I’m not the Morals Police, but really, guys?

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 10/31/08 •  2 min read

This is no surprise to anyone, but I do have a problem with the new “Playmate” snowboards recently introduced by Burton.

Now, I know I’m not the intended audience here. First of all, I’m not a boarder. And second, to be blunt about it, I’m no kid, either. And though I do believe that yes, the body is beautiful and yes, we should encourage artistic freedom of expression (the umbrella that Burton is hiding under), I don’t think these boards were rolled out in celebration of either of these things.

My feeling is that these images are merely a shrewdly calculated marketing device designed to capture a particular market segment — in this case, adolescent boys — to whom graphics of naked women are very appealing. Instead, what they actually do is objectify women as sex objects — something we’ve been trying to move beyond for decades — as well as alienate a very large segment of the population.

I think Burton tries very hard to market itself as an “edgy” company. It does a lot of stuff purely for shock value. Face it, there’s a certain element that likes to buy stuff because 1) it either ticks people off, or 2) it makes people do a double take. Plus it gets Burton a lot of exposure, like when they encouraged boarders to poach skiing-only resorts last year.

This type of marketing is what you do when you’re completely out of ideas. The oldest trick is the book is to show an image of a naked lady. It’s Neanderthal, it’s juvenile, and it’s just plain dumb. I think Burton should know better than that, and I’m incredibly disappointed that they don’t.

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