Ew, Belgium

Et Septembre, là-haut,
Avec son ciel de nacre et d.or voyage,
Et suspend sur les prés, les champs et les hameaux
Les blocs étincelants de ses plus beaux nuages.
-Emile Verhaeren

This is an ad for Ché magazine, Belgium's equivalent to Maxim or FHM, presumably. The biggest problem that I have with this ad campaign, besides the fact that the rag has co-opted Ernesto Guevara's beloved nickname, is that they have hijacked his message as well for their tagline: "Let us keep on dreaming of a better world." Really, Ché? Or perhaps I should rather question the men of Belgium, who apparatly buy this shit. Is your utopian dream one where women walk around with their tanned and tumulous buttocks barely hidden under paper, in fact stridently advertized with an arrow aimed at their tooters? Could this be a better utopia than, say, living in a country that helped found and hosts perhaps the most progressive and unionizing international monetary and financial intutution ever? A country that is about 97% urban (a must for a futuristic utopian society is people living on top of people a la Huxley or Dick)? A society from which came Jean Claude Van Damme, moules frites, René Magritte, the Gilles of Binche, Audrey Hepburn, waffles, The Singing Nun, Emile Verhaeren (as far as publications go, Ché is certainly a departure from La Jeune Belgique), and the most kinds of beer anywhere?! Can it get much "better" than officially sanctioned laïcité?

What is especially disturbing to me, Walloons and Flemings, is that you are already pretty accustomed to seeing sexually explicit advertising and PSAs, which is great, don't get me wrong. The thing I'm attacking here is taste, not the right to express one's taste. So lovely lady lump imagery is nothing new, and is probably more than little passé as sexual stimulus to Belgian men.

If anything, the element of this ad probably most subliminally interesting to the men of Belgium is not the female ass itself, but the treatment of the ass and the woman it belongs to like a homemade flier advertising guitar lessons. In this case ass=guitar lessons. "Please, come have sex with my ass," ("please, come take guitar lessons from me"). "I'm hot enough to be a supermodel, but I'd rather have sex with you," ("I used to jam with Jerry Jeff Walker, but I found my true calling, and it's teaching 13-year-olds how to play "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple"). It reeks of desperation. Is this what will make the world a better place? A bunch of super sexy, faceless, and desperate women running around on train platforms with paper covering their asses? Paper complete with hanging chads, of all things? Sounds like a utopia gone awry, more like the dystopias of Heinlein, except instead of having Protestants in charge, there'd be frat boys. Quelle horreur!

I guess I just had a more romantic picture in my head of what the typical Belgian man would look like/be interested in. I imagined something like this:

But now I'm thinking the dystopia-fated, cobblestoned streets of Antwerp are crowded with a different breed, one that looks more like this:

Let's hope they die out soon enough due to lack of sex. I can't imagine this Belgian, or any like her, giving them any play.


Author: Cherchez La Femme

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