All of these ads aired in 2012. Not 1940, 1950 or some other decade supposedly more sexist than our modern age of enlightenment. In each ad, you’ll get a glimpse of the type of regressive behavior that marketing professionals continue to associate with masculinity. In their eyes men are often nothing more than violent, sex obsessed liars who objectify women. In my eyes makers of these ads need to shut up and find new jobs already. But hey, I have no control over that. What I can do is shine a critical eye on their troubling depictions of masculinity and make comments, lots of comments. So here we go:
Yet another sexist ad from Axe that stinks worse than their products. This ode to shallowness features walking, disembodied breasts (i.e. women) and a walking disembodied head of hair (i.e. men). They end it all with the line: “Hair. It’s what girls see first.” What’s missing of course is the implied accompanying line: “Boobs. They’re what men see first.” Fuck you very much, Axe, for painting me and all other men as nothing more than breast addicted hair bags that can’t see beyond a woman’s chest. Also, enough with this calling grown women girls business. It’s as offensive as calling an adult black man a boy.
As if Hooters restaurants aren’t terrible enough on their own! I can just imagine a bunch of Hooters execs sitting around saying to each other: “We got this sexism business on lock, but something’s missing. What happens if we sprinkle some ageism on top of all that tasty sexism? Oh yeah, that’s the ticket, now we’re cooking!”
Notice how the ad perfectly exemplifies the issue of men judging women’s worth based solely on their appearance? The lifeguard is figuratively and literally looking down on these women. Women who are just minding their own damn business, trying to get some exercise. Meanwhile, via the angel/devil owl puppets on his shoulders, Mr. Lifeguard is judging the poor women for having wrinkles and cellulite and for not looking the way he wants all women to look in his pea-sized neanderthal brain. His inner puppets may be calling the women gross, but it’s actually Mr. Lifeguard and his attitude that are the grossest things in the ad (that nasty Hooters food at the end runs a close second).
Speed Stick & DiGiTS
Speaking of class(less)… here we have a cross promotional video between Speed Stick deodorant and the DiGiTS Show. What is the DiGiTS Show? A bunch of dudes who apparently make a living filming the deceit and trickery they use to get women’s phone numbers. In this ad, a guy applies Speed Stick to his pits, then damn near rubs them in the face of some woman on the subway while picking her up.
First off, I can’t believe there’s a group of guys making a living on YouTube filming this crap. I also can’t believe Speed Stick is supporting them. Actually, I take that back. Neither of these things is really that outlandish anymore. So are DiGiTS videos staged or real? I don’t know, but either way they succeed making a joke of men using lies and deceit to
pick up harass women for a number. Even worse, these guys will probably never use the numbers they get (assuming the whole thing isn’t staged). And as we all know; “that’s kind of a dick move.”
This commercial for Portuguese website Vaibater.com (I don’t read Portuguese, but it seems to be some sort of events related site) features a bit of, oh I dunno… DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! I mean, that’s the only thing you can call a man headbutting his wife/lover into unconsciousness so he can go out clubbing or whatever. They even replay the headbutt multiple times just to be sure we know what domestic violence looks like. Thanks guys.
Random Russian Phone Company
Next up we have this series of print ads from Russia. They’re apparently for a phone company, but I couldn’t tell you which one. Half of the ads in the campaign depict men ogling buxom, half naked women, the other half just feature buxom, half naked women. I’ve posted the worst of the ogling men ads here. They’re all pretty bad, but my vote for worst offender goes to the guy in the hotel snapping a picture of the house keeper’s ass… Dominique Strauss-Kahn anyone? Nope, wait. I take that back. The winner by knockout is the ad depicting “natives” staring at a white woman on the beach. It’s like they challenged themselves to offend as many groups of people as possible with that one image. Truly disgusting.
Below each ad you’ll find English translations of the tag line (images and translations via Copyranter) plus a bit of commentary by me:
Crappy American Phone Company (AT&T)
This AT&T commercial features a man lying to a woman at a speed dating event. Much like the “DiGiTS Speed Stick Challenge” from earlier we’ve got a pick-up artist using trickery and lies in order to get what he wants. This time however, he gets caught. Stereotypical male behavior thwarted by technology… I don’t know if I should be thanking AT&T for helping women put a stop to his crap, or getting mad at them for depicting men in such a negative way?
Dr. Pepper 10
Just when you thought Dr Pepper learned from all the complaints about their first sexist Dr. Pepper 10 commercial, they go and drop this “Explosive New Commercial” (their words)… Explosive like diarrhea perhaps. I find this whole theme of “men can’t appreciate the same things women do” stupid. Plus you’ve got that whole “boyz rule, girlz stink, stay out of our tree house” circle jerk vibe going on.
Not only do we have the stereotypical “man who doesn’t really understand his wife” but we’ve also got the very offensive, idiotic and frankly rather dangerous; “blame it on PMS” thing going on in this ad. Thankfully due to public outcry the Got Milk people pulled this ad and issued an apology. Bitch! Magazine sums it up best with this quote:
“Finally! An ad campaign that stereotypes women AND promises to make straight men’s lives easier! Excuse me while I turn red with non-PMS-related rage.”
Because rape jokes are funny… NOT! This ad caused quite the controversy when it came out last year. Not only did they make a very idiotic and offensive rape joke, but the makers of this ad also used, without permission, a still from a video that had absolutely nothing to do with rape, alcohol or anything near what you see depicted here. As with the milk ad, after much public outcry the company pulled this ad and apologized. Too little, too late Belevedere. I won’t be drinking your shitty vodka anytime soon.
Now this just frightens me.
I had a lot to say about guns, Wayne LaPierre and the NRA last week and while they’re not the creators of this campaign their hyper-masculine approach to guns permeates the concept. Fact is, guns have become a symbol of masculinity in this country. You may remember that Jackson Katz pointed this out years ago in his film Tough Guise. Remember as well that the overwhelming majority of mass shooters are men and the problem with advertising guns this way should become clear to you. No matter how you feel about guns and gun ownership, marketing them as a solution to masculinity issues is not only dick-headed, but downright dangerous.
The website for this campaign is down now (thanks to public outcry), but you can see more screen shots of this Bushmaster man card campaign over on Copyranter.