Sex And Gambling; Movie Fodder & Advertisers’ Weapon

James Bond Gambling

In a world where the future is never certain, where we all gamble day to day on everything being okay or working out, you’d think that the manifest link between sex and gambling would be a well explored facet of entertainment and advertising, but alas the truth is that in a male dominated world the creative arts are woefully missing half the story but are advertisers guilty of far worse than ignorance?

Sex And Gambling

  • Skewed view predominant?
  • Casablanca worse than Bond?
  • Do sex objects sell cars?

It is oddly amusing that upon hearing mention of sex and gambling quite a large majority of you will have instantly pictured in your mind’s eye a scene from one of the James Bond movies. A handsome tall man in a tuxedo confidently moving between the tables, slipping through the crowds of the well dressed and well groomed extras that are pretending to be the idle rich, his ordering of a lightweight’s Martini and then entering into a typically doubled edged conversation with a stunningly beautiful woman as he gambles just a prelude to their ending up in bed together somewhere around forty five minutes into the movie.

However whilst the Bond franchise was the least subtle about connecting sex and gambling, this has been a common enough movie trope down the years. The ultra-classic “Casablanca” for instance includes a scene in which Humphrey Bogart’s Rick allows a young man, Jan, to benefit from a rigged roulette wheel in order that he gain enough money so that his new wife, Annina, doesn’t have to go and offer up her body to the local police chief Captain Renault in return for visas out of the country. This might not be as in your face as Bond’s double entendres, but the connection is made non-the-less albeit not as a glamorous enticement but the last ditch effort to avoid apparently necessary prostitution.

Sex and Gambling in Casablanca

Sex and Gambling feature in classic film ‘Casablanca’

Of course the reason popular culture juxtaposes sex and gambling so often is that all sex is a gamble and whilst the true nature of that has been hard to feature on the silver screen or television given the adult nature of the subject and the moronic insistence of censors in believing its still the 1950s, the main reason gambling is not imposed upon sex on the screen as much as in real life is that most of the movie and television show creators are men. Now at this point I’m gambling news that sex isn’t as much of a gamble for men as it is for women won’t come as a surprise to you, but since some of you are probably men, I’ll explain anyway……..slowly.

All Sex Is Gambling

The sexual drive differs twixt the genders not in intensity but in aim, and whilst those differing agendas are often portrayed on screen, the inherently different gamble those divergent goals presents is rarely given more than a passing mention at best. There may be the odd moment for a chap when he’ll weigh up the odds that the lady he’s chatting up will be a stalky weirdo, a knife wielding maniac or worse, a christian fundamentalist, but it is unlikely he’ll ever try to ascertain the odds of how likely a sexual encounter with her would be pleasurable for him, and whilst sex and gambling both make for good movie fodder this fleeting moment of indecision if it existed at all would make dull viewing.

Women too must assess men on the dangerous-nutter spectrum, but must couple it with knowing full well that not all sexual encounters are going to be satisfactory, and whilst male directors will happily allude to this fact dismissively in puerile comedies you’re never going to see an action hero apologizing for his inept love making or woeful size of manhood due to years of steroid abuse, or indeed lack of erection due to an inherent inability to find anything but killing people arousing. Sex and gambling are not just linked for women, but the former is always the latter, at least to begin with, and this is no so much overlooked as wholly ignored beyond the comic aside (of which this too is I suspect an example).

As long as men dominate the creative arts, and most especially its funding, anyone in the US or UK gambling news of increasing sexual equality and diversity will result in this changing anytime soon should see me afterward about a bridge I want to sell them. Indeed the diversity bandwagon has in some ways allowed the adequate and accurate portrayal of the inherently increased gamble faced by women to be skipped over by a creative media industry more interested in the profits of shock than the reality of anything, however there is one area of the media in which the link is hammered home time and time again; advertising.

This Is The Man Who Objectified Women To Sell Cars

There are no depths of the human psyche that advertisers are not willing to plumb in order to sell us things, nor any image or association they will not present in order to achieve it. Whilst it is easy to believe the glamorous sheen given to gambling alone would be enough for positive enforcement, and that featuring sex and gambling was somewhat of a belt and braces redundancy the twisted way in which advertisers think have led to some classics of association that border on the offensive. Take the UK advert for the Volkswagen Polo as perhaps the most notable example.

Another of Volkswagen’s unwelcome emissions.

“This is the man who bet a million on black when it came up red. This is the man who married a sex kitten just as she turned into a cat. This is the man who moved into the smart money just as the smart money moved out. This is the man who drives a Volkswagen. Everyone must have something in life he can rely on.” Said the voice-over as a stoic good looking chap consoled himself with his car after a series of disappointments. It is, of course, that second clause that raises eyebrows. The rest are all gambling of one sort or another, but is choosing a wife really to be looked upon as just another wager?

There’s a huge difference between placing a
bet on sports in the UK on Betfair, and marrying someone, isn’t there? Volkswagen didn’t even bother to allude just to marital happiness but instead went straight to linking sex and gambling in the most basic manner possible, entirely equating them, and it’s a lamentable attitude that persists. Creative media might often overlook the female perspective, but advertisers are still objectifying them, and that is far worse. The inherent associations between sex and gambling may not be best portrayed by the male Hollywood machine but they’ll never be quite as mercenary as Madison Avenue has been in exploiting it.

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