My co-worker’s aunt spotted this gem of an ad in today’s paper. Today’s. Someone actually wrote and approved this ad in 2014.
If you’re having trouble seeing it, basically it’s a clueless young blonde woman blowing on her smoking engine with the tagline: “Don’t let this happen to your wife!” Then an ad for South Coast Ford's “The Works” maintenance package.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to start blogging here regularly again.
I will apologize for our silence over the last (has it really been) a year a half. I can’t speak on Kaitlyn’s behalf, but last year was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. Other stuff took precedence, and consequently a lot of my side projects sort-of suffered a bit.
But, but!, I will endeavor to post here more frequently. What’s more I won’t just be sharing sexist advertisements and posting commentary about them. I also intend to use this space to talk about feminism and sexism as a whole. Though obviously I will be focusing on advertising because, y’know, that’s what this blog is for.
If you have questions, ask ‘em! If you see a sexist ad, send us a photo or a link.
thanks kaityln for the well rounded and level-headed response + expansion regarding the fiat/swiffer ads with the women. i was trying to keep an open mind and have now gained more insight and better perspective as to how negative those commercials may be even if they're "just' commercials
I’m really sorry we haven’t been posting that much - I have a truly bad internet connection that messed up 99% of videos. Additionally, we don’t have cable and just got hulu, so my exposure to tv ads has been at a minimum.
I got moved to full time at my job in April and even before then, working on average over 30 hours a week at a retail job can be exhausting. I’m going back to school in January because I want to stop feeling fried. I make no promises about this blog, at least from me.
how come so many ppl make the argument that it's all in good fun and shes not really an object and its just a commercial; we need to stop making everything so politcally correct and over analytical and just let it be if its not hurting anyoe. what would u say to that?
I’d say that attitudes toward women in ads represent greater ones, they’re a symptom of a greater problem. For example, I’ve seen a swiffer one on Hulu about an older couple together and he says he doesn’t do the cleaning but there has to be an easier way for his wife to mop besides wrestling with buckets and the like. Enter the swiffer!
This is funny? She’s having problems mopping things but he won’t even help.
Media analysis is important because your opinions and ideas about what life should be like are not wholly your own, there are influences and they should be examined.
As for why people get so fucking touchy when you talk about gender roles and misogynist things - it can be seen as an attack. Take that commercial - if I criticize that, you may think I’m attacking your mom who did housework so I’m attacking your mom. You see this with TV shows and movies - you’re criticizing something people like and it’s easy to get hurt when something you really like is not praised. (that’s why I don’t reviews of bad movies i truly like. I don’t need or want to see it)
Hi,i'm french, i live in Paris (pardon my awfull english). I saw stickers (made of paper) in the subway on sexists ads which were saying your "logo": si votre produit était bon, vous n'auriez pas besoin de sexisme pour le vendre. I found it so right, as a woman. i wondered if you were behind this, if there is a group in France and i wondered how join your group and do it myself (put stickers)? Thank you for your answer and for your website!
Hello! Nothing to do with us - we’re all based in America. Our blog’s title is a not-uncommon phrase, so it’s likely someone else translated it into French and started slapping stickers on sexist ads (which, obviously, we support 100%).
I posted about this a while ago; here’s another great perspective. I feel obligated to share the fact that a friend of mine is the Levi’s visual merchandising director and has asked each store to do Commuter displays on female mannequins. A good start, but they’re still men’s jeans. Anyway.
So I’ve been thinking about getting a new pair of jeans as the only pair of “denim” I own is a pair of too-short, too-thin “jeans” I bought for 10 bucks at Forever 21 last year. I use jeans in quotations because I think they’re more spandex than anything else. I wanted a pair of jeans that were both hard-wearing and somewhat flattering and my mind immediately turned to Levi’s. Thanks probably to media conditioning starting from when I was a young child, I associate Levi’s with all things American, hard-working, and made to last. I remember going to Dillard’s every year or so to pick out a new pair (“Mom! I need 501’s! Not 506!” [or whatever number I preferred]). As I started to search this weekend online, I remembered Levi’s had introduced a commuter line, specifically marketed for cyclist commuters. Wow, waterproof pants with all sorts of cyclist friendly features such as a U-lock holster, reflective tape inside the cuff, and a higher waist? I could finally start carrying my U-lock! I could bike on rainy days! Here’s the (seemingly) warm and fuzzy inducing video:
Seems great right? Shots of people biking through urban areas (yep, I do that), hauling bikes over their shoulder up stairs (yep, I do that), and biking through the rain (yep, i do that too!). The fabric repels odor? Cool, I rarely wear deodorant and I rarely do my laundry. BUT WAIT. Where are the women?
Cycling, especially commuting by bicycle, is still a male-dominated activity and advertising and campaigns still cater to this demographic. Even as numbers of cycling commuters increase, the gender gap continues to grow. More and more men are commuting by bike but women are doing less so (From a presentation by Elly Blue or “Take the Lane” and one of my very favorite bike activists who I had the great pleasure meeting earlier this year). She also came up this with Bechdel-like test to expose sexism in bike advertising. Are women presented at all? Are they active, rather than passive? If the gender was reversed would the message remain unchanged? I think this advertisement set well illustrates the problem: males modeling jerseys are shown riding bikes through mud and rain, while women modeling are among stylized graphic flowers wearing billowing silk scarves. Gross. There’s also blatant hyper-sexualization of female cyclists like this strange advertisement that features a sexy nurse pumping up a tire. And let’s talk about street harassment for just a moment: not a day goes by that I am not made to feel uncomfortable by cat-callers while I ride my bike. Further, it’s just plain unsafe. If a driver honks at me, I turn and start looking around to make sure I’m not inhibiting traffic or about to get killed. When someone is just honking because they want a piece of ass, I’m super pissed.
The cycling community itself is still rife with sexism. The fixed-gear scene is a bit of Boy’s Club. It’s totally male dominated. On one hand, I thrive on the challenge on proving I can ride just as hard or as fast as anyone and that I can keep up with the best of them. There’s is nothing quite as rewarding as knowing I’m going HAM. But it shouldn’t be this way. From what I’ve seen, only a select few women have been able to make it in the “scene” and have been accepted by male peers. Maybe this means we need to step up and ride harder, or maybe we need a cultural change. So the other hand is that there’s a sort of fetish-ization (is that a word? Do you know what I mean?) of women riding fixed. When I first started riding a track bike, I felt like a demi-goddess. Male cyclists everywhere were giving me attention. At first it felt like respect. But I don’t think that’s what it is. When some people find out that I ride fixed, I get put on a sort of pedestal, not necessarily because I’m a great cyclists or because they respect me but, in the choice words of a particular male cyclist, “that’s sexy as hell”. Sure, track bikes are sexy. If someone tells me they ride fixed, I generally think they are 89% sexier than they actually are. But that might not necessarily be the most healthy attitude. Finally, I think I’ve adopted some internalized misogyny. When a girl rides by on a track bike set up on a freewheel, I sneer a little because somehow I am “better” because of my riding style.
TL;DR: I guess I’m still working this out in my head, but ultimately what I’m trying to say is that sexism is a huge hurdle for the cycling community that’s being perpetuated by advertisers and our own members of the scene.
For a long time, Betabrand had similar “bike to work” pants but only for men. I just checked and I guess they’ve finally introduced a few pairs for women. I subscribe to Thrillist, and last week, they had an article about pants that look like nice work pants but feel like sweatpants on the inside. Hallelujah! I clicked through the article and imagine my surprise when it turns out they only have them for men.
Like the OP said: yes, a woman can buy men’s pants and wear them. But they usually aren’t cut right and don’t really look that good. It all plays into the “male as neutral” thing that’s so pervasive in our society that most people won’t even admit it exists. When you make a new product, you make it for men only, and you never have to mention that in your ads or sponsored articles. Us ladies are a “special interest group” when it comes to clothing.
This is in reply to the last anon about why jokes about men are not sexist. The difference between making a kitchen joke about women and making a joke about men being immature is the fact that noone truly believes all men are immature But there are a lot of people who actually believe women belong in the kitchen. So making sexist jokes about women is truly harmful as the thing that the joke is implying has been used to oppress women. A man's level of maturity has never been used to oppress them
Re Men not being the victims of sexism, and how it is how the term is defined, Your example of men not doing housework is not the only possible sexism with regard to men and society. If the joke is instead,"what is the difference between men and bonds? Bonds Mature", your argument fails. You cannot say they are not the targets of sexism then, or that it somehow reinforces a patriarchal form. Immature men are not knowledgeable or powerful or decision makers as the patriarchal form would have it.
I saw a great thing about men and women - jokes like that are targeted at “men” while sexist jokes are frequently against individual women.
Immature men still have power, even over mature women.
so i've been silently following for awhile, not that i agree with either side because i've actually never thought about that much, but it has got me thinking (which i guess is good?). in the side bar y'all say ads target men and woman the makes them look like sexual objects or stupid i guess i was just wondering if y'all don't think men are actually being shown as stupid or sexual objects.
Men are occasionally portrayed as sexual objects in adverts targeted at women, usually for something like perfume, or diet sodas. It’s nowhere near as prolific as the objectification of women, mind. If a man isn’t being terrible at household chores, he’s usually being presented as a power fantasy (see: literally every Axe/Lynx commercial ever made).
It’s similar to comic books. People usually try to combat the argument that women are presented almost exclusively as sexual objects in comics by pointing to the muscular build of most male characters. The key difference is that female comic book characters are designed - usually by men - to look fuckable, while female characters exist as a power fantasy (Shortpacked! demonstrated this perfectly last year).
(White) men are not systematically oppressed or ignored in our society. I don't personally believe that the concept of sexism against men makes sense, only prejudice. (Because men have privilege and benefit from sexism) Just like racism against white people doesn't make sense.
Exactly. You can’t say “Gender roles are bullshit” and dismiss the notion that it’s about dominance and privilege. If it weren’t about dominance, if the privilege didn’t exist, then nor would the sexism. They’re all part of the same terrible machinery.
Gender roles are bullshit, we agree on such. However, now the argument that "woman don't fix cars" is a sexist statement is no longer valid. There is no dominance in that sentence, "men don't do housework" is the same principle. Saying men cannot be victims of sexism is on the same level of saying that certain races of human beings cannot be victims of racism. Double standards are what causes these rifts in society to grow.
Firstly, some Racism 101 - you can’t be racist against white people in a society that views white as the norm. Similarly, you cannot be sexist against men in a society that views men as more important than women. The fact that America is still, in 2012, locked in debates about what constitutes “legitimate rape”, and how certain parties want to ban birth control and abortion seems pretty indicative of what sort of society we’re living in today.
The assumption that women don’t fix cars, work on computers or do sciency stuff because they’re not smart enough, and that men don’t do housework because that’s what women are for, is entirely about dominance. That’s what gender roles are all about, in the end. It’s about one gender keeping the other under their thumb, and men have been doing exactly that to women for the majority of history.
Men cannot be the direct victims of sexism. Chances are they never will be. I won’t say there isn’t prejudice against men, because that definitely exists, but so long as men hold the power there will never be sexism against them.
"When someone makes a “men can’t do housework” joke, it’s not a sexist joke about men." So this statement right here, is in fact sexist. Because as you just stated "There is nothing men and women are “for”". I do not deny that women are subjected more to sexism, but the definition of sexism is stereotyping and discrimination based on sex, though it is used to apply to women more than men. No where does it say "just woman." To say sexism only affects woman is ridiculous.
The dictionary definition of sexism is not what sexism is in the real world - sexism involves power and (cis) men have power.
When I said there’s nothing men and women are “for” I mean gender essentialism is bullshit.
Have you seen the new advert for Snickers? It's set in male changing rooms and there is a a 'nagging' lady who then gets told to eat a snickers, then turns back into a man. The slogan is get some nuts! ...
I don’t mind the ones where the line is “you’re not you when you’re hungry” - the first ones were of 20somethings acting like divas - Liza Minelli, Aretha Franklin - not sexist, especially since others followed with well known male actors.
Regarding that last ask, that idea that car repair is “Men’s Work” stems from the idea that women are too weak, feeble and simple-minded to wrap their heads around the inside of an engine. Which, by the way, is the same reason boys get chemistry and geology sets from their grandparents at Christmas, while girls get dolls and toy ironing boards.
Maybe the anons are getting confused by what sexism actually is. Because sexism is institutional, and because the world we live in is patriarchal, sexism affects women because they are the ones degraded by the patriarchal system, not men. Although men can suffer from other types of discrimination and negative stereotyping, they don't suffer from sexism because discrimination and stereotypes are not institutional in the same way.
This neatly sums it up. Thanks, Anonymous. Thanonymous.
So you don't believe men can be victims of sexism?
That depends on how you wish to define victims. They are not the targets of sexism. When someone makes a “men can’t do housework” joke, it’s not a sexist joke about men but rather a reinforcement of the patriarchal (and, obviously, sexist) idea that men don’t do housework because that’s what women are for.
Did you see the commercial for that Liquid-Plumr declogger shit? That double impact one, where two buff guys knock and say "I'm here to snake your drain" and the other says "I'm here to flush your pipes"... ?
I didn’t, but I’ll have a look when I get home from work!
How is it not considered sexist if men are put down for doing "women's work" in the home? What about those commercials where the wife tells her husband he sucks at folding laundry? Or the olympic commercials that supported "Olympian Mom's," what about the fathers? Since when do fathers not have love and support for their children? Since when do fathers not want to take care of their own children? I truly believe men suffer sexist remarks and behaviors in domestic situations.
These remarks and advertisements are based on the patriarchal notion that women are ideal for these roles, not men. You don’t see Tide commercials with men competently doing the laundry or Fairy Liquid ads where the boyfriend isn’t doing a half-arsed job of washing the dishes because, again, society deems those jobs to be “women’s work” - a man would never need to be good at those jobs, because they’re not for him.
Men, like women, are victims of the patriarchy, but they are not on the receiving end of sexism.
I can’t speak for Kaitlyn’s perspective on the matter (she writes the lion’s share of posts these days) but my feeling - I’m Ben, by the way - is that sexism against women has a knock-on effect on men as well.
Women are the ones who society views as more capable of cooking, cleaning, looking after children, homemaking, that sort of thing. Men who are mocked for doing these things are victims of the patriarchy but they are not victims of sexism against men.
does it bother you that woman's razors come with a ridiculous amount of blades and a bar of soap around it so that they don't cut themselves, but men's razors are a simple three blades. Like it's almost saying that women are too stupid to shave, they will cut themselves, but not men.
I always thought of it as useful because women usually have more skin to shave and I find it a pain in the ass to lather up my legs, so the soap makes it easier.
I don’t know if this works for your blog since it’s not about an ad itself, but I actually saw one (photo session, small one) taking place while at a scenic park, and- they experienced some difficulties from male pedestrians. It was just two photographers taking pictures of a woman posing against a wall; she was fully clothed, just standing dramatically. There were maybe three other people there to take care of lighting and a wind machine, minor adjustments.
There was also a group of six or so men, standing around and staring. They were in an age range of 20-40, with a group of four 20-24 year olds who arrived together and random businessmen/joggers who stopped and just stared at the woman. And they didn’t just stare for a few minutes; no, it was much worse then that.
See, the photo shoot was taking place near a relatively small lake; it takes about ten minutes to walk around. I walked around that lake four times. The men were there every time I walked around. By the second time, you could tell the model and the photographers were uncomfortable. Two of the businessmen/joggers left. The 20-24 year olds, however, had gotten closer. They had stopped trying to even pretend that their being there was a coincidence; they just stood around, right next to the photographers, just- looking.Some of them even pointed at the woman; as if the other’s couldn’t see “her ass” or “her boobs” despite their having the past twenty or so minutes to find them, and as if the woman herself wouldn’t notice them pointing.
On my third time around, I could see the photographers talking to the model in hushed tones; by the fourth time, they’d moved to the other side of the lake.
The men had followed them.
I don’t know what happened after that, but it’s still completely shocking to me that the men thought this was okay. It was like they thought she was already a picture in a magazine, and would be totally cool with them staring at her. They didn’t seem to notice how uncomfortable it made her, (and her coworkers) or if they did, they didn’t care.
I'm actually really happy to hear that American Apparel is steadily losing business and having to close down stores. The way they try to sell sex to make up for their bland clothing no doubt been their downfall. Not everyone wants to enter a store and see half naked men spraying you with cologne. Or want to take pictures with some hot girls. I hope they've learned their lesson and would stop this blatant objectification of the human body.
I’d like to be that optimistic, but if they still have the same leadership, I don’t know if they’ll change.
Since the Klondike Bar commercial got a lot of attention, I just want to add that the Peanuts animated Cartoons got that whole "listening to someone you don't want to" thing pretty good; the kids in the cartoons all speak understandable words. Every adult's words on the other hand, are "Wah wah wah wah wah." And I'm asking anonymously because I'm embarassed by my tumblr handle, and can't figure out how to change it to something more adult. WW
Great example, thanks!
And to change your handle, go to the settings page of your tumblr - below the option to change your display pic, there’s one for changing your url to something more adult.
to the anon about choosing principle over job: i used to be a fetish and pinup model. no, i do not believe i was harming my entire gender because my sexuality and my gender are not inherently in need of being hidden away and stifled. if i would like to be viewed in a sexual light, i am going to do so because it's my body, my life, my rules. some of us ENJOY being seen in a sexual light, some of the time. you can look, you just can't touch.