Sexism Knows No Gender

A car commercial aired during the most recent Super Bowl — what else is new? Apparently this car commercial ruffled some feathers due to its sexist message — again, what else is new?

That was exactly what one expects: A fairly stupid, one-dimensional car commercial aimed directly at men. Given that the audience for the Super Bowl is predominantly male (about 60% male viewership, if not more), it’s understandable. Someone (I’d assume a woman, but I really shouldn’t assume such things) was so disgruntled at this ad that s/he made their own parody of it.

I didn’t like the original ad and its message, and this lampoon doesn’t make things better. All it conveys is that women can be just as — if not more — angry, sexist and whiney as an ego-driven, male-focused car commercial. Hate and exclusionary remarks do not cancel out hate.

Think about it this way: Imagine some racist black guy is making a stink and calling all the white people he meets “honkies” and “crackers.” Instead of ignoring his racist remarks or confronting him in an enlightened and instructive manner, a white guy comes up to him and calls him “nigger.”

Using “revenge” as your go-to tactic when countering bigotry benefits no one. Fighting sexism by being even more sexist doesn’t mean you won the battle.

But kidnapping and torturing a sexist bigot is pretty sound and foolproof.

“But Boone,” you say in a highfalutin tone, “This parody ad is satire — it’s supposed to be funny. It’s making fun of the sexist message of the original commercial through direct opposition. Or are you too stupid to realize that?”

Fair enough, I guess,… although you didn’t have to call me stupid. However, before you say anything else, keep this in mind: I completely forgot about the original Dodge commercial ten minutes after I saw it. It wasn’t visually interesting, it was too long (for a commercial), it had a weak message and worst of all, it wasn’t funny. Thanks to the parody, not only was I reminded of the original commercial again — a commercial that my mind naturally thought wasn’t worthy enough of any brain space — but I remembered that it was promoting the new Dodge Charger.

I work in the advertising industry. You know that saying about there being no such thing as bad publicity? It’s 100% true. By even watching this parody you are giving attention to the lame Dodge ad. Those who were unaware of the original ad now have to see it to see what the buzz is about. Interest spikes, online views quadruple and the advertisers are promoted for making such an effective ad. Regardless of whether it’s negative or not, as Paris Hilton has proved, any attention is good attention.

Barely literate, and yet she had a book deal. Unbelievable.

Essentially, this parody ad shouldn’t have been made. Attention is brought to a problem in the least constructive way possible. Instead of denouncing sexism by being even more sexist and belittling your message, how about you try approaching the topic in a more productive manner? Contact the advertisers or the manufacturer and tell them about how displeased you were with their ad. Boycott Dodge vehicles and tell your friends/relatives about how much they suck. Hold a rally, attend a seminar about gender inclusion, write a blog post — anything would be better than to encourage the parody’s views of reinforced gender stereotypes and then laugh it off. Sexism isn’t that funny.

In a perfect world, ads would be gender-neutral and enjoyed by all. The Dodge commercial and its accompanying spoof only show how far off we are from that world.

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EDIT: There. Now I fixed the ads.

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3 Responses to Sexism Knows No Gender

  1. Darby says:

    I hadn’t seen the Dodge ad until you posted it here, and I have to agree – it’s not very good. I mute commercials, and if this one had come on, I wouldn’t know what the hell it was about. And because – as you pointed out – it’s visually boring as shit, I wouldn’t be compelled to un-mute. The voice over actor wasn’t even good. For crissakes, you’re spending tens of millions on airing this stupid thing during the Super Bowl; the least you could do is get Maurice LaMarche or the voice of god guy who does movie trailers.

    I think in some cases satire is effective at generating bad publicity. Look at Sarah Palin. I think Tina Fey’s impression really helped solidify the judgment in most American minds (the sane ones) that Palin shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House. Or any other system of government.

    The publicity also made Sarah more famous, but is that “good” publicity, then? It profited Palin, who (like Hilton) got a book deal in spite of her willful illiteracy. But whatever was left of McCain’s presidential campaign was drowned mercilessly, like a sackful of kittens…old, moronic, racist kittens.

    This Dodge ad may be more well-known now, but does it naturally follow then that more people will buy whatever piece of shit vehicle was being advertised? (I didn’t catch which vehicle it was myself, and I only know it’s Dodge because of the ad title.)

    I agree that the ad yuk-yuks who wrote this thing will probably be seen by their higher-ups as successful – whether or not they really were – merely because of the increased level of publicity. But bad publicity is definitely possible, especially when you’re talking about products rather than attention-hogging people who can land talk show gigs.

    Look at Toyota’s current situation. Sure, more people know about the Prius now that millions of vehicles are being recalled, and it’s covered on the news frequently. But sales are dropping like a barrel full of kittens. Efficient, quiet, nicely designed kittens. It may take a while for the company’s tarnished reputation to be repaired.

    I didn’t watch the parody ad, but I’m guessing it wasn’t funny for you (and wouldn’t be for me) because it wasn’t any different from the regular ad. Satire only works if you point out the flaw in the original by turning it on its head. Replacing one form of sexism with another is NOT turning the situation around. It’s just repetition.

    If they felt this commercial merited a parody (and I’m not sure it did; it IS pretty forgettable), it should have been written with male actors again, but with men saying the reverse of what the other dorks said, or making the original argument 100% on the nose; i.e. “I resent having to listen to my girlfriend’s opinion, so I need my car to embody my pent-up, hostile misogyny,” or, “This Dodge whatever-the-hell-this-thing-is makes me feel like a real man, because I’m too insecure to feel like a man without 2 tons of steel vibrating beneath my ass.”

    And so on.

    This type of parody would also be better in that it wouldn’t be insulting to men. It would be insulting those whom it SHOULD insult – the bozos who think all men are sexist enough to respond to an ad hostile toward women. It mocks the sexist message, rather than men as a whole (who really had little to do with the message).

    This satire would also have the advantage of superseding the original in people’s minds, to some extent, because the images could be almost the same. The voice over would be the only different part. People would start to think Dodge made a super sexist ad…which they did…which is the point of parody. To expose the true nature of the original by kicking it up a notch. Like you would a kitten going up the stairs too slowly.

  2. Darby says:

    Is my response longer than your blog entry? Hm. I must be really opinionated.

  3. susan says:

    The ad isn’t just sexist. It whimpers that men should rebel from being people. The woman’s rebuttal however, is just that. It takes the usual, “Blow it off honey, it was just a stupid joke” and turns it on it’s head. The ad redux brings up real issues. The Dodge ad whines. It isn’t the same as someone retorting slurs. It is done in a completely different context. In fact, women should thank Dodge for being so incredibly sexist – it basically could just run as a parody of itself.

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