Fresh Balls

Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Common themes represented here:

Joke’s on women.  Fresh Balls is apparently a real thing — where have I been to have missed this?  The Axe commercial has been around for awhile.  Obviously, this is a backhanded jab at women and women’s reality and “women’s products”, but there is more to it than just being a joke (see below).  They do not even know how to approach this subject so that it’s not just completely ridiculous: that’s because the very premise conflicts with men’s gender role.  Being not-confident in general or worried about your body odor in particular conflicts with the masculine gender role, where the same things support the female gender role.  Where have we seen this before?  Ah yes — rape.  Rape is worse when it happens to men, because rape conflicts with men’s gender role; whereas rape supports women’s gender role.

The commercials resemble a parody, even though the products are real: they parody women and the commercials for women’s products (that “not so fresh feeling”) because there is literally no language for this.  There is no language for this so they have to borrow language from that which is used to address this “problem” when women have it (really it *is* a women’s problem, and exclusively a women’s problem — one created by men with the specific patriarchal intent and effect being to harm women).  Because there is no language for this, there is no way to think about this: this is how language works.  There is uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, and no associations to be made: they just have sweaty balls.  That’s it, nothing more.  There is no depth to this image, cognitively it’s completely flat because it’s not attached to a cultural narrative.  It’s just a suggestion, it’s their option to do something about it or not, preferably not, even, because it’s silly, but just in case you want to, whevs.

Compare and contrast, of course, to any commercial for a comparable women’s product: no language shortage, associations galore.  There is depth associated with this image, and it is attached to a deeper cultural narrative, your mind takes it and runs; there is no cognitive dissonance here at all, even though you know it’s wrong and woman-hating.  Fascinating.  And, sickening.

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