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Bed, Bitch & Beyond: I Do Not Scream For Viagra Ice Cream

This past week the London Paper brings us news of the September unveiling of a fancy (and expensive) new "Sex Pistol" ice cream cocktail at Selfridge's. Loaded with additives like guarana and argenine, it's billed as "claiming to have similar effect to the libido-boosting drug Viagra." Normally, I don't think you can ever go wrong with ice cream, but reading about this made me roll my eyes so hard I thought they'd get stuck to the underside of my skull. Viagra ice cream? Bitch, please. I am so OVER Viagra.

Whole books can--and have--been written about the social impact of Viagra. It's a useful, important drug for many men and their partners, but it's probably the single most cheaply exploited name in marketing. "Viagra" is a guaranteed attention-getter, and is deployed constantly in promotional campaigns for every fucking thing. In the past few years I've seen ads for "Viagra espresso", "Viagra cologne", "musical Viagra" (reggaeton, in case you were wondering), "nationally televised Viagra" (Latin dance competitions) and "shoes that work like Viagra" (fuck me pumps, naturally)."Viagra"'s become shorthand for anything sexy, lively, attention-getting---because, of course, an erect penis is the be-all and end-all of a Good Time.

This marketing ploy has so saturated our media culture that it's practically assumed these days that if the Good Times are rolling, there must be Viagra, particularly if you're over 40. A few months back, I wrote on my own blog about my experience dating a man almost 20 years older than me. We got a lot of nudges and winks, but the thing that incensed me the most were the Viagra jokes. Even when they weren't meant to offend, they did. The "humor" was always 100% misogynist or ageist or both. LOL! I bet his dick has gone soft with age! LOL! I bet he's just with her for the sex! LOL! I bet she wears him out! A doctor friend even slipped him some Cialis--the 36-hour pill--and told him, "Show her a good time!" My boyfriend--who had no problem maintaining an erection, thank you very much--was mortified. I flushed them down the toilet, thus probably giving little 36 hour boners to fish in the East River.

A later boyfriend, in his 30s, did need Viagra, since he took anti-depressants that affected erectile response. Once you've been with someone who takes Viagra, the signs are hard to miss--the flushed face and chest, the perma-rection that springs up at the merest brush of the hand, so weirdly reminiscent of high school sofa-fumblings. I was grateful for Viagra; it meant he didn't have to choose between sex or anti-depressants. It was a just a drug, and one that did its job. It was NOT the sexy, crazy aphrodisiac all this "viva Viagra!" marketing trumpets. Once again, we're held hostage to our media culture's need to equate every good thing--even gourmet ice cream--with a hard dick.

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Comments

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...Damn them for the viva

...Damn them for the viva viagra. I used to enjoy 'Viva Las Vegas.' It was one of the few Elvis songs I really enjoyed. But no, they had to ruin it.

Also, I would've punched the doctor who gave the guy a pill. Friend or not.

Not only does this whole

Not only does this whole Viagra thing offend and annoy-it assumes that the whole arousal problem lies with men. What about us ladies?

A couple years ago I was in a pharmacy with my father, and mentioned that I didn't see any pills to help women stay aroused. He agreed and we were discussing it when I looked behind me to see this woman truly MORTIFIED by our discussion; apparently, it's horrid to discuss women's arousal when men's is plastered on TV in so many different product commercials.

I ended up having a long and

I ended up having a long and interesting discussion with my boyfriend about this. Among the things that were brought up:

-Basically it seems like this ice cream has the same additives as an energy drink. What if a woman needs to pull an all-nighter and wants to facilitate it with ice cream? Why is the ice cream gendered in such a way that she'd get odd reactions?
-Ice cream is gendered in the first place: it's more acceptable for women to like sweet things for their own sake, but men have to get some functional benefit from them.
-Presumably Latin dance competitions are sexy to women as well, but I guess that doesn't matter. Basically, this entire trend is yet another example of centering male sexual subjectivity. But it also perpetuates the idea that men never get so old that they have no sex drive and ED is simply an obstacle to be overcome. Older women, however, are permanently desexualized.
-Seriously, priapism sounds horrifying.

Also! What flavor is viagra ice cream, anyway? Is it basically just vanilla with blue food coloring? This isn't the first time someone's come up with the idea -- I've also heard of it in Italy and I think Brazil.

It's still a sexy ice cream!

...because even if it's just energy drink ingredients, we'll call it Viagra because all ladeez like a hard dick, AMIRITE? Ugh, I didn't even get into the ridiculous heteronormativity at work here.

I have no idea what flavor that ice cream is! It's actually from Hungary, according to the Flickr account where I found the image. I'm guessing vanilla with blue food coloring too--but that doesn't matter because it's Viagra-flavored, so it tastes like a SEXY GOOD TIME!

(And I find Latin dance competitions sexy, but that's because I like to see the men shake their booties in those tight pants. Of course, it's not billed as being sexy for women, because, as you point out, male sexual subjectivity rules the day).

Becky Sharper www.harpyness.com

Becky Sharper www.harpyness.com

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