Author: has written 241 posts for this blog.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

67 Responses

  1. norbizness
    norbizness February 8, 2012 at 9:28 am |

    Bill Hicks has us all in check from beyond the grave.

  2. Meredith L.
    Meredith L. February 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    Three years ago I wrote on the Huffington Post about sexist Super Bowl ads. I was floored by some of the comments I got, particularly the ones that defended these ads (“What’s wrong with sexy women? That’s what men want to see! You’re obviously just fat and ugly and jealous.”), and the comments that questioned the manliness of my husband. You know, because he doesn’t like these ads? So he must be gay? Because gay is the opposite of manly? And a total insult?

    *facepalm*

  3. Jadey
    Jadey February 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |

    Then there’s this doozy…

  4. Marissa123
    Marissa123 February 8, 2012 at 10:15 am |

    Luckily I didn’t see this shit because I was home reading, but that last ad offends the fuck out of me! Yes, buy women flowers and expect sex. Great job, ad makers. That doesn’t contribute to/create rape culture AT ALL. Assholes…

  5. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 8, 2012 at 10:38 am |

    I am glad that the game was good enough to distract from the dreadful commercials.

  6. grenyarnia
    grenyarnia February 8, 2012 at 10:39 am |

    With the single exception of Farmville (gag), none of the female-created pieces of tech in that Jezebel article is even 30% as famous as anything Best Buy ad. The Jezebel article just ended up making the (hopefully incorrect) case that to include women among the innovators shown, they would have had to go hunting for women who created things nobody’s ever heard of and then pretended those things were as famous as camera phones, speech-to-text, Instagram, or Words With Friends.

  7. Andie
    Andie February 8, 2012 at 10:41 am |

    I wish the Super Bowl and all the hoopla surrounding it would just go away. Including the dumb-assed commercials.

  8. Ashley
    Ashley February 8, 2012 at 10:45 am |

    I hate GoDaddy ads, but me hating them just encourages them even more…damn!

  9. Plop
    Plop February 8, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    What about a top of least-sexist (not sexist) ads ?
    Are there any ? (Because they are the ones that deserves the buzz, in fine)

  10. Xeginy
    Xeginy February 8, 2012 at 11:43 am |

    Damn, cause that Toyota Camry commercial was funny. The naked lady couch was ridiculous and sexist and NOT funny, but I thoroughly enjoyed the baby that doesn’t poop, the crime fighting plants, and the ice cream-serving DMV. I did not especially like the “rain that makes you skinny,” though.

    Can’t something be funny and not horribly problematic at the same time? Is that too much to ask for?

  11. R. Dave
    R. Dave February 8, 2012 at 11:52 am |

    Meh, sex != sexist. I’ve never understood the specifically feminist (as opposed to general anti-marketing) objection to ads that create an association between sexiness / arousal and the product being sold.

  12. shfree
    shfree February 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

    Meh, sex != sexist. I’ve never understood the specifically feminist (as opposed to general anti-marketing) objection to ads that create an association between sexiness / arousal and the product being sold.

    Because men aren’t the only ones capable of giving flowers. Nor are women obligated to give sex when they receive flowers, which is what that ad implies. Also, the black dress/garter combo is not the height of all things sexy in the world.

    Ugh, teleflora. At least my grandparents are retired and dead now, so I don’t have to feel gross walking into their stores, as they used them for their distance sales.

  13. Glove
    Glove February 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

    People tune into commercials to watch them specifically?

  14. Blitzgal
    Blitzgal February 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm |

    Meh, sex != sexist. I’ve never understood the specifically feminist (as opposed to general anti-marketing) objection to ads that create an association between sexiness / arousal and the product being sold.

    RTFA, dude. Seriously.

  15. im
    im February 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

    Wow. How can these advertisers be so stupid as to not realize that there is a female gaze? There is money to be made.

    (of course, there would probably be just as much ridiculous stupid….)

  16. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

    People tune into commercials to watch them specifically?

    For the Super Bowl commercials? Yes, some people do.

  17. R. Dave
    R. Dave February 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    I did read the article, Blitzgal. I just think the interpretations of those ads that the article puts forward only make sense if one accepts the unspoken premise that sexualized advertizing is sexist, and I disagree with that premise.

  18. R. Dave
    R. Dave February 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm |

    As an addendum, I would also add that the other unspoken premise central to the interpretations in the article is that heteronormativity in advertizing is inherently sexist. Again, I disagree with that premise.

  19. Mórrígan
    Mórrígan February 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    I think there’s a big problem in the fact that people don’t actually understand the actual reasons we call these ads sexist. No, it is not necessarily sexist to pay a woman to dress/behave provocatively. It’s her body, and she can do whatever she wants with it, and if you assume she’s doing it because she was abused as a child, that’s just as offensively prejudiced as sexist ads. It is sexist to assume that only men buy flowers, cars, etc, and to suggest that all women trade sex for affection and/or presents. It’s offensive to alienate 50% of potential consumers because of a stereotype that says, “chicks don’t care about cars, so put a half-naked women in it so we can get the men,” because it’s not like some women are attracted to women! Ads are sexist when they perpetuate stereotypes and cultural constructs that make all women the same and/or make them less than men. I’m often more offended by ads that make a joke out of a man acting in a stereotypically “feminine” way (crying at a sappy movie, etc) – like a Jared’s commercial I recently saw.

  20. Ashley
    Ashley February 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

    How can these advertisers be so stupid as to not realize that there is a female gaze? There is money to be made.

    You’d think they would lose a lot of (female) business by pissing off enough of them, right? Well godaddy and dr. pepper seem to insinuate that part of pissing people off with their sexist advertising only helps their business. I don’t understand it either.

  21. Andie
    Andie February 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

    Wow. How can these advertisers be so stupid as to not realize that there is a female gaze? There is money to be made.

    (of course, there would probably be just as much ridiculous stupid….)

    In the past whenever people have tried to invoke the ‘female gaze’, I always get the feeling they’re still making fun of us… like those ‘Porn for Women’ books that have pictures of guys doing dishes and stuff.

  22. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

    Wow. How can these advertisers be so stupid as to not realize that there is a female gaze? There is money to be made.

    There was the David Beckham commercial. I was kind of shocked to see it, but it was kind of gratifying to see that advertisers have noticed that somewhere around half of NFL fans are (gasp!) women.

  23. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers February 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

    R. Dave: If sex sells, where are the half naked men selling expensive cool technology (such as cars and smartphones) to women?

    The sexism is not in the fact that there are sexy women being sexy. The sexism is in the fact that the presence of sexy women being sexy, and the absence of sexy men being sexy, presumes that the entire audience is male and heterosexual, and that women don’t buy anything advertisers want to sell.

    Women actually do 80% of the shopping in the US. Women buy almost all the low-ticket items, but also, a disproportionate number of the high-ticket items. Women buy for their businesses. Women buy for their children. Women buy for their husbands. Women buy for their families. Women buy for themselves. In the absence of sexism, smart demographic analysis and targeting says “don’t bother selling a damn thing to men; the biggest bang for your advertising buck is to market to women.” With an event with a male skew in the audience, such as the SuperBowl, it makes logical sense to do *some* targeting of men (although, 46% female audience? Not nearly as much male skew as there was once). But to target *solely* men when women do 80% of the buying of pretty much everything can only be sexism, because it’s sure not logic or hard, cold, sales-minded pursuit of the bottom line.

    And if you present ads where women are displayed as *literal* objects, not “I am an empowered woman who sees what I want and what I want is you” but “I am a couch” or “I am a car”, this turns women off. Women don’t mind seeing sexy women pursuing sexy men. Something that presents us with images of hot women who clearly have their own agency and desires, going after what they want, can be very effective marketing to women, because it is actually suggesting to us that we can *be* that sexy woman going after what she wants. But when we’re presented as chairs? When we’re presented as video game conquests who can be won with nothing but flowers? We don’t like that, and if we are 46% of the viewing audience and 80% of the buying population, then the *only* reason advertisers would present us with something we don’t like that repels us is that they care more about pursuing male spending than female spending… and given that 80% number up there, the only motivation for that can be sexism.

    So, sorry. Cold hard facts suggest that you’re wrong. Advertising which displays sexy women as objects for male possession, and which does not display sexy men as objects for female possession, obviously is trying to pursue men at the expense of alienating women… and the facts on the ground about who buys what just does not support that being a viable marketing strategy. The only reason it works at all is that the sexism is so pervasive throughout our society, everyone does it, and therefore women have no alternative but to buy products whose marketing is trying to repel them. But the first car manufacturer that tells women that this badass SUV gives them total freedom to go where they want, when they want, or this slick sports car will totally impress hot guys, or this car will carry around all your kids safely but also make you look like a sexy and awesome woman who all the guys want… that car manufacturer will make *tons.* Right now the only female-centric car advertising goes “this car will make you feel safe” (full stop, nothing more than safe) or “this car company will not patronize you and treat you like crap” (nice to have, sure, but I’m not gonna buy a car *just* because you don’t treat me like shit, you also have to have a car I want to buy.)

  24. Sylvia D. Lucas
    Sylvia D. Lucas February 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

    I got into a long conversation on FB about the Teleflora ad. (And right after it, there was some commercial with 1. all women dressed in bikinis, and 2. all men in full clothing, but I didn’t comment on that one, knowing full well that commenting on all of the sexist ads would have meant missing the Super Bowl, which I was enjoying.)

    Those who defended the ad maintained “men and women are different.” (As if to imply men want sex, and women like to get presents for sex.) I was also accused of “overthinking” it when I said that having a man give a woman something for sex influences young men in a way that’s dangerous to both men and women.

    I couldn’t believe that I actually had to explain why that commercial was fucked up.

  25. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers February 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm |

    In the past whenever people have tried to invoke the ‘female gaze’, I always get the feeling they’re still making fun of us… like those ‘Porn for Women’ books that have pictures of guys doing dishes and stuff.

    Yeah… 40 years slash fiction has existed, and they still haven’t figured out that “Porn for Women” is about two hot guys who are either best friends, dire enemies, or both at the same time, fighting crime/aliens/each other and then fucking?

    At least they *have* figured out the desires of the het-porn-reading population; the existence of so very, very Mary Sues who got the guy must have eventually convinced someone that if the story is *about* a sexy, smart, hot, badass chick who can outfight every guy in the story falling for a sexy, smart, hot, badass guy with supernatural powers, and they have lots of sex, it will sell like hotcakes. “Porn For Women” is called romance novels, but unlike the bodice rippers of the days of yore, it’s a lot less likely nowadays to use flowery euphemistic language and a lot more likely to just feature lots of down and dirty fucking (between people who love and respect each other, or hate and respect each other, or want each other so bad they can’t keep their hands off each other but also respect each other… but just because it’s not about total strangers fucking does not change the fact that it’s totally all about fucking.)

    If I was gonna make a “Porn for Women” calendar, it would not feature guys washing dishes. It would feature half-naked chicks covered with sweat and dirt, whose clothes weren’t artfully half-naked to begin with but who have obviously had a good bit of clothing ripped away during a battle with weird creatures, with spaceship blasters at their hips, passionately kissing completely naked sexy men who are half-chained to walls (and totally into the kiss), with dead creepy monsters lying on the ground smoking, implying that the woman has fought her way through aliens to rescue her man and he thinks she’s totally hot for doing it. It would feature men dressed in spandex who are obviously superheroes in hot clinches in dark alleys, like they were fighting crime together and it made them so hot they just had to find a private place to screw while they’re still on patrol. It would feature pseudo-Star Trek spaceship bridges where people who are obviously supposed to be the captain and the doctor, or the captain and the first officer, screwing on the bridge, and maybe one of them has pointed ears or bumps on their head or a funny skin color to indicate that they’re an alien. Because, as nearly as I can tell from years of reading fanfic, *that* is the kind of porn women would buy. Except we’d be too embarrassed to admit we were reading/looking at porn, so you’d have to call it something else, which is why “romance novels” are not called “porn for women.”

  26. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    I admit I laughed at the Toyota ad. The couch thing was sexist (even with the quick-right-before-a-new-sketch switch to guys), yes. Plus just plain strange, really. I didn’t like the ad at first b/c of it. I was just kinda wierded out.

    Then it got funny.

  27. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

    You guys do realize that while *some* sports fans are feminists, most aren’t? In fact, most sports fans are firmly ensconced in the frat-boy mentality- they don’t care about women, and that’s who the advertisers want to get money from.

  28. Andie
    Andie February 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

    Here we go.

  29. Dominique
    Dominique February 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

    This this this. I am framing this:

    R. Dave: If sex sells, where are the half naked men selling expensive cool technology (such as cars and smartphones) to women?

    The sexism is not in the fact that there are sexy women being sexy. The sexism is in the fact that the presence of sexy women being sexy, and the absence of sexy men being sexy, presumes that the entire audience is male and heterosexual, and that women don’t buy anything advertisers want to sell.

    Women actually do 80% of the shopping in the US. Women buy almost all the low-ticket items, but also, a disproportionate number of the high-ticket items. Women buy for their businesses. Women buy for their children. Women buy for their husbands. Women buy for their families. Women buy for themselves. In the absence of sexism, smart demographic analysis and targeting says “don’t bother selling a damn thing to men; the biggest bang for your advertising buck is to market to women.” With an event with a male skew in the audience, such as the SuperBowl, it makes logical sense to do *some* targeting of men (although, 46% female audience? Not nearly as much male skew as there was once). But to target *solely* men when women do 80% of the buying of pretty much everything can only be sexism, because it’s sure not logic or hard, cold, sales-minded pursuit of the bottom line.

  30. Fenriswolf
    Fenriswolf February 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

    R Dave, you don’t see the flower commercial as sexist? Because that is one creepy fucking ad.

    I don’t necessarily have a problem with lots of ads with sexy ladies, that’s all good (though see Alara’s post for why it is a problem that it is such an overwhelming strategy), but ads implying “buy flowers and she’ll have to fuck you!” actually make me feel a little sick.

  31. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

    @ Alara

    I am interested in your ideas and would to subscribe to your newsletter.

  32. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

    would like*

  33. Brett Cottrell
    Brett Cottrell February 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

    This is a good write up. I don’t even remember the full frontal chocolate nudity. I must have been in the fridge.

    Here’s what I learned about gender from the Super Bowl ads…it’s not a lesson worth learning.

  34. Jadey
    Jadey February 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

    If I was gonna make a “Porn for Women” calendar, it would not feature guys washing dishes. It would feature half-naked chicks covered with sweat and dirt, whose clothes weren’t artfully half-naked to begin with but who have obviously had a good bit of clothing ripped away during a battle with weird creatures, with spaceship blasters at their hips, passionately kissing completely naked sexy men who are half-chained to walls (and totally into the kiss), with dead creepy monsters lying on the ground smoking, implying that the woman has fought her way through aliens to rescue her man and he thinks she’s totally hot for doing it. It would feature men dressed in spandex who are obviously superheroes in hot clinches in dark alleys, like they were fighting crime together and it made them so hot they just had to find a private place to screw while they’re still on patrol. It would feature pseudo-Star Trek spaceship bridges where people who are obviously supposed to be the captain and the doctor, or the captain and the first officer, screwing on the bridge, and maybe one of them has pointed ears or bumps on their head or a funny skin color to indicate that they’re an alien. Because, as nearly as I can tell from years of reading fanfic, *that* is the kind of porn women would buy. Except we’d be too embarrassed to admit we were reading/looking at porn, so you’d have to call it something else, which is why “romance novels” are not called “porn for women.”

    Please actually do this.

    @ politicalguineapig

    The stereotype of the sports fan is what advertisers are catering too (because it turns out they also make stupid business decisions, just like every other industry with its head up its ass). Just like the stereotype of the sci fi nerd (young white straight dudes) is what those networks, advertisers, and game developers cater to most of the time, even though that’s not the whole picture either.

  35. sam
    sam February 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

    I absolutely agree with the analysis of the problems of these commercials, but the one thing I did (somewhat pleasantly) take note of this year was the absence of any commercials in the vein of “women are emasculating man-hating harpie bitches that want to destroy mens’ souls” that seemed to be incredibly prevalent last year.

    Even the sandman dream ad, which I was groaning at for all of its half-naked ladies (and in general I found distasteful), ends with the guy breaking through the wall so that he can run off with his wife into the sunset. Because apparently he actually likes his wife.

  36. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe February 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

    I found the David Beckham ad to be as ridiculous as the GoDaddy ads. The women at the party I was at glanced at it for a second, then plunged back into the food being served. I don’t think that will work either. People are looking for ads that are funny. Personally, I found the send up of Ferris Bueller to be one of the best.

  37. Brennan
    Brennan February 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    What about my personal favorite? Y’know, the one about how YOUR WOMAN is totally cheating on you with a hot guy who exists only in her dreams, so you have to bust out of your own dreamland (which incidentally is populated by bikini-clad hordes and school bus-sized sandwiches) and literally KNOCK HER OFF HER HORSE so you can SWEEP HER AWAY! In, iirc, your spankin’ Kia Optima. Because it’s not like YOUR WOMAN should get to make any choices on her own. No, she’s just a passenger held captives to the whims of “Mr. Sandman” and Fantasy Dream Guy. At least until you sweep her away, you manly-man, you.

  38. Cory
    Cory February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

    I was actually happy with how Brown M&M turned out, just becasue when I heard they were going finally make another female M&M that was “sassy” I was afraid of the results.
    I thought the ‘naked’ joke was kind of cute at first but fell flat when she just rolled her eyes and didn’t act up about it when it was taken further, in a much more inappropriate way. That sucks because the character they introduced totally seems like the type who wouldn’t put up with that shit. The red m&m’s sexual harassment would be a lot more blatant if it was a naked human male standing there gyrating inappropriately mere feet away from women.

  39. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |

    No, she’s just a passenger held captives to the whims of “Mr. Sandman” and Fantasy Dream Guy. At least until you sweep her away, you manly-man, you.

    I’m with Sam on this one–I generally found the ad distasteful, but he did run away with his wife at the end. In the uber-dude world, she’d be a shrieking harpy and he would have ended up with several of the bikini-clad spectators at the car race.

    (Upon reflection, these are low standards to have for commercials…)

  40. Iam138
    Iam138 February 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    Funny, I watched the Beckham ad and thought it would play best to gay men. I enjoyed the view, and I’ve never been interested in men.

  41. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |

    Personally, I had a wonderful Sunday. I went grocery shopping. I cleaned my apartment. I went to the gym. I cut my toenails. Caught up on a lot of stuff I’d be meaning to do. I checked Google News first thing Monday morning at work to see what the result of the Super Bowl was. . .just to make sure I didn’t sound like a complete idiot if someone tried to talk to me about it.

    I hate ads with naked women in them. As a mostly heterosexual man, I resent the blatant attempt at manipulation. No, I don’t want to buy your crap, and it makes no fucking difference how “funny” your ad is or how many supermodels are in it.

  42. Celeste
    Celeste February 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm |

    I’d prefer not to see the “female gaze” catered to in equal measure to the “male gaze.” I’d prefer not to be sold products on the basis of a “sexy image.” In my utopia, products would be advertised based on their actual merits. Like, “This car runs well, is reliable, and has a high safety rating.” I don’t want half-naked anyone selling me products, unless the functioning of a product is specifically related to an activity that needs to be done half-naked. Driving a car, sitting on a sofa, drinking soda, not so.

    1. Mórrígan
      Mórrígan February 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm |

      I would do all of those things half-naked if it were socially acceptable. I hate wearing pants.

      In addition, I tend to think everything is related to sex (or at least, that’s what I tell myself so I don’t feel like I’m obsessed when I constantly make sexual jokes), so when someone uses sex to sell something to me, I usually don’t hold it against them. Sex sells, just like funny sells – anything that evokes strong emotions helps sell products, because strong emotions make the ad stick out in your mind when you go to shop for those products. Simply listing of the merits of a product is useless; nobody will remember what you said if you don’t make it interesting. I don’t object to sexual ads any more than I object to funny ads.

  43. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm |

    Simply listing of the merits of a product is useless; nobody will remember what you said if you don’t make it interesting. I don’t object to sexual ads any more than I object to funny ads.

    I object to all ads. So. Yeah.

  44. Azalea
    Azalea February 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

    R Dave, you don’t see the flower commercial as sexist? Because that is one creepy fucking ad.

    I don’t necessarily have a problem with lots of ads with sexy ladies, that’s all good (though see Alara’s post for why it is a problem that it is such an overwhelming strategy), but ads implying “buy flowers and she’ll have to fuck you!” actually make me feel a little sick.

    I’m with R Dave, I didnt see it as sexist. I didnt feel demeaned by it and I didnt take it to mean that a Valentine’s Day gift meant I was going to be raped or coerced/manipulated into sex either. I got was that if you want something from your SO on Valentine’s day she might be more in the mood to give it to you if you got her a Valentine’s Day gift.

    I took it as a tongue in cheek joke.

  45. John Frazer
    John Frazer February 9, 2012 at 8:58 am |

    Actually, that whole “sex sells” thing is a myth. Using sex in an ad is actually counterproductive, because the brain tends to remember the sex and not the product:

    http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/06/sex-doesnt-sell-neither-does-violence.php

    So, it’s not just sexist, it’s stupid.

  46. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 9, 2012 at 9:17 am |

    I hate ads with naked women in them. As a mostly heterosexual man, I resent the blatant attempt at manipulation. No, I don’t want to buy your crap, and it makes no fucking difference how “funny” your ad is or how many supermodels are in it.

    Oh man, THIS. Though I do appreciate an ad that’s actually funny (if you’re going to waste my time while I wait for the show/sporting event to come back, amusing me takes some of the sting out).

    With me, too, it springs from a basic rejection of the entire advertising industry (which basically exists to sell you shit you don’t need). The sexist crap is just icing on my cake ‘o hate.

    Yes, I rant at the television sometimes, how could you tell?

  47. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 9, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    Simply listing of the merits of a product is useless; nobody will remember what you said if you don’t make it interesting.

    I’m not entirely sure this is true. At least some ads seem to do exactly this. Take your average Honda ad, for instance. They show you the car, they talk about how it’s safe, fuel efficient, highly rated, etc. The end. No sex, no humor. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Honda ad that went with the sex sells angle, actually. Honda seems to do pretty well.

  48. DP
    DP February 9, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    I’d prefer not to see the “female gaze” catered to in equal measure to the “male gaze.” I’d prefer not to be sold products on the basis of a “sexy image.” In my utopia, products would be advertised based on their actual merits. Like, “This car runs well, is reliable, and has a high safety rating.” I don’t want half-naked anyone selling me products, unless the functioning of a product is specifically related to an activity that needs to be done half-naked. Driving a car, sitting on a sofa, drinking soda, not so.

    derail/

    Well, the Fiat 500 Abarth is a new(ish) Italian sports model, so the appeal of it has nothing to do with practicality and everything to do with a kind of instinctive appeal. Which explains, although doesn’t excuse why they went straight to the lizard part of the brain in advertising the car.

    Car people tend to personify their cars; they’re not just appliances, they’re regarded as having personalities, quirks, etc. Cars are actually totally anthropomorphic; some French designer figured out that people respond to cars’ “faces,” which is why performance cars have headlights that are narrow and slitted and “mouths” that appear to be scowling. The point is to convey an image of power and aggression, which is what gets people to buy fast cars.

    tl;dr version the ad is sexist but the thinking behind it actually makes sense because the brand is trying to appeal to men who want a car that has stereotypically ‘femme fatale’ characteristics
    /derail

  49. LC
    LC February 9, 2012 at 9:37 am |

    If I was gonna make a “Porn for Women” calendar, it would not feature guys washing dishes.

    And I would buy that calendar and give it to just about 80% of the women I am friends with. (The ones who wouldn’t think it was creepy that I was giving them awesome porn.)

  50. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 9, 2012 at 10:09 am |

    I didnt feel demeaned by it and I didnt take it to mean that a Valentine’s Day gift meant I was going to be raped or coerced/manipulated into sex either.

    Good for you?

  51. VG
    VG February 9, 2012 at 11:07 am |

    I realize this is probably the wrong place to suggest this, but can we all get just a little bit of a sense of humor? We are all, among other attributes, sexual beings, and consequently are attracted to those of our preferred gender. The fact that I appreciate an attractive woman does not mean that I am objectifying her any more than my wife or daughter is objectifying a man to whom they are attracted. That said, some ads are just in poor taste, and some of the Super Bowl ads were no exception (GoDaddy, Beckham, for two low-hanging fruit).

  52. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 9, 2012 at 11:48 am |

    I realize this is probably the wrong place to suggest this, but can we all get just a little bit of a sense of humor?

    Where is my bingo card?

    That said, I think Alara answered the point about sex v. sexism quite well upthread:

    The sexism is not in the fact that there are sexy women being sexy. The sexism is in the fact that the presence of sexy women being sexy, and the absence of sexy men being sexy, presumes that the entire audience is male and heterosexual, and that women don’t buy anything advertisers want to sell.

    Some of the commercials were funny–I thought the bit with Darth Vader getting mad the guy for suggesting that the dog was cuter was funny, as was the post-apocalyptic ad for GM trucks with the Twinkies.

    Popular culture and advertising trade in stereotypes, many of which are to the detriment of women, people of color, etc. I utterly fail to see the problem with a) interrogating those tropes and b) not finding jokes that play on them funny.

  53. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom February 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

    I don’t see the Beckham ad as being in poor taste. There’s no suggestion that buying the underwear will cause David Beckham (or anyone else) to have sex with you, and the ad actually does spend some time focused squarely on the product.

  54. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    I don’t see the Beckham ad as being in poor taste. There’s no suggestion that buying the underwear will cause David Beckham (or anyone else) to have sex with you, and the ad actually does spend some time focused squarely on the product.

    Actually, I find the idea that people find the Beckham ad to be in bad taste to be fairly laughable–it’s in “bad taste” because it violates the cultural expectation that women are there for oogling, but men are manly men who should not be subject to such degradation.

  55. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm |

    I realize this is probably the wrong place to suggest this, but can we all get just a little bit of a sense of humor?

    I think you might be confusing the concepts of “having a sense of humor” with “having a bad sense of humor.” Most regular Feministe posters have more than the “little bit” of humor that you seem to desire and would likely run laps around you comedically. You’re basically saying that if one really had a taste for cuisine than one should simply love Top Ramen or Spam, metaphorically speaking.

    I’m a funny guy. I have a quick wit; I can make good jokes; I appreciate the absurdity both in everyday life and the general structure of the Universe. I also realize that good humor relies on an element of surprise–that’s what the words “punch line” refer to. Now, what I don’t appreciate is “humor” that is so cliche, so banal, so mindnumbingly stuipifying in its lazy use of tropes and stereotypes that have literally existed for hundreds of years that not only is it not surprising but it causes my mind to rot in a stew of predictably, sexism, stupidity, and overall unfunniess.

    Oh crap! Am I taking this too seriously again? ;-)

  56. Esti
    Esti February 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

    If you found the Beckham ad in questionable taste but don’t think twice about the million Victoria Secret ads that run every year, you might want to consider why that is.

  57. Sarah Harper
    Sarah Harper February 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

    But the first car manufacturer that tells women that [...] this car will carry around all your kids safely but also make you look like a sexy and awesome woman who all the guys want… that car manufacturer will make *tons.*

    Well, how’s the Toyota Sienna doing? Because that is basically the entire premise of their ads. I think they actually use the term “hot mommy”.

    Also, am I a horrible person for getting totally turned on by the woman in that Italian car ad? Car be damned, I need a woman like that in my life!

    Alara, you nailed it on the “porn for women”. I remember back in the day going onto Quizilla.com for the personality quizzes and staying for the pornographic stories about random Mary Sue types getting fought over by several Anne Rice vampires. (Other popular porn topics: Harry Potter and animes I’d never heard of. Speaking of which: Yaoi. At least one culture knows how to cash in on the slashin’.)

  58. Azalea
    Azalea February 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm |

    Good for you?

    Great for me actually, there is a shit laod of stuff to make me feel demeaned and threatened being a young black “uppity” woman in a metropolitan city. A superbowl ad piling on to all of that would be fucked up.

    …You actually were glad that I didn’t feel horrible about myself because of a commercial right?

  59. Azalea
    Azalea February 9, 2012 at 11:01 pm |

    59
    Esti 2.9.2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    If you found the Beckham ad in questionable taste but don’t think twice about the million Victoria Secret ads that run every year, you might want to consider why that is

    When people say that ad was done in poor taste I ask, how else do you advertise how great the underwear looks on a person without showing a person wearing the underwear?

  60. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser February 10, 2012 at 3:53 am |

    Ditto on the awfulness of most of the ads discussed.

    I did think the Camry ad was pretty sexist, but the male version of the couch and the guy’s “Hmm, ok” expression redeemed it a BIT in my eyes. “Hey, men are objects too!” Progess…? :-/

    Same for the Sandman ad. Kudos on the dude actually liking his wife, but too much other weird stuff going on in re: sexism in the ad to give it a thumbs up.

    It wasn’t a sexist ad, but I was pretty damn shocked by the Doritos commercial with the death of at least 2 cats. No advertiser would dare dream of showing a commercial where the death of a dog was presented as funny… as usual, cats are disposable. Mah kittehs had a sad :(

    Looking there is the bright side… there were no Gay Panic based ads this year (the reaction of some men to the Beckham ad not withstanding). No women being hit with beer bottles. A decrease in violence all around, which is good…

    Except for that stupid NFL ad about how safe and regulated FOOBALL! is today. It just made the old George Gipp to Johnny Unitas days look more exciting and, well, sporty. Play the Super Bowl at Lambeau in a blizzard, dammit, you coddled modern footballers! Remember the Snow Bowl? No one can see the field, no one can read the uniforms, mud everywhere… now thats some FOOBALL!

    (so says the guy who watches one game a year…)

  61. firelizard19
    firelizard19 February 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |

    Haven’t read the comments yet, but I wanted to chime in that I was watching that ad for teleflora live, with extended family visiting, and we all were shocked. I believe I summarized it as the woman saying “I’m for sale.” I mean, wow. Oh, and by extension, she’s saying “All women are for sale.”
    Oooh! Ooh! *and* “Men have nothing to offer but their wallets.”
    How is this sexist and harmful to all involved, let me count the ways…

    (No pejorative about actual sex workers meant/implied here.)

  62. shfree
    shfree February 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

    And speaking again as the grandchild of florists, there are thousands and thousands of florists with dinky little shops that are affiliated with Teleflora–you basically need either that and/or FTD to stay afloat in the floral market. (My grandparents were Teleflora only, I remember that we were supposed to avoid FTD if we were sending stuff at a distance) And you can’t convince me that there aren’t florists are EXTREMELY offended by that ad, but have to suck it up because they simply can’t survive without it. And would also be screwed if a boycott happened, just because it is so needed by the small, independent floral shops who fill the orders that Teleflora would route to them.

    So, this Teleflora ad is really a nasty move. Because now it paints thousands and thousands of people with the same ugly, sexist brush regardless of how they feel about the ad.

  63. Super Bowl Commercials, Shockingly, Somewhat Sexist | No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

    [...] could have possibly predicted, the Superbowl ads this year were somewhat sexist. (Much thanks to Feministe, who watched the ads so I didn’t have [...]

  64. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe February 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

    I have a hard time getting indignant about the GoDaddy ads because 1) as hinted at in the post, they’ve become meta and 2) if Danica Patrick doesn’t mind, why should I?

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.