May 15, 2006

Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

These are two rather odd print ads for towels from World War 2, and I've been trying to think through the purpose of the images. Of course, many ads from that era featured soldiers in one manner or another, and ads for towels such as these two would naturally feature a bathing scene like these. But in this day and age, the pictures strike me as being rather homoerotic. So what message is the artist trying to convey? Was he (or she) trying to titilliate the women back home while their boyfriends and husbands were off to war? That the troops were comfortable enough with their sexuality so that they could joke and frolick with each other while being nude? Or that the bond between fellow soldiers in a prolonged male environment (fighting in a war against other men) becomes stronger than normal, perhaps to the point of the men becoming gay?

One other thing to note in the above picture are the dark, silent natives in the background. They stand and stare at the white soldiers while the latter are oblivious to the spectacle they are creating.

From Boing Boing.

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