claus. This is not to say that your argument is unfounded, I find it needs to be focused in the right direction and towards the right context. And in marketing terms is it really Christmas that is being sexualized or are they just taking the old formula of sex sells and putting a Santa hat on it? Don't they do the same thing at Halloween? I think marketers tend to stick to a formula that works and then dress it up according to the season or holiday. Does it make it right? I don't think so. Is it sacrilege? Well that depends who you ask. Does it cheapen Christmas? Not half as much as materialism does!!

  2. I agree that it isn't just christmas, I just used it as an example of this trend. But if it was as simple as sex sells, we would see men sexualized as often as women, or even non-heteronormative forms of sexuality being represented more often. The problem is that a particular kind of sex sells... and that particular kind is women (who are barely old enough to be referred to as women) conforming to hegemonic standards of beauty.

    To sell to men, include an attractive half naked woman. To sell to women, include an attractive and slightly-more-clothed-but-still-provocatively-dressed woman.