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Got PMS? Get Milk.
July 22, 2011 7:06 AM   Subscribe

The Got Milk? folks new ad campaign was apparently too offensive for a lot of women. Who knew milk was so controversial? The video on this page (2 mins) contains the actual ad from the latest Got Milk campaign. It was targeted to men on how milk can alleviate PMS symptoms and make both of your lives better. After much criticism, it was pulled.
posted by Kokopuff (95 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Ooooh how I hated those ads. Who thought portraying women as shrewish, irrational and borderline-abusive was either funny or good advertising?
posted by subbes at 7:09 AM on July 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Viral outrage? This is a little much. Smells like Pepsi Blue to me.
posted by koeselitz at 7:09 AM on July 22, 2011


I can assure you it wasn't just offensive to women.
posted by griphus at 7:12 AM on July 22, 2011 [27 favorites]


I saw a picture of the posters last week and thought it was a gag from the Onion or something. I didn't realize they were a real campaign. Who thought this would be a good idea? Ha-ha, women are psychotic bitches, men are cowed, better drink some milk!
posted by uncleozzy at 7:15 AM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thank god for that. Get rid of them!

koeselitz, what do you mean?
posted by AmandaA at 7:16 AM on July 22, 2011


I think koeselitz is implying the ads were calculatedly offensive so that people would spread the word about them, and that this is just another of the marketing strategy.
posted by griphus at 7:19 AM on July 22, 2011


Say, did you know that men can also lactate?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:22 AM on July 22, 2011


Hadn't seen these ads, nor heard about them. But this is my 'meh' face. They're cute. I've certainly seen more offensive and, further, I have seen more offensive ads be lauded for their humor and creativity. Treating essentially benign topics as sacrosanct and above poking occasional fun at leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

Hey, I've got an idea...let's get riled up about the legions of daytime TV ads that cast all men under a blanket of "helpless, oafish buffoon that would be completely unable to attend to even basic personal hygiene without the assistance of the saintly wife".

We won't -- and we don't even need to go into the semantic acrobatics of defining one set of ads as the language of the oppressor and one as the shared language of the disenfranchised. Because it is. not. worth. it. It's advertising. It speaks to a target. If you're not that target, don't laugh, don't buy the product, move on.

Busybodies need more to do.
posted by kaseijin at 7:24 AM on July 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


the ads were calculatedly offensive

Yes, if the ad didn't go viral, I wouldn't know about this "milk" product.
posted by swift at 7:24 AM on July 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


Yeah, that's what I mean, griphus. The fact that the only link we have here is a slick, well-designed "we've apologized!" web site is an indication that somebody was planning this outrage.

It's kind of brilliant when you think about it, actually. Intentionally manufacture ads that are obviously and blatantly obnoxious, and then make a big show of how you apologized. It gets people talking in a viral way, and that's all you really want in the end, right?

Either way, I almost wish we weren't giving them hits. Ugh.
posted by koeselitz at 7:25 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


There hasn't been an actually good milk ad since "Ahum Buhh!"
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:27 AM on July 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


Damn that Michael Bay.
posted by koeselitz at 7:28 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Geez, as a 50 year old man, I'm offended by the quote on the website that implies I am not an actual man!
posted by The Deej at 7:28 AM on July 22, 2011


Really, though, I don't think it will affect milk consumption much. The milk marketing boards all seem to have money to burn, so they just let their agencies run wild with annoying promotions.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:29 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Further... having worked in advertising for...uh...too long, now, I can emphatically assure everybody that nobody -- no creative director, no art director, no account exec -- wants to intentionally put out a campaign that will have to be pulled.

Bad ideas sometimes gestate in "war rooms" that amount to tiny little echo chambers. When they do, you just have to put the best possible spin on it. That's all that's going on here. They had an idea. It was kinda meh. It backfired horribly.

And now, I have to applaud their handling of it after the blow-up. Well done, there...well done.
posted by kaseijin at 7:29 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw the ad on TV recently. While it wouldn't surprise me to find out it was intended to make both men and women look stupid, I'd be equally unsurprised to find out it was created and approved out of utter cluelessness.
posted by rtha at 7:31 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, I've got an idea...let's get riled up about the legions of daytime TV ads that cast all men under a blanket of "helpless, oafish buffoon that would be completely unable to attend to even basic personal hygiene without the assistance of the saintly wife".

We won't


Buh? I don't know where they are, but there have been at least two posts on Metafilter in the last couple of years about this very topic. There is a lot of being up-riled.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:33 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, if the ad didn't go viral, I wouldn't know about this "milk" product.

See, that's exactly it. This has been their problem forever: how the fuck do you advertise the concept of milk? It's not a brand thing, so you're pretty much trying to have a succesful ad campaign for "pants." There's only so many ways you can say "wearing pants is awesome!" and "you ought to wear pants!" until you start going on the offensive, if you pardon the pun.
posted by griphus at 7:37 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


kaseijin: "Bad ideas sometimes gestate in "war rooms" that amount to tiny little echo chambers."

Echo Chambers you say?
Grapist (SLYT)...
Kid Beer(SLYT)
Nutrific (Transcript - can't find a clip)
posted by symbioid at 7:38 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pants make you bitchy and irrational.
posted by Babblesort at 7:39 AM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


And yeah - the uh... "grapist" if it wasn't obvious could be seen as potentially triggery...
posted by symbioid at 7:40 AM on July 22, 2011


koeselitz: "Yeah, that's what I mean, griphus. The fact that the only link we have here is a slick, well-designed "we've apologized!" web site is an indication that somebody was planning this outrage."

Outrage ads work well in certain industries. They are rarely effective when it comes to selling food, unless the product being sold is already in some way controversial. The Got Milk campaign is one of the most respected in the industry, and is well-known as a positive campaign. It seems unlikely that this was created to deliberately foment outrage. Some clueless ad execs probably thought it was funny.
posted by zarq at 7:40 AM on July 22, 2011


I can assure you it wasn't just offensive to women.

It was offensive to milk
posted by the noob at 7:40 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, manufactured outrage, or at least a situation where they were well-prepared for and half-anticipating the backlash.

Swift makes a good point there, though, that it seems like it can't be for the purpose of advertising the product itself... so this campaign is actually a vehicle just for disseminating the sole message that some studies found statistically correlative benefits to dairy consumption for PMS?

It seems like, if they don't need to elevate the recognition of the product itself or any brand name, they're at the point where just emphasizing particular positive factoid-hypotheses about the product is the goal of the marketing effort. Now we've got this gestalt info-tainment-advertising shoggoth of commerciality eating our collective mindshare. Kill it! Kill it with fire!
posted by XMLicious at 7:43 AM on July 22, 2011


...there have been at least two posts on Metafilter in the last couple of years about this very topic... -- uncleozzy

Perhaps, then, I should have said I won't. Perhaps my point was unclear: that there is just as much "offensive" fun being poked at the opposite gender, and it is every bit as pointless to get your feathers ruffled over it.

The folks griping about that are every bit as shrill.
posted by kaseijin at 7:49 AM on July 22, 2011


Is it just me, or did the humorless outrage over the campaign make (some) women look even more bitchy and shrewish than the actual campaign itself?
posted by pjdoland at 7:50 AM on July 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Probably just you.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:51 AM on July 22, 2011 [58 favorites]


Treating essentially benign topics as sacrosanct

The topic "Women are such crazy hormonal bitchez, amirite?" is sacrosanct?

And whether this was a calculated-outrage series or not, it's had one effect on me; making my switch to almond/soy milks permanents. I was having occasional bouts of temptation, but hey thanks Milk Board, not anymore!

Now if someone would just run equally offensive ads for all the other shit that's bad for you to eat, I would probably be pretty damn healthy.
posted by emjaybee at 7:57 AM on July 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


argh permanent, not permanents. I haz a case of plurals.
posted by emjaybee at 8:00 AM on July 22, 2011


Stupid Milk Board ads or no, I am not giving up my delicious, delicious Straus Family cream-on-top milk. It makes your coffee look like there's melted butter in it!
posted by rtha at 8:04 AM on July 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Now if someone would just run equally offensive ads for all the other shit that's bad for you to eat...

"It's mighty white of you to enjoy our White Castle hamburgers!"

"Don't get jewed. Come in for our bottomless BLT special, only at Applebee's"

"A salad? Hold off there, nancy boy, this is T.G.I. Friday's, where the second steak is on the house!"
posted by griphus at 8:05 AM on July 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Treating essentially benign topics as sacrosanct

I don't know about you, but as a woman-type-person I get really, really tired of the endless lulz to be found in suggesting that I am an abusive, hormone-driven shrew who is always out to ruin her partner's boyish good times. I am equally tired of being cast as the boring-yet-prudent bearer of good manners who corrects "her" man when he gets childish and makes sure that he bathes/takes medicine. I get tired of these as recurring themes in ads, I get tired of them as recurring themes in movies, comics and TV.

And a message that gets repeated and repeated and repeated sinks in. Oh, it's not that everyone consciously and literally believes every word of advertising, but it does affect your worldview.

I, for example, am hot-tempered and careless and have no interest in policing conversations about sex or body humor....yet I find myself going into "Oh, you're so awful!!!" stereotypically feminine mode, etc etc, something I attribute to years of media-based "learning" about how women act. I notice too that the more "feminine" my social position is - am I wearing a skirt? am I in a really gender-concious group? - the more I go into "oh, boys!" mode. When I'm among equals who aren't super into gender as a defining category, I'm crabby, careless, funny and forgetful like normal.
posted by Frowner at 8:07 AM on July 22, 2011 [42 favorites]


"McDonald's. Proudly killing poor people for over 50 years!"

Oh, wait...
posted by subbes at 8:07 AM on July 22, 2011


"The topic 'Women are such crazy hormonal bitchez, amirite?' is sacrosanct?"

Apparently, yes - it is. At least enough to generate sufficient outrage required to get an advertising campaign pulled.

Look, I'm not saying it's tasteful, right? I'm just saying it's on par with a whole slew of other ads that we see every day and pay little attention to, with a reaction that seems a bit out of whack, considering.

If that doesn't indicate this particular topic being somehow more verboten than others, then I honestly don't know what does.
posted by kaseijin at 8:08 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I do agree that bigotry is tasteless, but I'm not sure I agree that that's the biggest problem with promoting bigotry...
posted by Karmakaze at 8:10 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, I've got an idea...let's get riled up about the legions of daytime TV ads that cast all men under a blanket of "helpless, oafish buffoon that would be completely unable to attend to even basic personal hygiene without the assistance of the saintly wife".

And... 18 minutes!

Is it just me, or did the humorless outrage over the campaign make (some) women look even more bitchy and shrewish than the actual campaign itself?

I wish it was just you.
posted by kmz at 8:18 AM on July 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Ha. I agree with Jezebel: "Telling men they're victims of PMS sure is an interesting way to sell milk."

After the original study came out, it's bizarre that they skipped the whole angle of marketing to women in order to allieviate their own PMS. Maybe not as calculatedly outrage-inducing, but surely effective in another way?
posted by Nixy at 8:29 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Look, I'm not saying it's tasteful, right? I'm just saying it's on par with a whole slew of other ads that we see every day and pay little attention to, with a reaction that seems a bit out of whack, considering.

"Considering"...how you aren't affected, and kind of think women are in fact getting hysterical over nothing?

Calling out sexism/racism/bigotry is the job of people who care about ending those. Even stupid and inane forms of them. Because evil is often banal, and trite, and ridiculous--that doesn't make it less wrong.

And because oppression does not spring out of nowhere; it grows out of low-level, everyday idiocy and ignorance and hatred. You can't get rid of the weeds if you concentrate on what's above ground but leave the roots.
posted by emjaybee at 8:36 AM on July 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


What are men supposed to be doing with this message? Force-feeding milk down their girlfriends' gullets whenever they come across a receipt for tampons?

Someone tell me that CNN clip was fake.
posted by Summer at 8:39 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


seriously, all the ads these days are rips on one group or another. pathetic.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:08 AM on July 22, 2011


Goodyear ad
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:09 AM on July 22, 2011


Hey, I've got an idea...let's get riled up about the legions of daytime TV ads that cast all men under a blanket of "helpless, oafish buffoon that would be completely unable to attend to even basic personal hygiene without the assistance of the saintly wife".

Feminists critique those ads as well.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:15 AM on July 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


seriously, all the ads these days are rips on one group or another. pathetic.

I'm not sure which end of this you're arguing -- whether it's "pathetic" that they're all doing this (with which I agree) or people's issues with it are "pathetic" -- but if it is the latter, show me a single even remotely anti-Semitic ad in national media.
posted by griphus at 9:21 AM on July 22, 2011


seriously, all the ads these days are rips on one group or another. pathetic.

I'm not sure which end of this you're arguing -- whether it's "pathetic" that they're all doing this (with which I agree) or people's issues with it are "pathetic" -- but if it is the latter, show me a single even remotely anti-Semitic ad in national media.


Pathetic that they are doing the ads. There are none that are anti-semitic. and none that are anti-black, unless you count political ads like that California one for the GOP candidate.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:27 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone tell me that CNN clip was fake.

Summer, my first thought was, "I wonder how much they had to pay CNN to put their logo behind these actresses..."

But now I think: CNN is pretty fake sometimes, anyway.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:29 AM on July 22, 2011


I, for example, am hot-tempered and careless and have no interest in policing conversations about sex or body humor....yet I find myself going into "Oh, you're so awful!!!" stereotypically feminine mode, etc etc, something I attribute to years of media-based "learning" about how women act. I notice too that the more "feminine" my social position is - am I wearing a skirt? am I in a really gender-concious group? - the more I go into "oh, boys!" mode. When I'm among equals who aren't super into gender as a defining category, I'm crabby, careless, funny and forgetful like normal.

Humans behave differently depending on context, in ways subtle and profound. We're a rather adaptive species in that way.
posted by effugas at 9:31 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even putting aside whether this particular campaign is offensive (I'm not sure I can be bothered to care about something this idiotic, but yes, I suppose it's officially offensive), I applaud its withdrawal on the basis that it is painfully lame. And yes, I feel exactly the same way about "Dad orders a pizza because he can't even make a grilled cheese sandwich har har har" ads.

It offends me as comedy as much as it offends me as commentary.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:36 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Milk may help with PMS, but, interestingly, it has been shown to aggravate the growth of fibroids, which cause millions of women chronic pain and other problems, and can lead to hysterectomy. So it isn't exactly a girl's best friend.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:47 AM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The topic 'Women are such crazy hormonal bitchez, amirite?' is sacrosanct?"

Apparently, yes - it is. At least enough to generate sufficient outrage required to get an advertising campaign pulled.


Nothing is stopping men from starting campaigns against the ads they hate too, you know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:48 AM on July 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have to admit that the first thought I had about an ad campaign featuring milk that women found offensive was going to go in a completely different direction than this. Men are such pigs...
posted by Debaser626 at 9:52 AM on July 22, 2011


Is it just me, or did the humorless outrage over the campaign make (some) women look even more bitchy and shrewish than the actual campaign itself?

They were just PMSing and needed some milk.

Fuck everything about this.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:05 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


emjaybee you are seriously basing your decision to drink or not drink mile ever again based on the decisions of some assholes in a board room somewhere?
This isn't a product they created and maintain. Milk is a commodity. If you don't want to consume it, then don't.
Deciding to not drink milk because of this campaign is, well like deciding not to wear pants because someone made a sexist ad about pants.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:24 AM on July 22, 2011


Any reason not to wear pants is legitimate.
posted by General Tonic at 10:28 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wish the Miller Lite "Man Up" commercials would get pulled. I find those annoying and offensive.
posted by Hop123 at 10:38 AM on July 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


These ads are part of the ongoing trivialization of PMDD, which is a real thing. It's a disorder which is treatable with a variety of methods (antidepressants, CBT, and at the very least there are several birth control methods which halt the menstrual cycle for as long as you want).

No one has to suffer from PMDD, but women continue to do so, because jokes like this ad campaign make it seem like it's normal. "Ladies! With the monthly crazy! What'cha gonna do, amirite?"

If you or someone you love suffers from extreme mood swings, anxiety, rage, and other undue monthly symptoms, it's not normal. Don't give them a quart of fucking milk. Milk won't fix it.

You know what will fix it? MEDICAL TREATMENT.
posted by ErikaB at 10:52 AM on July 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


These ads are part of the ongoing trivialization of PMDD, which is a real thing.

Actually, I find that these ads are part of the ongoing trivialization of women's emotions, where if a woman has a legitimate complaint about something her mate is doing, he has the ability to just mentally write it off as "oh, she's just hormonal, it's not really serious."

Sometimes if a woman is angry with her mate about something, it's not her fucking hormones that are making her mad. It's her mate being AN ASSHOLE that is making her mad.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on July 22, 2011 [24 favorites]


This isn't a product they created and maintain. Milk is a commodity.

Milk sure is the product of the Milk Marketing Board who produces these ads.
posted by mendel at 11:09 AM on July 22, 2011


"That the campaign is intended to be 'funny, good-natured' ought to defuse criticism, Mr. James says, and 'the humor will allow people to laugh at themselves.'"

You know what gets me? PR firms actively recruit students with degrees in feminist theory because they need people who understand gender dynamics in order to exploit them. I'm sure even the willful ignorance of what basic human decency means is consciously and calculatedly willfully ignorant.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:17 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know what gets me? PR firms actively recruit students with degrees in feminist theory because they need people who understand gender dynamics in order to exploit them.

Oh come on. PR firms exploit any and all aspects of human psychology they can get their hands on. That's their job.
posted by eugenen at 11:29 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who thought portraying women as shrewish, irrational and borderline-abusive was either funny or good advertising?

William Shakespeare.

Also, if I see the word "amirite" just one more time, I'll scream.
posted by Xezlec at 11:34 AM on July 22, 2011


While this campaign certainly has that tinge of offensiveness, it kind of reminds me of the Carl's Jr ads which were degrading to men. Like this milk campaign which basically paints women as psycho bitches and milk is a way to surpress that, the Carl's Jr ads were painting men as buffoons who couldn't even crack an egg. Like seriously, it would be a TV commercial of guys not knowing how to make guacamole (puts avocado in blender), unable to crack eggs (ending up in a messy kitchen), and then saying that without fast food, they would die of starvation.

So what's the difference? Both were born from agencies really desperate to woo a client and went for the demeaning "quirky, on the edge!" angle. Sometimes it fails, sometimes it flies under the radar.
posted by xtine at 11:43 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what's the difference? Both were born from agencies really desperate to woo a client and went for the demeaning "quirky, on the edge!" angle. Sometimes it fails, sometimes it flies under the radar.

Another difference I can see is: sometimes the people targeted in the ads complain to the ad execs about it, and sometimes the people targeted in the ads don't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:55 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


OK, I might actually be starting to understand this stuff. I guess since women have historically been oppressed, we're trying to be extra sensitive about how we portray them today. Things like portraying women in a self-consciously positive light and playing down PMS are basically white lies to try to correct attitudes that were skewed by darker lies in another time. Right?

Then I guess the reason the other side is upset is that they're afraid you might overcorrect and end up with a society that is unfairly biased on the other direction. Either that, or they feel that some of those inequalities are actually appropriate, or necessary for some fundamental reason, so correcting them is a bad idea. Or they just don't wanna.
posted by Xezlec at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2011


Things like portraying women in a self-consciously positive light and playing down PMS are basically white lies to try to correct attitudes that were skewed by darker lies in another time. Right?


No. try again.
posted by beefetish at 12:42 PM on July 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Who thought portraying women as shrewish, irrational and borderline-abusive was either funny or good advertising?
The same people who have thought for the last however many years that portraying men as incompetent, sexist, immature doofus man-children is a great idea.

(Didn't see any of these ads, but they're certainly offensive as described.)
posted by usonian at 12:58 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, I might actually be starting to understand this stuff. I guess since women have historically been oppressed, we're trying to be extra sensitive about how we portray them today. Things like portraying women in a self-consciously positive light and playing down PMS are basically white lies to try to correct attitudes that were skewed by darker lies in another time. Right?

Wrong.

You're correct that women have historically been oppressed. But women aren't asking to be "portrayed in a self-consciously positive light" and they aren't asking for "white lies to correct attitudes that were skewed by darker lies in another time". Because whitewashing lies with more lies isn't the way to fix things. The way to fix women having been oppressed is to not oppress them.

But "oppression" isn't what people are upset about here, anyway. It's more like:

Okay, you know how people are getting upset about kids being "over-diagnosed" with ADHD? And how people are complaining that schools are falling back more on the "let's just give the rowdy kids Ritalin rather than trying to enforce discipline"? It's kind of like that -- a portion of those kids may really have ADHD, and may really need Ritalin, but there are more kids GETTING Ritalin than need it; they're getting Ritalin instead of therapy or mentoring or just plain basic attention. And yet there's this mindset in some circles that if a kid is acting up, just prescribe them some Ritalin and that'll do the job. "Johnny's acting up in class? He must have ADHD, just give him a pill."

This is kind of the same thing: "your wife/girlfriend is cranky about something? Must be PMS. Just give her some milk." Like ADHD, PMS is a real thing, and some people are really negatively affected by it. But a rowdy kid may be rowdy for some reason OTHER than ADHD, a cranky woman may be cranky for some reason OTHER than PMS. And if you just assume "oh, it's ADHD" or "oh, its PMS", you are taking the easy way out -- and that's a shitty thing to do to someone who may be having a real problem.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:58 PM on July 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Am I the only one who finds the phrasing of the link in the post more offensive than the campaign itself? Granted, we're perhaps inured to the sort of exism in the ad. But, "too offensive for a lot of women", really?
posted by hoyland at 1:01 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blasdelb: " You know what gets me? PR firms actively recruit students with degrees in feminist theory because they need people who understand gender dynamics in order to exploit them. I'm sure even the willful ignorance of what basic human decency means is consciously and calculatedly willfully ignorant."

PR and advertising firms actively recruit people with degrees in many, many fields. I was a biology / polisci major in college. Both industries usually find it helpful to hire people with a wide range of interests, experience and knowledge, who have minds that are non-dogmatic enough that they can be creative and flexible.
posted by zarq at 1:13 PM on July 22, 2011


I really hate the way women AND men are portrayed im ads. Men aren't clueless doofusses. Women aren't their bitchy keepers. It's demeaning to both and it's like propaganda trying to keep us safely in separate boxes.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:47 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really hate the way women AND men are portrayed im ads.

I agree with you. I usually express these sentiments by saying "Marketers suck".
posted by hal_c_on at 1:57 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw the ads in the Tenderloin in SF...and they just confused me. I wasn't about to stop and read the fine print, and from a distance they just didn't make a lot of sense. I thought they were advertising yet another horrid bro comedy flick, and I tuned them out.

No idea they were supposed to be advertising...milk.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:27 PM on July 22, 2011


Is there actually any science to support the PMS claim for milk? And if there is, why didn't they just say that?
posted by tommasz at 2:29 PM on July 22, 2011


The world will be a better place when we realize that sometimes people are assholes regardless of their levels of estrogen, progesterone or testosterone.

No amount of milk is going to stop that. At least not without cookies.
posted by Muddler at 2:35 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


But "oppression" isn't what people are upset about here, anyway. It's more like:
[...]
And if you just assume "oh, it's ADHD" or "oh, its PMS", you are taking the easy way out -- and that's a shitty thing to do to someone who may be having a real problem.


But that theory doesn't seem to jive with the theme of the comments of outrage here at all. I'm not seeing a lot of "these morons are assuming the problem is PMS when it could well be something else!" I'm seeing a lot of "how dare they portray/mock that subject!" I interpreted the snotty "amirite" comments in particular as evidence of this.

Besides that, if that's really the problem, then why wouldn't we be equally upset about stereotyped portrayals of men? Saying "well, we should be" isn't an answer. Regardless of "should", we don't seem to be. There is clearly a difference in sensitivity regarding these two subjects. Since merely laughing off the male version of this cliche doesn't seem to have caused any obvious societal problems that I'm aware of, I was searching for the reason why encouraging a similar attitude toward the female version would be ill-advised. The "correcting past oppression" theory was the only answer that made sense to me.

Maybe I still don't get it. I really, really think I have Asperger's.
posted by Xezlec at 2:37 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Xezlec: Besides that, if that's really the problem, then why wouldn't we be equally upset about stereotyped portrayals of men? Saying "well, we should be" isn't an answer. Regardless of "should", we don't seem to be.

Three points:
1) Yes, feminists do criticize "manchild" stereotypes in media and advertising. They do so rather consistently and without much notice month after month.

2) This post is about a specific campaign, and, surprise surprise, people are reacting to what was presented in the FPP rather than something that was NOT presented in the FPP.

3) Given #2, it's often questionable here to interpret snark about the subject of a FPP as outrage, much less disproportionate outrage, because that's part of what people do here.

Personally, I thought the ad campaign was leveraging both stereotypes, as we have incompetent manchildren (menchildren? manchilds?) attempting to placate shrews who overreact to mild problems and are incapable of straightforward communication. IMNSHO it's doodie all around.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Disclaimer, I am not a woman, so take this analysis with a grain of salt. The advertising campaign is based on the stereotype that women with PMS are not just uncomfortable, but irrational to the point of abusiveness. It's not generally true IME, as most women just deal with it. But this stereotype is often used anyway to question the competency of women in high-stress positions.

And on top of that many of the ads involved classic "non-apologies" like, "I apologize for not reading between the right lines" and "I'm sorry for letting you misinterpret what I was saying." Any of these would be a classic DTMFA moment, so the whole relationship dynamic presented by the campaign is really ugly.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:45 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


@xezlec:

i am annoyed at this for different reasons than callipygos is. i am annoyed because portraying women as shrill bitches who are controlled by the vagaries of their reproductive organs is gross and sexist. this portrayal has been used to oppress women throughout history and continues to be something that women struggle with in the modern day. it also relates to the "women are irrational and men are rational" sterotype that is also gross and infuriating.

also the advertising trope of showing heterosexual relationships as antagonistic and borderline-abusive is weird. but that's a whole nother thing.
posted by beefetish at 3:47 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


also honestly i know that patriarchy hurts everybody but boy howdy the "manchild" stereotype has not been used to hurt and oppress men the way that the "controlled by her woman parts" stereotype has been used
posted by beefetish at 3:53 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


also honestly i know that patriarchy hurts everybody but boy howdy the "manchild" stereotype has not been used to hurt and oppress men the way that the "controlled by her woman parts" stereotype has been used

This is true. But many women would argue that the "manchild" stereotype hurts women who are expected to emotionally, physically, and financially clean up after irresponsible men. Or in one popular thesis that been bouncing around conservative editorial writers, by choosing to develop a career and mary late, women are responsible for men's "extended adolescence."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:00 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


You remember how a certain user used to drop into every political thread and make it about how terrible Obama is, and that was fucking annoying because the post had nothing to do with Obama except being in the same vague genre of conversation topics?

That's the same thing as inserting "what about the oafish men stereotypes?" here. This post isn't about that, and no one's stopping you from making a new post about that if you find something postworthy, so unless you have something to say about that issue that relates it to this milk campaign in a concrete way you're really not doing the discourse any favors by bringing it up.

That, and get your facts straight about how people of both genders do complain about those ads as well. They just don't interrupt someone else's conversation to do so.
posted by Riki tiki at 4:03 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there actually any science to support the PMS claim for milk?

The lady on the youtube vid on the linked site claimed so (for dairy in general).

And if there is, why didn't they just say that?

Successful billboard campaigns featuring references to the scientific literature seem to be a rare beast. I think it's something to do with the teeny footnote font size.
posted by amorphatist at 4:13 PM on July 22, 2011


kjs, the criticism in the thread seems to be tending toward "well there's mean stuff about men in ads so WHAT ABOUT THAT".
posted by beefetish at 4:15 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Marlboro: for men who think they look like a rugged cowboy, but really aren't
posted by bwg at 4:28 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's a derail and I apologize for contributing to it tangentially.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:33 PM on July 22, 2011


"what about the oafish men stereotypes?" [...] This post isn't about that [...] not doing the discourse any favors by bringing it up.

Fair enough. No need for further discussion of comparative advert-genderstereosexismology. This post isn't about that.

That, and get your facts straight about how people of both genders do complain about those ads as well. [...]

And then you go and do the exact thing you just criticized. "No more discussion of this derail... but lemme get the last word in on the topic" is a bit rich. Or creamy, I suppose.
posted by amorphatist at 4:44 PM on July 22, 2011


Besides that, if that's really the problem, then why wouldn't we be equally upset about stereotyped portrayals of men?

We are. There have been a couple of front page posts within the past year complaining about this very thing.

Sexism isn't good when it happens to women OR men. In the topic of this particular discussion, we're talking about an instance of it happening to women.

i am annoyed at this for different reasons than callipygos is. i am annoyed because portraying women as shrill bitches who are controlled by the vagaries of their reproductive organs is gross and sexist. this portrayal has been used to oppress women throughout history and continues to be something that women struggle with in the modern day. it also relates to the "women are irrational and men are rational" sterotype that is also gross and infuriating.

Actually, beefetish, that IS the reason I'm annoyed at this. I was just using the PMS/ADHD thing as an analogy.

No, I totally agree that writing off women's displeasure as "just PMS" or "Just irrational woman thinking" is gross and sexist. Becuase -- as I said -- most of the time, when a woman is displeased about something, it's a SITUATION that is making her displeased, and not her hormones. When a man complains we don't say "oh, poor thing, it's all that testosterone," do we?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:16 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what's a perimenopausal woman with lactose intolerance to do?
posted by datawrangler at 6:03 PM on July 22, 2011


No, I totally agree that writing off women's displeasure as "just PMS" or "Just irrational woman thinking" is gross and sexist.

I just looked again, and apparently I can see the video now for some reason. Looking at it, I don't understand how those ads can be perceived as stating that all women's displeasure is the result of PMS. They specifically mention PMS and illustrate a possible effect of it to underscore how unpleasant it can be for a significant other. They then point out that their product may alleviate some of the symptoms. I really can't see what's wrong with it. How is it sexist, inaccurate, hurtful, or offensive in any way at all?

Your earlier comment about ADHD seems even more confusing now because I don't understand how it applies. How do these ads relate to anyone overgeneralizing anything? They seem to portray a very specific situation (PMS with unpleasant behavioral effects) and suggest a possible remedy. How is this different from an ad that shows a sad child, mentions that he has a cold, and advertises a cold syrup? Does that somehow imply that all sadness is the result of colds?

i am annoyed at this for different reasons than callipygos is. i am annoyed because portraying women as shrill bitches who are controlled by the vagaries of their reproductive organs is gross and sexist. this portrayal has been used to oppress women throughout history and continues to be something that women struggle with in the modern day.

This is exactly the hypothesis I suggested before, and you responded "No. try again." Were you being sarcastic, or am I missing a subtlety?
posted by Xezlec at 10:08 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your earlier comment about ADHD seems even more confusing now because I don't understand how it applies. How do these ads relate to anyone overgeneralizing anything? They seem to portray a very specific situation (PMS with unpleasant behavioral effects) and suggest a possible remedy. How is this different from an ad that shows a sad child, mentions that he has a cold, and advertises a cold syrup? Does that somehow imply that all sadness is the result of colds?

You are assuming that the behavioral affects are attributable to PMS. What we are saying is, "perhaps they are not."

There is a longstanding history in this culture of dismissing women's complaints as "a symptom of PMS". While it is true that PMS can at times cause moodiness. it is NOT true that a woman in a bad mood must therefore be suffering from PMS. Sometimes, a woman is in a bad mood because she is honestly and sincerely angry about something.

The ad is not just implying "PMS can be cured by milk." The ad is also supporting the untrue societal perception that "if a woman is moody, that probably just means she has PMS".

The reason that it is different from an ad that shows a sad child who says he has a cold is because a) in that ad you are mentioning, the child SAYS he has a cold, and in the milk ad, the woman does NOT say "oh, don't pay me any mind, I have PMS," and b) there is no societal belief that "if a child is sad, he probably just has a cold".

The reason I brought up ADHD was to illustrate the point that "while it is true that PMS can at times cause moodiness, it is not true that therefore an angry woman is just suffering from PMS."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 PM on July 22, 2011


It's Mind Boggling that they thought this would be a good idea.
posted by delmoi at 1:17 AM on July 23, 2011


I have had a quiet word with the cows. They have agreed to stop producing the divisive fluid and we should be able to clear any remaining boys from the yard shortly.
posted by moneyjane at 2:46 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


datawrangler : So what's a perimenopausal woman with lactose intolerance to do?

Beg your doctor for Premarin?
posted by pla at 9:05 AM on July 23, 2011


I really can't see what's wrong with it. How is it sexist, inaccurate, hurtful, or offensive in any way at all?

Can you expand on this? How do you not see how this can be offensive? One of the ads, for example, says "I'm sorry I listened to what you said and not what you meant." To think this is "accurate" would mean that women (*all* women) lob this accusation at their (male) partners regularly, and think that men should "read their minds," which is of course irrational, and ties into the sexist and harmful stereotype that women are irrational and it's funny to joke about it.
posted by sweetkid at 9:48 AM on July 23, 2011


It's already creepy and out of line to reduce women to the stereotypical generalizations about their reproductive organs. The ads take this further -- women's reproductive organs are such a source of frustration for men, here's a way that men can fix the problem for the women! This is bafflingly condescending in its unfunniness. (To men and women.)

Extra creepy points for conflating the menstrual cycle with PMS under the guise of womens' health. Varying degrees of bloating, cramps, breast tenderness, and moodiness (not to mention expelling the bloody lining of your uterus from your vagina) are normal characteristics within the menstrual cycle. That's not PMS. In PMS there are severe and consistent manifestations of mood-related and physical symptoms, to the extent that it is believed that something specific is going on medically for those women.
posted by desuetude at 7:09 PM on July 23, 2011


I have an idea for an ad campaign. Imagine top shelf celebrities sitting, in that all-white Matrix loading program set, in armchairs. I'm picturing Jack Nicholson in the pilot spot.
He would be watching himself on an old-school console TV set in awareness ads like "Read to your kids so they don't turn out stupid." and "Drink some milk. It's been a staple food in our society for centuries." Of course, better writers can probably produce more biting satire than I can, so we'll hire the Onion TV guys to do these spots-within-a-spot.

Then Nicholson gets up and turns off the set, sits back down, puts on his reading glasses, and opens a newspaper. There are a few seconds of silence, and then Jack Nicholson (or whoever) looks directly at the camera says, in a classic, smouldering Nicholson freak-out, levitating to his feet as his rage builds, and angrily, threateningly creeping closer to the stationary camera:

"I'm tired of having to tell you how to run your life. Read to your kids or don't, drink milk or don't, smoke weed or don't. I only have one request: turn off the $%^&* television, and and check the pilot light in your brain. It may have burnt out years ago without you noticing. Once you've got that taken care of, try making some decisions on your own, without the deafening never-silent glow of television to hypnotize you into choosing corporate or government or charity-approved non-decisions. Decide for yourself if you want the cola in the blue can or the red can, or maybe that you don't care either way. Decide if you want to go on vacation to Virginia or Kentucky, or what you want to cook for dinner. How the ^&*($ am I supposed to know what you should do? Maybe you don't want to cook at all and instead you want to go out to the greasy spoon down by the truck stop where they have that thousand island dressing you really like. I'm supposed to figure this out for you? We, the television industry, are supposed to force-feed you all this $%&^? We can't. It won't work. You're on you own. TURN OFF THE ^&((%$ SET."

Jackie then returns to the armchair, visibly relieved with all that pressure off him. He happily refolds his paper to get at the next page. We fade to black with some Non-profit's or government agency's website and a three to four word slogan that will characterize the campaign on billboards and posters in school cafeterias.

In the last seconds, we hear Jack in voiceover:

"Oh, and if you need more information, go to the ^&*(% library and look it up."
posted by LiteOpera at 7:34 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


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