You're Damn Right I Can.

A note I posted on facebook in November 2008:

Why Sexist Beer (etc) Ads Piss Me Off

•Resorting to stereotypes is no less lazy than resorting to sex, and at least sometimes ads using sex are creative, but recycling prejudices and outdated and/or offensive negative perceptions is just repeating something that has already been said, and is no longer relevant (or never was). Besides, I would certainly argue that sex itself is a much healthier thing than sexism.

•It portrays women as less intelligent, second hand citizens, that are simply an inconvenience and obstacle in the path of the desires of men.

•It reinforces the validation of misogyny as part of a culture of fraternity, and portrays it not only as acceptable, but also "cool." It sells the negative idea along with the product.

•It alienates a large group of people who are potential or actual consumers.

•Exclusion is never positive, and women are still excluded, belittled, devalued, and mistreated in society, with a blind eye so often turned.

•Women are not a minority, but so many still accept this kind of treatment. There are too many problems that affect women in society for us to continue to accept any kind of additional belittlement. If we don't have the courage to start out strong facing the larger issues, surely we can speak out against prejudice and stereotypes as a starting point. We are individual people more than women, and we have good, strong qualities, as well as flaws like anyone else. There is no need to reinforce negative stereotypes that some people already subscribe to as fact, when as a society, we should all be fighting to diminish "isms" of all kinds.

•It encourages everyone to treat the issue as a laughing matter, women included. Many women (more importantly than men) adopt the attitude that those concerned by it are overreacting, and that it is "no big deal," They adopt this attitude not because they agree with the portrayal, or don't mind being thought of as frivolous or dumb, but because they don't want to be further marginalized and ostracized for speaking out. In order to feel like part of the group that has just ridiculed them, they permit the behaviour and make no point of speaking for themselves.

•Because in this culture in 2008, there is no reason why I should have felt like some might have thought I was being a "bitch" or "emotional" or anything of the sort the day I was the only one to raise my hand in class to say "yes, it does bother me a little," and that while I could accept the fact that it is part of mainstream humour, I didn't think it was a positive thing.


  1. So... out of curiosity, what ad was it that spurred this? I know it's not a terribly uncommon thing, but I was wondering if it a single, especially egregious incident, or if it was just one more in a pile; the last straw, as it were.

  2. It had to do with a teacher showing an ad in class that was sexist. I'll have to find the one and post it. Generally, I'm not oversensitive to this kind of thing, and I can laugh alongside everyone else.

    What really bothered me was the setting the ad was shown in (advertising classroom), the context of the discussion that followed (saying anyone bothered by the jokes was uptight), and the fact that nobody else spoke up. I think it's fine to have a laugh at a beer ad, it's not the end of the world.

    The problem was that some people acted annoyed that I said it is offensive (but added that I don't care, just it *is*), and it's a course where we're supposed to learn to make good advertising. Well, it may be funny, but it's not original, it ostracizes a chunk of beer drinkers (women), and it's easy as hell to get laughs out of stereotypes that have already been beaten to death and joked about. It just seemed lazy and pointless, and I expected more of my classmates.