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Terrible things everyone saw
February 8, 2010 3:39 PM   Subscribe

The strangely sexist ads of Super Bowl XLIV, beginning with the woman hating Dodge Charger ad that broke my mind. (via The A.V. Club's Super Bowl Ads roundup)

See also the Bud Light Book Club, the "Regain-your-spine" ad for a portable television and the Dockers "no-pants" ad.

People are also worked up about the Bridgestone ad where a guy prefers his tires to a woman, but the real sin there is the bad wife/life pun.

And, of course, there was the Focus On The Family anti-abortion ad, which is notable for not really saying anything at all other than Tim Tebow's mom loves him. The Hater hates on it here.

Other notable ads include the Google search story ad and the Late Show ad with Letterman and Leno (previously).

Oh, and these commercials were aired during the most watched program ever to air on television, and the ads themselves are featured on prominate pages on both YouTube and Hulu.
posted by The Devil Tesla (272 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
That Dodge Charger ad really bummed me out. It looks like i'm in good company.
posted by chrchr at 3:45 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sexism has no place in professional football!
posted by Joe Beese at 3:46 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I loved that Google ad. And was astonished at how much tackling happened in this year's (pretty sub-par) commercials. I get it. We're watching football. You don't have to tackle everyone.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 3:46 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


That truly depressing Dodge Charger ad was followed by a commercial about catty secretaries competing over who got the best flowers at the office.

Seriously, what decade do we even live in?
posted by mmmbacon at 3:47 PM on February 8, 2010 [32 favorites]


It's a well-known fact that real Chargers don't have four doors, anyway.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:47 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


For once, I found the game more interesting than the ads, and the ads are the only reason I ever watch.
posted by jquinby at 3:47 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Some things... never change.
posted by phaedon at 3:50 PM on February 8, 2010


I was at a fun, loud party. There was virtual silence after the Dodge Charger ad. People looked around and one guy gave a silent thumbs down which broke the tension. What a horrible advertisement on every level.
posted by cell divide at 3:51 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Your view of humor does not match mine. Let's begin to fight with no possibility of victory.
posted by Argyle at 3:51 PM on February 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


I wound up seeing Sherlock Holmes during Superbowl hours. There were three people in the entire theater, and the employee at the snack bar seemed puzzled as to why were even there. Nobody bothered to collect our tickets.

The movie was alright. I wondered briefly why an English actor wasn't given Holmes' role. The nattering between Holmes and Watson was tiresome. I wound up deducing that Sherlock Holmes may be the world's most famous autistic.
posted by boo_radley at 3:51 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't it be awesome if Dodge had foregone the Super Bowl commercial and instead spent the money developing a redesign of the totally stale and horrible Charger?
posted by The World Famous at 3:53 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Jezebel rounds up a number of critics' obeservations on the gynophobia pageant.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:54 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's some interesting data that suggests, contrary to what I'd have guessed, that lots of women watch the superbowl. So I guess it is pretty crappy that the advertising was pretty obviously targeting an audience of only males.

Me? I went to the movies with my wife while the hoi polloi were glued to their teevee sets. I've missed 37 superbowls.

As I watch the commercials now, the only one that really gets me riled up is the Tebow ad. The rest don't really surprise me.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:54 PM on February 8, 2010


I was most disappointed by the Betty White ad. It was like: "Awesome! Betty White playing football and roughing it up with the guys? Talking shit to that stupid frat guy quarterback? Love this ad! . . . Wait, what? Oh she's the butt of the joke? Being Betty White is a bad thing? WELL THEN FUCK YOU SNICKERS. FUCK YOU IN YOUR TAINTHOLE."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:54 PM on February 8, 2010 [77 favorites]


I mostly watch the Superbowl for the ads. I'm no feminist, I'm not a big fan of political correctness, but by half-time (if not before), I was really cringing at how sexist the ads were.

Other than the "this car is your only refuge from harridans" ad, it wasn't any one ad so much as the cumulative effect: every second ad seemed so blatantly dismissive of women.

Well, Ok, maybe the Godaddy ads were particularly bad, as they were sexist without any payoff: if the sexism had led to funny, that might be one thing -- but the Godaddy ads were sexist without any redeeming humor. The whole point was, presumably horny woman strips off shirt? That's it?? Honestly, Godaddy of all companies ought to know that if I want porn, I can get much more than stripping to bikinis on the internet.

And the toddler bitch-slapping the sleazy new boyfriend? Man, that was just uncomfortable, all the more so for the racial stereotype subtext.

I kept the TV on, but I really stopped watching the ads -- in fact, I missed the Letterman one entirely -- because the cringe factor grew too great.

And the Budweiser ads? The 77 thousand Budweiser ads? I mean, now I know why I don't drink Bud -- they put all their money into ads, while I buy beer from brewers who put money into brewing tasty beer.
posted by orthogonality at 3:54 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's a well-known fact that real Chargers don't have four doors, anyway.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! THANK YOU!!
For that matter, any real cool hot rod car doesn't have four doors. Ergo, the man in this commercial is not only an asshole, but also an idiot.
posted by NoMich at 3:55 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's hard you know, my husband and I had sort of agreed that our next car was going to be a Charger (or maybe an Avenger). We currently own a Dodge Caliber, and will finish our 3-year, 0% financing in just a couple of months. But why would I want to buy something from a company that puts out a message that it hates me? Sure, 'hate' might be an excessively strong word, Dodge is more than welcome to not get anymore of my money. And yeah, I earn the money in this family - an increasing trend in many families.

Obviously, any company I do business with is a business and not personal arrangement. But on the other hand, a car is a big, expensive purchase. Chrysler has had enough problems, and in my opinion probably needs to earn back some credibility. This certainly doesn't make me feel excited about going into business with them again.

That said, I didn't watch commercialthon 2010. Between the Tebow thing, and seeing spots on Hulu advertising the advertisements I just was overwhelmed by 'meh'. That, and I got wasted in the morning after stomping around in Snowpocalypse. And I normally like football.
posted by bunnycup at 3:56 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Joe Beese: "Jezebel rounds up a number of critics' obeservations on the gynophobia pageant."

ZING:"Wow, Super Bowl ad men really hate Super Bowl ad women this year, don't they? .... Why would CBS turn down a Super Bowl ad from a gay-dating service, then run a bunch of ads with the message that men can't stand to be around women?"

This is a perfect juxtaposition.
posted by boo_radley at 3:58 PM on February 8, 2010 [25 favorites]


The thing about the Tebow ad is, it really doesn't say fuck all. I guess it has a link to give us the full pitch -- actually, a number of ads ended with a 'see more online' or 'see the uncensored version online'... do people actually do that? Go online to watch the rest of a commercial?

I don't understand the point of the GoDaddy commercials. If I'm going on the internet I might as well look at porn instead of their 'too hot for TV' crap.
posted by graventy at 3:58 PM on February 8, 2010


I never thought that, as a Canadian, I'd actually wind up being grateful that I was only exposed to the same three commericals for the Vancouver Olympics and the Bell one with the dudes having some sort of bobsled watching party over and OVER and OVERANDOVERANDOVERANDOVERAGAIN.

But...sheesh...here we are.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:58 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The ads were terrible, but the Google one was the biggest disappointment for me. Partway through, I got my hopes up that the ad would contain some of the totally batshit insane autofill suggestions that Google regularly makes. When they got to the end without even one, my heart broke.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:59 PM on February 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


I was confused by the Charger ad because it switched between "things I have to do because my partner is a nag" and "things I have to do because I am a pathetic worker drone". Or does his wife make him sit through two-hour meetings? Either way, the car seems like poor compensation for what his life has apparently become. Why not just buy a cheaper car and drive it into a telephone pole?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 3:59 PM on February 8, 2010 [40 favorites]


Our superbowl party just superimposed mancrunch.com jokes over/into each ad. This was really fun. Everyone was pretty grossed out by the sexism of a lot of ads but we were too busy making fun of them to be too offended.

Honestly though...change the audio of some of those ads and they could have been mancrunch ads.
posted by schyler523 at 3:59 PM on February 8, 2010


For that matter, any real cool hot rod car doesn't have four doors.

M5?
300 SEL 6.3?

Some real cool hot rod cars have four doors. But a Charger isn't one of them.
posted by The World Famous at 4:00 PM on February 8, 2010


Alternatively, maybe all the ads were done as a meta ad for MadMen.
posted by schyler523 at 4:00 PM on February 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


I didn't really notice the sexism in the Charger ad because I was too busy laughing at the cameo by photographer Noah Kalina.
posted by bradbane at 4:01 PM on February 8, 2010


I saw the Charger ad and thought, "So my reward for being a faithful, patient, decent husband and father is a FKN CHRYSLER? Guess it's time to get divorced so I can buy a REAL CAR."
posted by dw at 4:02 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm no feminist, I'm not a big fan of political correctness, but by half-time (if not before), I was really cringing at how sexist the ads were.

I kind of wonder why you aren't a feminist if things like this make you uncomfortable. I consider myself a feminist mostly because I get mad about things like this, and it somewhat irks me when people who totally agree with me aren't willing to call themselves feminists. It implies that feminists have to believe in something more than just women should be treated equally, and reeks of being driven by the straw-men arguments given against feminism by a lot of horrible people.

Sorry to possibly drop too much on you, but this is something that bothers me, that's all.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:04 PM on February 8, 2010 [105 favorites]


"M5?
300 SEL 6.3?"


BZZZZZT.

Sorry, "cool hot rod cars" are by their very nature limited to American-built V-8 powered rear-wheel-drive coupes (and a few sedans), and should be further restricted to those built between 1932 and 1972 if you want to be pedantic.

When you get to the M5 and the SEL, you're talking about "performance automobiles" which is another class entirely.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:04 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not to be That Guy With No TV, but last night I turned to my wife and said "Wait....was the Superbowl today or something?"

It's really simple to avoid this poisonous crap. You don't even have to put your mind to it. Just put your mind to something else.
posted by DU at 4:06 PM on February 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sorry, "cool hot rod cars" are by their very nature limited to American-built V-8 powered rear-wheel-drive coupes (and a few sedans), and should be further restricted to those built between 1932 and 1972 if you want to be pedantic.

Well, sure, if we're being pedantic.
posted by The World Famous at 4:06 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


M5?
300 SEL 6.3?

Some real cool hot rod cars have four doors. But a Charger isn't one of them.


No. However, I should've added this: "...except for black cars with suicide doors." Examples being the early '60s Lincoln Continental and the late '60s Thunderbird.
All other four doors are just fast dad cars. Big whoop.

I'm sure others will disagree, but I stand resolute. Eh, what can you do?
posted by NoMich at 4:06 PM on February 8, 2010


I kind of wonder why you aren't a feminist if things like this make you uncomfortable.

Because I'm not a joiner.
posted by orthogonality at 4:09 PM on February 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, Combustible is more pointed my direction... I got the slow-burn buildup of Standard Man Complaints, but then the big throbbing V8 payoff wasn't "I AM MAN HOOT HOOT THUMP THUMP", it was more "I'M MISDIRECTING MY SUBLIMATED ANGER IN THIS PATHETIC DIRECTION".

I think the two-doors good, four-doors bad comments kind of bear this out, too... if you could really drive the car you wanted to drive... would it really be a sedan format?
posted by Rat Spatula at 4:13 PM on February 8, 2010


Because I'm not a joiner.

Fair enough. But I would appreciate if you didn't use "I'm not a feminist" as a qualifier as it adds to the impression that feminists are people that you shouldn't be.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:13 PM on February 8, 2010 [30 favorites]


I liked the careerbuilder ad but was freaked out by two underpants ads in a row.

Oh no! The charger ad is on hulu even as I type! Mr. HotBot! We traced the call! Its coming from within the house! Get out of there!
posted by shothotbot at 4:14 PM on February 8, 2010


One of these days there's going to be a Bud Light or Dodge Charger ad that is so fucking similar to A Handmaid's Tale that we won't be able to tell if it was done ironically or not. Wait in Republic of Gilead there's cool, refreshing Bud Light served out of vending machines? You use a Nokia phone to report women who are fertile but do not register? Two guys kissing get horrifically beaten and then a place card that says "Don't be a Gender Traitor: Eat Snickers" ? A man talking opening a bag of Doritos and suddenly he's in a room of Jezebels and a voice over that says, "Eat Doritos. Unleash your Commander" ? You'll just be sitting there, staring at your hands wondering if you saw the greatest social commentary ever, or the desperate ploy of a coked up ad agency given way too much money. We might never know.
posted by geoff. at 4:16 PM on February 8, 2010 [41 favorites]


Feminism is not something you have "join". It's something you agree with or don't agree with. If you hate these ads because they are terribly anti-woman, then guess what? You are a feminist.
posted by DU at 4:16 PM on February 8, 2010 [44 favorites]


I spent much of the time during the ads trying to figure out if I was more offended by how the ads portrayed women, or how they portrayed men. Women are shallow, nagging harridans vs men are stupid, spineless (and pantsless) jerks. Everybody wins!
posted by rtha at 4:19 PM on February 8, 2010 [26 favorites]


I watched this Super Bowl with my mom and dad. My dad was barely watching but even his attention was caught by the misogyny in those commercials. And the terrible thing is that they just got worse and worse as the game went on- it wasn't like there were only a couple! And the fact that my mom and I were the ones jumping up and down yelling and appreciating the game made it all even more ironic. I hope the ad execs will get a clue and the ads next year will be better.
posted by Mouse Army at 4:21 PM on February 8, 2010


Am I the only one who hated Audi's "Green Police" ad? Nothing like a car commercial to feed the paranoid fantasies of climate change deniers. Yay!
posted by saffry at 4:26 PM on February 8, 2010 [16 favorites]


If you hate these ads because they are terribly anti-woman, then guess what? You are a feminist.

one of us...one of us....

there is no central registry, though, so don't worry. Your only dues are righteous outrage and not adding to the problem.
posted by emjaybee at 4:26 PM on February 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I didn't see the Superbowl or any of the ads because I was on a plane coming back to Seattle from San Diego, and Supernanny was on my flight! So I just watched her.
posted by tristeza at 4:28 PM on February 8, 2010


The pantslessness quotient in this year's Superbowl ads was something to behold. Or not.

But in terms of emasculatastism, the Dodge Charger ad wasn't half as offensive as the Flo TV ad with the TV announcer loudly and repeatedly proclaiming how emasculated a guy is for shopping with his wife rather than watching sports. That sucked the air right out of the room in our house.
posted by ardgedee at 4:30 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I missed a lot of the ads (luckily, I turned on the game just in time to see it get awesome), but the book club one horrified me a lot. Less because it was sexist against women than because it just...I don't know, I guess there are guys who are comforted by stereotypes of themselves as fucking troglodytic dumbshits, like it makes them feel like they don't have to try so hard (and really, what else is beer about?), but to me it all kinda goes in a bin with Judd Apatow movies and "Family Guy" and all other entertainment media that lionizes man-as-a-worthless-lump-of-shit-on-the-carpet-gotta-love-'im! Fuck, we can do so much better than this. Man up, my fellow dudes, for real. Don't buy shit that sells itself to you like this. It thinks you're a chump.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:30 PM on February 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


saffry: "Am I the only one who hated Audi's "Green Police" ad? Nothing like a car commercial to feed the paranoid fantasies of climate change deniers. Yay!"

The Green Police?

posted by flatluigi at 4:30 PM on February 8, 2010


The message I got from the Charger commercial: "Are you spineless? Are you completely and hopelessly whipped? Is your life nearly unlivable thanks to the harpy you call a 'wife' who dominates your every whim? Then have we got a car for you!"

Clearly, a lot of what drives car sales is image. I cannot fathom who would want to associate themselves with that image.

I can see a sobbing middle-aged man in a dirty white t-shirt pulling off the lot in his new Charger, crying, "You BITCH! See what you made me do?!? :sob:"
posted by LordSludge at 4:31 PM on February 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


hahaha I just looked up the ad and that's exactly what they were going for

Never mind.
posted by flatluigi at 4:32 PM on February 8, 2010


I spent much of the time during the ads trying to figure out if I was more offended by how the ads portrayed women, or how they portrayed men. Women are shallow, nagging harridans vs men are stupid, spineless (and pantsless) jerks. Everybody wins!

The crowd we were with was noting how the men were portrayed as spineless bud light drinking idiots more than they were "anti-women".
posted by Big_B at 4:32 PM on February 8, 2010


It's the naked ideology of capitalism in a nutshell from Dodge's ad-people there, in all its anti-human let-the-commodity-be-substitute-for-life-and-love horror. You could almost imagine they were actually commissioned in secret by some Machiavellian Maoist tycoon who wants to lay the dark and hollow heart of the Beast bare before us - we have made your life shit, your relationship with those you love shit, and all we can offer in return is this ugly insult.
posted by Abiezer at 4:32 PM on February 8, 2010 [74 favorites]


I don't get to watch a lot of television. I like television, but there's not enough hours in the day.

I watch the Superbowl to see what condition my condition is in. I guess I know now.
posted by digitalprimate at 4:34 PM on February 8, 2010


I watched the puppy bowl. They added hamsters! In a blimp!
posted by interplanetjanet at 4:34 PM on February 8, 2010 [34 favorites]


Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on ads that have been generally received as exceedingly mediocre. So the epic fail is a silver lining. Then again, as you up the pressure to create "the best ad ever" for the Super Bowl, more and more hands will get involved in each commercial, and you will inevitably end up with such bottom-feeder material. You must understand that the ad industry is wholly populated by obsequious bullshit artists who have fully suppressed their moral center to peddle junk. It is orders of magnitude more offensive than any particular segment of content, like misogynistic ads.
posted by effwerd at 4:35 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Does the Dodge Charger come with its own Autobahn on which it can unleash the manfully fearsome horsepower shown in the commercial without the driver getting ticketed for a moving violation?
posted by Joe Beese at 4:39 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Puppy Bowl FTW!
posted by oflinkey at 4:39 PM on February 8, 2010


Fair enough. But I would appreciate if you didn't use "I'm not a feminist" as a qualifier as it adds to the impression that feminists are people that you shouldn't be.

They are kind of annoying.
posted by xmutex at 4:39 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


These ads are signifiers of a culture on the verge of getting what it deserves in a big way.
posted by you just lost the game at 4:40 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


The only time I don't skip ads with DVR is for movie trailers and the Progressive girl. Since neither of those seem to have made an appearance, and I sure as shit don't care about football, I'm glad I was at a meetup yesterday instead of the Super Bowl party I was invited to.
posted by Caduceus at 4:40 PM on February 8, 2010


You could almost imagine they were actually commissioned in secret by some Machiavellian Maoist tycoon who wants to lay the dark and hollow heart of the Beast bare before us - we have made your life shit, your relationship with those you love shit, and all we can offer in return is this ugly insult.

You are an awesome person Abiezer.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:40 PM on February 8, 2010


Just the violence.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:44 PM on February 8, 2010


I am a proud feminist and also a sort of junior Green Police person, and in our role reversed household I'm the Superbowl watcher (my husband was shopping and making dinner) but I must admit that I found the Dodge Charger ad hilarious, and so did my husband, for whom I recorded the program and played back the ads I liked. Uh . . he puts up with some of my stupider TV programs, so the line about "I watch your vampire TV shows" cracked us up. We liked the Green Police ad too, which appealed to our sense of the ridiculous. We also liked the Doritos ad in which the labrador retriever put its no bark collar on the guy teasing it, then barked at him, the Letterman/Leno ad, the corny Anheuser Busch horse ad, and the romantic Google Paris romance ad.

And yes, there were a lot of stupid and very sexist ads as well. Uh . . . have you all noticed that almost all beer and car ads tend to run sexist and stupid? Especially the ones that run when sports events are on?

I did like the part in between the commercials especially, involving a hard fought, clean game between two gifted teams, resulting in a wonderful win that made the hard luck city of New Orleans very, very happy.
posted by bearwife at 4:45 PM on February 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


After watching the Super Bowl commercials, I realize that I am actually grateful that my stupid digital tuner box doesn't work half the time, and thus not worth ever turning on.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:48 PM on February 8, 2010


Feminism is not something you have "join". It's something you agree with or don't agree with. If you hate these ads because they are terribly anti-woman, then guess what? You are a feminist normal person with decent values and critical thinking skills.

FTFY. Let's make good respectful behavior the baseline, folks.
posted by davejay at 4:49 PM on February 8, 2010 [25 favorites]


I actually watched the game, I forgot that the commercials were supposed to be the big thing, so I kept leaving during commercial breaks.

I did catch a godaddy ad, and based on their commercial, I have NO IDEA what they do besides have a website.
posted by Max Power at 4:52 PM on February 8, 2010


The Dodge ad was just baffling. Really, you shave and go to work at 8 AM because the women control your every move?

Also, the Michael C. Hall voiceover, combined with the fact that the fourth guy gives off a distinct Patrick Bateman vibe, gave it a vaguely ominous feeling. Like it was leading up to "my only refuge from my painfully conventional life is torturing people while the rest of the world sleeps", rather than "my only refuge from my painfully conventional life is this awesome four-door sedan!"
posted by arianell at 4:52 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I want the Puppy Bowl to be fun, but it's always a let-down. So we watched 4 episodes of Season Three of "The Wire."

Now, if they remade "The Wire" with puppies....
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:54 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Be a bit fuckin' dark, wouldn't it? All those puppies doing drugs and getting shot and swearing.
posted by graventy at 4:56 PM on February 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


The commercials for the Puppy Bowl aren't any better. They're all about bitches, too.
posted by mpbx at 4:58 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


For being one of the more exciting games with a narrative arc that the pre-scripted WWE couldn't match (the turnabout from the Saints' 4th and goal failure in the 2nd quarter to the Colts doing the same at the end? now THAT's irony, Alanis), the commercials were extra disappointing.

The appeals to males with Castration Syndrome were pathetic, and even polluted the message of the Dockers pantsless spot (which was also damaged by immediately following the Office in Underwear spot; if I were Levis, I'd demand makegoods). The Betty White spot wasn't sexist, since it ended with Abe Vigoda getting the same treatment: it's message was "low blood sugar makes you as athletic as an 80+ year old celebrity so eat candy" which has its own troubling issues. The "Green Police" ad was wrongheaded, painful to watch, and even worse for bespoiling the message of Cheap Trick's "Dream Police". The same sponsor that did the "get a spine" ad also did the "My Generation Remix" right before the Half-Time performance by What's-Left-of-the-Who (a medley of CSI themes? Really?), and I found its nostalgic montage more depressing than anything else... have we really wasted the last 45 years like that? The multiple Bud ads were universally awful with the always-sentimental Clydesdale ad making me wonder: is that the bull's real horns or some kind of extensions? The dog-collar ad for Doritos was absurd and silly but at least it made me laugh. And come on, how many of YOU called 1-877-987-6401 and made a date with Barney Stinson in 2016?

Locally, the regional Jack in the Box burger chain had giant-plastic-headed Jack bungee jumping with too long a line and landing on his little pointy clown cap, then signaling "I'm OK", a strange juxtaposition from last year's unfortunate "Jack Gets Hit By a Bus and Is in a Coma for Weeks" campaign. A local car dealer had the owner telling the audience he was taking the day off from selling cars to watch the game (a strange message with the current state of the auto industry), but he did it while holding a 6-pack of Pepsi and four bags of Frito Lay snacks with their brand names displayed in an obvious "getting Pepsi/Frito to pay me for this" arrangement. And a local hardware store had several spots with power tools on sale and the owner doing 'end-zone dances' with a bunch of kids... THAT's what I expected from commercials during the SuperBowl.

Anyway, is this going to be the last thread about Super Bowl ads? PLEASE?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:06 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, owners of affordable fast cars are secretly pathetic and oppressed? It's brave of Dodge to just come out and say it.

I remember from my teenage years how common it was to see guys driving alone on the weekend late at night in their muscle cars, they obviously got the car to make up for some social dysfunction.
posted by svenni at 5:08 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, yeah, pretty lame set of adverts this year. And The Who sucked too.

I wondered briefly why an English actor wasn't given Holmes' role.

They wanted to make lots of money.
posted by Artw at 5:08 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I loved the 'Parisian Love' ad by Google. It's weird how cute it is even if the only thing it shows is their search form. Thanks for the link, I wouldn't have seen it otherwise (what's this superbowl thing you're all talking about?).
posted by Memo at 5:08 PM on February 8, 2010


On tiny budgets, teams of scientists learn about this world and publish papers, read by few.

With massive budgets, teams of tool-holes learn about this world and release advertisements, seen by millions.

To my thinking, these research products (ads) trigger ANGER in a certain slice of the populace. I'm in that slice. But I'm angry because I know they've gotten it right: They've learned something about this culture. They've found a frustration and are offering a well-crafted "solution".
posted by Moistener at 5:09 PM on February 8, 2010


Feminism is not something you have "join". It's something you agree with or don't agree with. If you hate these ads because they are terribly anti-woman, then guess what? You are a feminist normal person with decent values and critical thinking skills.

FTFY. Let's make good respectful behavior the baseline, folks.
davejay, this comment is a little confusing to me. The feminists I know aren't weirdos and have "decent values and critical thinking skills."
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:09 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Devil Tesla: "The feminists I know aren't weirdos"

That's the point. You don't have to be "weird" to be a feminist? It's a normal thing?
posted by boo_radley at 5:10 PM on February 8, 2010


They are kind of annoying.

Go to MetaTalk and die on this hill there if it's what you or anyone else wants to do. Otherwise, let's move past this and act like people who want to talk about things, not fuck up jessamyn's evening. Thanks everyone.
posted by jessamyn at 5:12 PM on February 8, 2010 [30 favorites]


One more thing: A bad commercial is usually not enough to turn me off a product I already like, and Dr Pepper Cherry WAS my favorite soda pop (and the only Diet that I actually like), but after that performance on its behalf by KISS and Midgets, I'd be ashamed to be seen in a supermarket checkout line with a 12-pack. Just Say No to Very Short Cover Bands.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:14 PM on February 8, 2010


That's the point. You don't have to be "weird" to be a feminist? It's a normal thing?

I agree, but his comment still irks me a tiny bit. I'm not okay with feminism becoming a weird thing because it means that people who are sexist feel like they are the normal ones.

Thats how I see it, but yea, I might be getting too caught up in a word.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:21 PM on February 8, 2010


The message I got from the Charger commercial: "Are you spineless? Are you completely and hopelessly whipped? Is your life nearly unlivable thanks to the harpy you call a 'wife' who dominates your every whim? Then have we got a car for you!"

The message I got was more of an ad for American Psycho 2: Christian Bale's Quiet Roid Rage Club.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:26 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, regular Ad Dad is an idiot, a bumbling fool who has to be constantly guided in life by the women in his life. He's a weak moron, but he's generally fairly affable... the Dodge Charger guys were not like the regular Ad Dad. They were bitter, mean, angry little men and you get the impression that it was the car or suicide for them and they were trying very hard to convince themselves they were quite sure they'd made the right. In fact if anything you got the impression that the advertiser wanted to tell you that the Dodge Charger is the ideal car for driving off a cliff in.
posted by Artw at 5:28 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was compelled today to write Angry! Emails! to both Dodge and Flo TV (whatever that is), but all of my feminist rage disappears when I think about Punxsutawney Polamalu. "Come on, man, yank it!" I want one for my birthday.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:32 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm still scratching my head about the coffin full of Doritos bit. The heck?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:33 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Dodge Charger - at least it's not a sniper rifle!"
posted by Artw at 5:34 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


If we're talking sexist commercials, this one for Key Jewelers makes me roll my eyes every damn time. I normally don't give a shit about commercials, but this one is just aggressively stupid. I've never met a person older than five who is that terrified of thunder and lightning.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 5:37 PM on February 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: all we can offer in return is this ugly insult.
posted by jquinby at 5:41 PM on February 8, 2010


What's sad is that this Superbowl's ads are more interesting to read about than to watch. And they're meant to be lowest common denominator, pretty stuff on the screen fluff.

The critiques are great. They really put my feelings about a lot of those ads into words.

And I like the stealth trolling tactic by Focus on the Family. More political think tanks should buy ad space and spread benign, pointless messages, just to spark debate that's ultimately irrelevant to what's actually shown.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:43 PM on February 8, 2010


Ugh, that Kay Jewelers commercial makes me want to fling all of humanity into a giant woodchipper, construct a space ship, fill it with tacos and beer, and fly off into the cosmos, ALONE.

Okay, maybe with a puppy.
posted by elizardbits at 5:45 PM on February 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


Find an itch, scratch it.

Dodge found an itch that exists. (You have to admit they paid a lot of money to learn about it.)

So to where is this indignance pointed? Are we, here on the erudite blue, incensed because they are fabricating husband angst? Or because they are selling to it?
posted by Moistener at 5:46 PM on February 8, 2010


I would've never guessed that one of the best ways to sell things to men is to impugn their masculinity. I bet PUA stuff would work a lot better on men than on women.
posted by box at 5:53 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I was really offended that the ads made men out to be so incredibly non-feminist. I was thinking, "ugh! Please don't make 'us' look like such hideous goons." Maybe I was over-thinking, but they seemed basically offensive to anyone with a brain. I was in a bar, and the guy next to me said something like "WHY are all these ads about how to be a 'real man?'"
posted by CaptApollo at 5:55 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Entertain the possibility thecontroversy was the intended medium, rather than the commercial?

How many times have we mentioned the Dodge Charger in this thread vs. the number of the times the Dodge Charger has been mentioned ever?

(See Neil Postman, or whomever mentioned this earlier in the thread... I got bored after the first 5-10 rages, and I skipped to the bottom to post)
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 5:59 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Chargers didn't make it to the SuperBowl. Badum bump.

There was an undercurrent of homophobia, blatant misogyny, inherent bigotry and lots of booze. And then I saw some SuperBowl commercials...
posted by Chuffy at 6:05 PM on February 8, 2010


Google was advertising to about 1/3 (maybe fewer) of the people who were watching the Super Bowl, as one has to be able to read to get the ad...which was really good.
posted by Chuffy at 6:11 PM on February 8, 2010


If that Dockers commercial had been for CK or Hanes or something, and didn't end with that stupid "it's time to wear the pants" crap, I predict it would be universally revered, passed down through the ages like a holy relic, to be mouthed by babes long after its relevance has decayed.

Because really. Fuck pants.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:18 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you tune into the Superbowl specifically to watch ads then you're a moron and I really don't give a damn how offended you are about the fact that you're watching stupid shit.
posted by Legomancer at 6:19 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I loved that Google ad.

They've been running ads like this in Japan for several months now, most likely because their market share here is around 35-40%, less than Yahoo! Japan's 50%.
posted by armage at 6:20 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it was cute but I was kind of wondering what the call to action was... "They sound great! You're out of my browser searchbar, Bing!"
posted by Artw at 6:22 PM on February 8, 2010


We're all here talking about the Dodge Charger ad, right? Then it was a great success. By being outraged about it, the marketers win. The only way to win is not to play.
posted by Kwine at 6:27 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Huh. I missed the misogynist subtext. Instead, I talked to my sixth grade students (all boys) about how all the commercials made fun of men. Because they really, really did make men look stoopid.
posted by Peach at 6:28 PM on February 8, 2010


The Devil Tesla, your comments here and here made me think of something.

Once I looked at Jessamyn's site and read that "facts about me" list it has somewhere on it. As I recall, one of the facts was something like "I used to call myself an anarchist but I kinda stopped, mostly because I'd rather not be associated with violent people". It made me briefly reflect on labels, and the whole debate that often surrounds them. You know, whether one should reclaim words like 'anarchist' (or 'hacker', 'radical', 'feminist'...) from those who use them negatively, or accept to some extent the negative connotation and forgo that particular label altogether. Then there are those who just don't like to use labels to describe their beliefs, because it feels like an oversimplification, etc.

Here too, I suspect many people aren't willing to describe themselves as feminists because of certain excesses they perceive on the part of some who embrace the label. This is an attempt to avoid being defined by the speech and actions of others. Perhaps one of the problems is the inherent fuzziness of such definitions: they group together people with many different attitudes and beliefs. While the differences may be subtle, sometimes they are significant; there are feminists and feminists, anarchists and anarchists, etc. If labels such as 'feminist' define sets of people, the sets' boundaries are continually determined by people's efforts to explain where they feel they stand with respect to them. This typically ranges from people saying "I'm a hardcore feminist!" to "I'm a feminist but..." to "I don't self-identify as feminist, but I have beliefs X, Y and Z in common with feminists" to whatever. That's how I read orthogonality and davejay's comments. It seems fair to allow people to be a little picky when communicating their position vis-à-vis some broad descriptor like 'feminism', without needing to interpret their statements as implying that feminism is a good thing to be or not.
posted by mindwarp at 6:30 PM on February 8, 2010 [14 favorites]


We're all here talking about the Dodge Charger ad, right? Then it was a great success. By being outraged about it, the marketers win. The only way to win is not to play.

I'm not trying to get people to not buy Dodge Chargers, I'm trying to get people to watch this crazy, mind-melting thing and say something like, "holy hell they put that on TV?"

If I'm mad at anyone it's CBS, who ultimately is responsible for what they show on their network. I don't think it's too crazy to think that if enough people get mad about this that CBS will think twice before putting more sexist ads on.

It's rarely a good idea to not talk about something.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:35 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I didn't see the Superbowl or any of the ads because I was on a plane coming back to Seattle from San Diego, and Supernanny was on my flight! So I just watched her.

Best flight of my life was flying to Korea during the Super Bowl. I was luckily in business class, and there were like three rows all to myself between a galley bulkhead and the first class section; I had this little room to myself that I could pace back and forth from one window to the other. It was fantastic, if you ignore the fact that I was traveling for work.

The flight back was during the Lunar New Year, so it was pretty empty too. I just seriously lucked out that trip.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 6:37 PM on February 8, 2010


I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but this year I heard two separate recommendations to go bicycling during the Super Bowl because of the lack of traffic. I really wanted to do this, but the family was sick. I just had to pass it on though, as it seemed to be an awesome idea.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 6:40 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, whether one should reclaim words like 'anarchist' (or 'hacker', 'radical', 'feminist'...) from those who use them negatively, or accept to some extent the negative connotation and forgo that particular label altogether. [...] That's how I read orthogonality and davejay's comments. It seems fair to allow people to be a little picky when communicating their position vis-à-vis some broad descriptor like 'feminism', without needing to interpret their statements as implying that feminism is a good thing to be or not.

On the other hand, mindwarp, I took The Devil Tesla's comments as an attempt to reclaim the word "feminist" from the negative connotation -- because, dammit, feminism is still a good idea.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


We're all here talking about the Dodge Charger ad, right? Then it was a great success.

Like Carly Fiorina's Demon Sheep ad?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:52 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


that "facts about me" list

That whole thing was about post-WTO, if you lived in Seattle and said you were an anarchist, people who didn't know much about anarchism would assume you meant black bloc sort of things like they saw on TV and would make a whole series of assumptions that I didn't want to untangle every single time. It's weird to say "Well according to my definition I'm an anarchist, but according to your definition, I'm not"

I also feel that there's a time and a place for self-identification of most sorts and feminism is the same way. Anyone who knows me, for example, knows I'm a feminist, but that may or may not be a useful assertion of facts depending on what the discussion is that's going on. And sure it's privilege that lets me even choose whether and when to self-identify. But I think you and Devil Tesla are on the same page, mindwarp.

But I'm not really the greatest person to take advice to, I sort of think television is degrading to everyone.
posted by jessamyn at 6:57 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


You misspelled "prominent".
posted by monospace at 7:01 PM on February 8, 2010


Puppies are feminist-anarchists! Who love tacos! And bite Jay Leno!

And "The Puppy Wire" wouldn't have swearing and violence. Just gangs of puppies on Baltimore street corners, licking themselves.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:12 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, owners of affordable fast cars are secretly pathetic and oppressed?

The Charger is an affordable fast car? How's that work? The muscle-car SRT-8 version is almost $40K. Does 0–60mph in 6 seconds.

The Mazdaspeed6 — not in the least muscley — is faster, with a 5.4s 0–60mph, and its price is cheaper enough that you could throw in a Hyundai Accent to keep it company.

And I'm sure there are a dozen other cars that perform better, cost less, and are not nearly so hideous.

We're all here talking about the Dodge Charger ad, right? Then it was a great success. By being outraged about it, the marketers win.

They only win if we continue talking about it after this thread dies. And only if we are more inclined to purchase a Dodge Charger. I don't think they're gonna be able to call it a "win" in the end.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


BTW, anyone read anything that explains why the misogyny was out in full force this year? What's so special about 2009/10 that the advertisers/marketers decided that hating women would sell things?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Feminism is not something you have "join". It's something you agree with or don't agree with. If you hate these ads because they are terribly anti-woman, then guess what? You are a feminist normal person with decent values and critical thinking skills.

FTFY. Let's make good respectful behavior the baseline, folks.


I'm sure that's true for many of us here and for many of our friends and families, but it's not true for for everyone. I'm sure the people who came up with these ads think they are normal people with decent values and critical thinking skills.

Feminism can be equated with normal people with decent values and critical thinking skills only after shit like this is gone and over with.
posted by rubah at 7:17 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]



On the other hand, mindwarp, I took The Devil Tesla's comments as an attempt to reclaim the word "feminist" from the negative connotation -- because, dammit, feminism is still a good idea.


So are hacking and radicalism, according to the way I use those words. But I wouldn't describe my friends as great hackers to someone who's only heard that word used to describe people who break security systems.

not antifeminist
posted by LogicalDash at 7:21 PM on February 8, 2010


I suspect many people aren't willing to describe themselves as feminists because of certain excesses they perceive on the part of some who embrace the label.

I think I should clarify this comment. I'm totally cool with people rejecting labels and not calling themselves feminists. I just want them to, while rejecting labels, make sure don't do it by rejecting another one.

I would have gotten the same thing from orthogonality's comment if he hadn't said that he wasn't a feminist.

But yes, the fact that orthogonality may perceive certain excesses committed by feminists is a problem. Unlike jessamyn, who can point to "black bloc sort of things" as the kind of stuff that anarchists have done that she doesn't want to be associated with, what people bring up as excesses committed by feminists are most likely myths or misinterpretations.

I don't want to let someone get away with believing in these things because letting the reputation of people who stuck up for women and called themselves feminists to slip even further is a bad thing. It makes sticking up for women and fighting inequalities into a weird thing to do.

That is all. I'm not super eloquent, but that's what I believe and I hope you understand.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 7:23 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


five fresh fish: I bet it's the high unemployment. And specifically, I've noticed a few articles suggesting that this is the first recession to hit men harder than women. They think that men who are out of work, or in less-secure jobs, are susceptible to this "Prove your manhood by buying things!" BS precisely because it makes them feel insecure that they can't buy things.
posted by Jeanne at 7:24 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


One of the reasons I don't like identifying as a feminist, even though my actions over my life on balance probably bear me out to be someone who is an independent, self-sufficient, strong and educated female, is precisely highlighted by the direction this conversation has taken. We have The Devil Tesla and orthogonality more or less agreeing about the same underlying concepts things, but debating about whether the label should or shouldn't be used. Not even to define other people, but for an individual speaker to define his or herself. The label, and discussions about it, are distracting from the real conversation. That, and being marginalized for using the label (with non use as an attempt to convey ideas without arguing about labels), contribute to my hesitancy to self-identify as a feminist. I prefer to self-identify as a woman who is against discrimination (whether based on race, gender, sexual orientation, whatever).
posted by bunnycup at 7:30 PM on February 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


And specifically, I've noticed a few articles suggesting that this is the first recession to hit men harder than women.

This is what I was going to suggest. Many men have been badly impacted over the last couple of years, and I'm sure that it shows up in all the ad companies' focus groups and surveys. So I read these ads as being dumb and not very well thought out attempts to respond to the tensions expressed by male consumers, but not very successfully so.
posted by Forktine at 7:32 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


We have The Devil Tesla and orthogonality more or less agreeing about the same underlying concepts things, but debating about whether the label should or shouldn't be used.

As I've said it two times before, I'm fine with someone not calling themselves a feminist as long as they don't make a point of saying "I'm not a feminist" when they talk about gender issues, for reasons that I've mentioned already.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 7:37 PM on February 8, 2010


I'm Sarah Palin, and I approve of the Dodge Charger ad.

Seriously, it's like a Tea Party recruitment video.
posted by helmutdog at 7:39 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Devil Tesla, I understand that and it's precisely that logic I was interested in exploring when I mentioned the reasons that some women I know, myself included, specifically use the "I'm not a feminist, but..." phrasing. I'm hesitant to explore the subject more because it's a total derail, so I am going to try to bring my comments back around. With the ads here, and with raunch culture, and with other areas of society that make me feel despised, marginalized, like the butt of a joke, objectified or whatever because I am a woman, I think part of that culture is further marginalizing the women who object. So while on the one hand I get where I think you are coming from, in terms of owning and being proud to call one's self a feminist, I feel much more likely to be heard by others if I specifically distance myself from feminism. It is often embarrassing and difficult to bring up and object to these topics (and even here on MeFi, where the culture is more egalitarian than most of the rest of the planet, I often have decided against speaking my opinion). Further, there are a few tenets or branches of feminism that I don't agree with, but more troubling, there's a prejudice against the 'group' in general. I'd like to have my views heard, and sometimes to do that the "I'm not a feminist" phrase feels necessary.
posted by bunnycup at 7:46 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I think the two-doors good, four-doors bad comments kind of bear this out, too... if you could really drive the car you wanted to drive... would it really be a sedan format?"

Regular people can't buy a 2 door hard top anymore so why not; everything else is automatically a lesser of evils.

"Does the Dodge Charger come with its own Autobahn on which it can unleash the manfully fearsome horsepower shown in the commercial without the driver getting ticketed for a moving violation?"

It's tough to tell of course but it didn't appear they were going all that fast. Remember they have to be paced by a camera truck that has to maintain at least a moderately steady platform. 99.99% of the viewers aren't going to be able to tell the difference between 50 and 100 miles an hour anyways. Most have them have never even travelled that fast in a car.
posted by Mitheral at 7:48 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whatever misconceptions you may have about feminism that causes you to need to qualify yourself as not being a feminist when you espouse a feminist viewpoint, they exists at the service of sexism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:55 PM on February 8, 2010 [22 favorites]


Yeah, it was cute but I was kind of wondering what the call to action was... "They sound great! You're out of my browser searchbar, Bing!"

A friend from Google brought up the point that very few people who use Google actually know about and use the products in the ad - very few people know what Google Maps is, or know about things like checking flight times.
posted by naju at 7:59 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's times like these that I like to trot out this old gem. Really, people? Really?
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 8:02 PM on February 8, 2010


Ooh too many comments to read them all. I would just like to say that at the beginning of the Dockers No Pants ad, those guys looked pretty happy without pants. Then the grumpy voice came in and told us that men have to wear pants, and it seemed like paradise had been lost. So I have no desire to buy any Dockers.
posted by mai at 8:04 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I feel much more likely to be heard by others if I specifically distance myself from feminism. It is often embarrassing and difficult to bring up and object to these topics (and even here on MeFi, where the culture is more egalitarian than most of the rest of the planet, I often have decided against speaking my opinion).

The first thing that came to mind when I read your comment is if we read the same MeFi. Feminism is generally well received here. That is partially why I think that the fact that orthogonality felt he had to say he wasn't a feminist is different than the situation that you're describing.

But yea, I want to live in a world where you don't have to say things like "I'm not a feminist" in order to say something that is "feminist," and the fact you feel that you have to qualify statements like that is something I find somewhat disturbing.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:11 PM on February 8, 2010


I wasn't even watching the Superbowl- Hulu is just blasting the Dodge Charger ad left and right.

In short: "OH NOES! I am forced to act as a grown adult living with another grown adult, and not a caretaker/nanny/maid person! THE OPPRESSION! THE SACRIFICE! THE MANPAIN!"
posted by yeloson at 8:11 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Whatever misconceptions you may have about feminism that causes you to need to qualify yourself as not being a feminist when you espouse a feminist viewpoint, they exists at the service of sexism.

I would argue that criticizing women over how they self-represent is a far greater disservice to egalitarianism, self-autonomy, etc., than allowing those women to self-represent as they choose and supporting honest awareness and education. I'm going to bookmark this as part of the ideology, expression and dogma that make me uncomfortable identifying as a feminist. You just made me wish I'd stayed silent.
posted by bunnycup at 8:12 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm going to bookmark this as part of the ideology, expression and dogma that make me uncomfortable identifying as a feminist.

You should bookmark this as part of what makes up the ideology, expression and dogma of Astro Zombie, not feminism.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:17 PM on February 8, 2010


The Devil Tesla - I think that culture is leaps and bounds and orders of magnitude less represented here on MeFi than in other places. I guess a different way of saying what I mean is that often the group - feminists - is objected to whereas the message - egalitarianism - is not. To me, feminism is more or less (but not completely) the same as egalitarianism. I have indeed met people who are resistant to feminism, by name, but open to egalitarianism. I see the contradiction, they don't - they've been taught a version of feminism that doesn't reflect what is likely the dominant reality, but they believe it to the core. I'd rather achieve my goal of egalitarianism, without reference to form. I agree that the world would be a better place if no one felt it was necessary to preface with "I'm not a feminist" but I certainly do it sometimes (in certain company) and understand why many women, especially young women, do. I am also speaking of the phrase in a greater symbolic meaning, i.e. taking labels out of the equation and talking about broader equality for everyone and not just gender equality. Two rather independent things - because I also do not want to sideline others' equality, that might not be gender based, if that makes any sense.

Please let me be clear that I am not trying to put words or motivations in orthogonality's mouth.
posted by bunnycup at 8:18 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


But yes, I kind of agree, though I don't think that you are a bad person for deciding to not call yourself a feminist.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:20 PM on February 8, 2010


Oh preview fail.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:21 PM on February 8, 2010


I was more offended by Volkswagen trying to co-opt "Punch buggy" (or "Slug bug, if you're one of those commie-types).

I mean, it's an excuse to hit your little brother when you see a Beetle, not "a red one". "A green one".

Lame. Though Stevie Wonder was cool. But then, they even managed to ruin that by having the terrible Tracey Morgan.
posted by madajb at 8:25 PM on February 8, 2010


I hate football and the Super Bowl and everything associated with it. I hate the fans. I hate the game. I hate that grown adults can possibly give a shit about a sports team that doesn't have their ten year-old kid on the roster. I hate the manufactured rivalries. I hate the real rivalries. I hate the non-stop parade of domestic abusers the NFL employs. I hate Michael Vick. I hate that anyone could watch him for one minute without gouging out their eyes in remorse. I hate that the fact that there are maybe a half-dozen actual human beings who play professional football, and that people act like it's something to be celebrated rather than horrified by. I hate the decades-long cover-up of football-related brain trauma. I hate that no one else seems to give a shit. I hate that people are excited about multi-million dollar commercials while hundreds of thousands of people die and suffer a mere seven hundred miles away. I hate that football's mean, garish, ugly spirit is a near-perfect representation of the American Ideal. I hate that I'll have to hear about it all over again next year.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:26 PM on February 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


Wait, what? Oh she's the butt of the joke? Being Betty White is a bad thing? WELL THEN FUCK YOU SNICKERS.

Betty White is 88, so in the context of playing full contact football then yes, being Betty White is a bad thing.
posted by Bonzai at 8:33 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whatever misconceptions you may have about feminism that causes you to need to qualify yourself as not being a feminist when you espouse a feminist viewpoint, they exists at the service of sexism.

This is seriously bullshit. Lots of terms (eg anarchist, Christian, feminist, libertarian, etc) carry huge baggage. There are a lot of situations in which one can communicate a message much more easily by sidestepping the divisive label. That's strategic action -- indeed, something that fits well within many strands of feminism -- not "at the service of sexism."

There is way, way too much of men telling women why they are bad and misbehaving in this world. Harshing on some contributers here for being bad feminists is not just unnecessary but positively, dare I say it, at the service of sexism. The intentions may be good, but the outcome isn't.
posted by Forktine at 8:37 PM on February 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


Two notes, bunnybup:

The term egalitarianism is so broad it really doesn't mean anything to me. There are people who lived in a slave-owning society who thought that they were living in an egalitarian society because white males were generally equal. Such a weak term! I fear that you are only using it because you are afraid to use a term that you shouldn't be afraid to use.

I also do not want to sideline others' equality

That achieving feminist goals would do anything other than make things more equal in the world is one of those misconceptions that "exists at the service of sexism" that Astro Zombie mentions.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:39 PM on February 8, 2010


Am I a bad person cause I thought the Charger was funny as hell?

I don't like being called a feminist 'cause it sounds like it's for ladies and I'm a guy. I'm ok with humanist or Lord of the Tacos though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:41 PM on February 8, 2010


There is way, way too much of men telling women why they are bad and misbehaving in this world. Harshing on some contributers here for being bad feminists is not just unnecessary but positively, dare I say it, at the service of sexism. The intentions may be good, but the outcome isn't.

What the fuck? I don't think either me or AZ want to do anything other than talk about this with bunnycup, I personally don't want her to feel like she has done much wrong even though I disagree with you. Calling us sexist just because we are men who are feminist talking to a woman is entirely beyond the point that I think you are just being a troll.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:45 PM on February 8, 2010


Gahh I'm turning into a bumbling idiot, sorry.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:47 PM on February 8, 2010


Count me in the simple "there's no such thing as bad publicity" camp. Commercials exist for two reasons: 1) to chum the brand into our cosmic unconsciousness with the hopes that it will surface at the right moment (ie, when one finds oneself in the market for a car/domain-name/prescription-drug), and 2) to annoy me.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:48 PM on February 8, 2010


Google was advertising to about 1/3 (maybe fewer) of the people who were watching the Super Bowl, as one has to be able to read to get the ad...which was really good

Wow, you win the prize for most elitist statement.
posted by Bonzai at 8:55 PM on February 8, 2010


This is seriously bullshit. Lots of terms (eg anarchist, Christian, feminist, libertarian, etc) carry huge baggage.

And my case is that much of the baggage of feminism is how it has been identified by those who want to discredit it, and that we do feminism a disservice by letting those people define it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:58 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think you are just being a troll.

Is there html to make the sound of a ringing bell? Because I think I just completed my MetaFilter bingo card by being called a troll for the first time. All I'm lacking now is a callout of my own, and I'll graduate into a full-fledged member of the inner creche.
posted by Forktine at 9:01 PM on February 8, 2010


These ads are signifiers of a culture on the verge of getting what it deserves in a big way.
--posted by you just lost the game

1) eponysterical.
2) we're fucking doomed.
posted by tzikeh at 9:02 PM on February 8, 2010


I want the Puppy Bowl to be fun, but it's always a let-down.

What they do to those poor overstimulated kitties at halftime is a crime.
posted by mediareport at 9:03 PM on February 8, 2010


*sigh*
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:03 PM on February 8, 2010


Sorry I called you a troll.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:04 PM on February 8, 2010


I feel like I need to apologize to my husband for making him so goddamned miserable that he wanted to rent a Charger on our honeymoon.

not really
posted by desjardins at 9:06 PM on February 8, 2010


I am gonna go to bat for the fine folks of wk up in portland, who came up with the dodge commercial. that girls ruin everything is self evident to any eight-year old boy and that's exactly where this was supposed to go. it was talking about the inner child in guys that had been successfully domesticated simply by growing up and desiring to not live alone. we all make compromises and no longer being the dirty, grimy kid playing in a tar pit, is one of them. the kids at wk are not a sexist bunch. they're nice guys. they're these guys and dan is awesome.
posted by krautland at 9:08 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


the kids at wk are not a sexist bunch.

Regardless, they made a sexist commercial.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:09 PM on February 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


SOME MONTHS AGO:

A casting director is reading over the script for a new Dodge Charger ad. While she contemplates it (and begins to empty the rye despite it being noon), she gets a call from the higher ups. They want to know if she's thought of anyone for the voice over. She stops, takes a sip, and says in a clear even tone that she's knows exactly the right person to give the ad the ring aura it needs. The higher up is happy, the phone clicks, and the conversation is over.

She waits a full 60 seconds before bursting into raging, uncontrollable laughter.
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


No thoughts on Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprising their roles in Vacation? Here's the whole short on YouTube. I thought it was pretty funny in turns, though it petered out in the end.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:16 PM on February 8, 2010


Cause now they both look like mean cartoons of themselves?
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 PM on February 8, 2010


Re: "sidelining," AZ's comment and "egalitarianism"

I think I agree that achieving feminist goals would not do anything other than make things more equal in the world. Yes, feminism would make the world more equal with regard to gender and that would be good - it would be (to show my thought process) especially good because it would be egalitarian (read it as broad and inclusive). The effect of these actions has been to tend toward giving mandated FMLA, that applies equally to a mother or a father, and can be used equally by both for other medical emergencies like a sick parent.

But what about males who don't fit their dominant mold, equality issues in race, in sexual identity and partner preference? I mean to say that I sometimes when I speak with people affected in those groups, I de-emphasize feminism. I then focus on the idea of equality for everyone - that including women, people of color, people all over the spectrum on sexuality and identity. That wider equality - for everyone - is my goal.

If I am talking to you-know-the-type anti-feminist men, I tell them look "You and me know we're not in the feminist party, but don't you think your daughter should be paid the same as a man for doing the same job? Not better (unless she is, and gets promoted), but both the same". I've gotten farther on conversations like that - using equality as a guiding point - than by citing feminism. Not self-identifying as a feminist helped me to get those people to listen. On the other hand, a young girl might face ridicule and perhaps danger on professing she's a feminist because others around her are young, and uninformed. She wants to inform them. Catch 22 - if she has to identify as a feminist she might not get through. If she dis-identifies, she might. The second is just a hypothetical story of course.

Finally, I jsut plain don't think I need to preface every phrase with I am a feminist. Personally, I don't think it matters whether someone aligns as a feminist. I'm much more interested in doing good things, etc. Now, both AZ and Devil Tesla seem to agree with that - okay to not identify - but add not to use the "I'm not a feminist" phrase. Sometimes it's right not to use it - helpful for dialog, inclusive, whatever. Other times, its from fear. Rather than criticizing the women who are in some kind of fear - sometimes, I am one of them - let's give her safe spaces where she can be whatever kind of feminist she wants (fuck it, she can be a feminist and drive a Charger for all I care - no derails here) and be safe. And I truly believe that the more legal and social change happens, and the more older men and women guide and support kids and teens and young adult, we could get to the point where no one has to say "I am not a feminist" for any reason, but especially not fear.

Okay, I hope this makes SOME sense, as I am TUI (typing under the influence) right now and better get myself to bed before the ambien knocks me over at my desk. Please be kind.
posted by bunnycup at 9:18 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: That's how I took them too, actually. Part of what I'm trying to get at is simply that the debate over whether to use the word is one of those endless ones that happen because language is inherently fuzzy about this kind of thing. Faced with said fuzziness, it is a natural outcome that various people will use (or not use) identifiers such as 'feminist' in various ways. See this comment by bunnycup for example.

jessamyn: Yes, you've nailed it with the point about untangling the whole series of assumptions bit; that's just what I'm talking about. Assumptions are always present, hidden in the cracks of our speech. We all sense this to various extents, and that's why people feel the need to make clarifications. And often that's all those clarifications are: a simple "please don't lump me together with X" statement. In most cases, it seems a bit much to project the support or sabotage of a whole cultural cause (e.g. gender equality) on statements like that. [As an aside, with you 100% on your assessment of television; I hold controversies such as this one as further proof of its accuracy.]

The Devil Tesla> But yes, the fact that orthogonality may perceive certain excesses committed by feminists is a problem. Unlike jessamyn, who can point to "black bloc sort of things" as the kind of stuff that anarchists have done that she doesn't want to be associated with, what people bring up as excesses committed by feminists are most likely myths or misinterpretations.

While I agree with jessamyn that you and I are [mostly] on the same page, I don't see how you can claim something like the above as general fact. 'Feminist' can be and is used to describe people running the gamut from Valerie Solanas to Andrea Dworkin to Camille Paglia. It might be perfectly fair to think that some of these people's positions are excessive -- "fair" as in, reasonable people can legitimately disagree on the point. Consequently, it can happen that some of those reasonable people would rather not be lumped in with 'feminists' in general, just like jessamyn did with 'anarchists'. The fact that it's not the same kind of excess (mostly ideological/verbal instead of physical, for example) doesn't mean the question isn't essentially the same. I wouldn't hold orthogonality responsible for helping make feminism look weird more than I hold jessamyn responsible for doing the same with anarchism, which is to say not at all (that's regardless of the bit about black bloc context).

Of course, if you think that language is clear and unambiguous, and that there is only one true definition of feminism and none of the additional associations that words evoke should enter into the discussion at all -- then I guess Solanas, Dworkin and Paglia are all feminists and so are you and so am I. Personally, I find that such a simplistic conception of language deprives most terms of any useful meaning, though I suppose your mileage may vary. Looking at words in such black and white, for instance, do expressions like "the feminist movement" mean anything whatsoever?

Astro Zombie> And my case is that much of the baggage of feminism is how it has been identified by those who want to discredit it, and that we do feminism a disservice by letting those people define it.

I guess part of mine is, with the Tao Te Ching, that "the name you can say isn’t the real name". The words that can be spoken aren't the actual things themselves, and the words that are heard are not the words that were spoken anyway. Taking a hard line with regards to the meaning of words can sometimes do a disservice to the ideas those words, mere symbols that they are, are pointing to.
posted by mindwarp at 9:20 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't like being called a feminist 'cause it sounds like it's for ladies and I'm a guy. I'm ok with humanist or Lord of the Tacos though.

Brandon, I feel so tempted to buy you a "this is what a feminist looks like" t-shirt.

Those ads were terrible. Groans accompanied each one at the party I attended. A shame, too--this was one of the more exciting games I've seen in my seven years of superbowl watching. Really, really soured it.

And, man, are The Who old.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:20 PM on February 8, 2010


I guess part of mine is, with the Tao Te Ching, that "the name you can say isn’t the real name". The words that can be spoken aren't the actual things themselves, and the words that are heard are not the words that were spoken anyway. Taking a hard line with regards to the meaning of words can sometimes do a disservice to the ideas those words, mere symbols that they are, are pointing to.

Well, yes. But words also have the meaning we let them have, and I'm not going to let the idiots gain control of the meaning of the word feminism. I will continue to use it as it should be used -- to describe a worldview in which women are held to be fundamentally equally. And I will continue to encourage others to use the word in that way, and rankle when it is used to mean something easily despised.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:24 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am gonna go to bat for the fine folks of wk up in portland, who came up with the dodge commercial. that girls ruin everything is self evident to any eight-year old boy and that's exactly where this was supposed to go. it was talking about the inner child in guys that had been successfully domesticated simply by growing up and desiring to not live alone. we all make compromises and no longer being the dirty, grimy kid playing in a tar pit, is one of them.

Man, that's so not true. In my household, it's my husband who's all, like, "clean out the kitchen sink, woman!" and "Make sure you get your little leg hairs out of the tub." Meanwhile, I'm pretty much still the grimy eight-year-old.

The problem with idiotic sexism isn't just that it's idiotic. The problem is that it's just not accurate.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:24 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I was 8, it was pretty obvious to me that other boys had a genius for ruining things.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:26 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Count me in the simple "there's no such thing as bad publicity" camp.

While we're at it, this also applies to feminism.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:26 PM on February 8, 2010


Count me in the simple "there's no such thing as bad publicity" camp.

I don't know, if your product had a big popular reputation for blowing up and disfiguring people and then eating puppies, wouldn't you want to - as they say - rebrand?
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on February 8, 2010


I don't know, if your product had a big popular reputation for blowing up and disfiguring people and then eating puppies, wouldn't you want to - as they say - rebrand?

Depends on whether you're Gwar or not.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:28 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


All things loud and hoooorrrrriiible good Gwar made them all
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just don't have any clever things to say because I was just confused, confused, confused. How can a Dorito stick you in the neck? How does a bunch of people walking around without pants make you wants to buy pants? Didn't you only slug somebody if it was a Volkswagon Beetle? Why wouldn't it be an insult to say you played football like Betty White? Why would Betty White be playing football anyway? The whole thing was just one big confuse fest.
posted by tamitang at 9:32 PM on February 8, 2010


Not to be That Guy With No TV...

Oooh, oooh, I know this one! This is just like how you can be sure that any sentence beginning with "No offense, but..." is certain to be offensive, and the speaker knows damn well that it is.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:32 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


In my household, it's my husband who's all, like, "clean out the kitchen sink, woman!" and "Make sure you get your little leg hairs out of the tub." Meanwhile, I'm pretty much still the grimy eight-year-old.

Looks like Dodge may also be trying to hedge their bets by targeting the grimy eight-year-old inner-girl with a second commercial.
posted by MarchHare at 9:34 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's too bad there weren't any commercials for a warm, satisfying, fiber-filled plate of beans...
posted by madajb at 9:35 PM on February 8, 2010


I don't wanna unpack that second commerical, I don't think I'll like what's in the box.
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 PM on February 8, 2010


Finally, I jsut plain don't think I need to preface every phrase with I am a feminist.

Yet you consciously feel the need to say you're not a feminist. To say those words to people in order to bond with them somehow and "get through", as you said. Personally, it seems almost a little deceptive to do so. In that other scenario you mentioned, where a girl might not get through if she identifies herself as a feminist, well then why encourage her to deemphasize her beliefs instead of declaring herself how she feels and desires. My point earlier about no bad publicity applying to feminism is that by introducing ourselves as feminists, we have an opportunity to explain things and to dispel some of that baggage that comes from people misunderstanding what most feminists believe (as opposed to the radical feminists and those in between). But if we downplay or even make it a point to say "I am not one of those feminists", then you add to that baggage, you continue to silently support that discrimination, and maybe you reach someone else in the process that you might not have otherwise, while doing a disservice to those who stand up and claim what they believe in, no matter what society might think.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:37 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dodge is being run by idiots.
posted by mediareport at 9:51 PM on February 8, 2010


I was trying to figure out why The Devil Tesla's post bothered me so much, so that when I did come here and comment, I wouldn't resort to the sort of bad behavior I exhibited in Metafilter's last great misogyny discussion that made everyone rather (justly) cross with me.

It's not something that I expect TDT to agree with, but what made me a bit bothered this time is basically that I saw TDT's post to be another reiteration of a behavior I'm seeing everywhere these days, one that really annoys me -- in that we see factions of all types really reaching to make something inclusive within the precept they're trying to push forward. I see it with Sarah Palin, I see it with Daily Kos, I see it with TDT here. To me, I'm seeing, no matter what the faction (including those factions I disagree with), a seeming willingness to be ridiculously elastic in that certain ability to mold reality to fit one's expectations. That elasticity has always been around, but now, in the modern-day political process, the stretching seems to resemble Plastic Man.

That's made me a little impatient when I see that elasticity used elsewhere ... such as, you'll forgive me, here (although, to be clear, I'm not saying that the same amount of elasticity can be seen here as can be seen in the actions of modern-day politicians).

TDT, yes, there were a FEW misogynistic ads: you'll get no argument from me that the Dodge Charger ad was distastefully oriented towards a "male impotent rage" demographic, and the Bridgestone was based on a misogynistic punchline. The FloTV ad was especially misogynistic in that it had him voluntarily offering something to the conversation ("how about the lavender?"), which to me implies willing participation in their shopping; thus, the implication on their part seems to be that the choice to spend time with your girlfriend shopping is inherently one that makes you spineless.

But as for me, the book club demonstrates the guy as being an idiot (certainly not an uncommon meme, and one that has never generated an indignant summary of misandristic 'dumb husband' moments in commercials). And I have utterly no idea how one could stretch the definition of misogyny to make the "no-pants" advertisement somehow become misogynistic. (It seemed to me to be a Bowlderized ripoff of Steve Sullivan's "A Heap of Trouble", actually.) And I'm not sure if "notable ads" merely meant just generally notable, or notable for misogyny, but I'd have similar problems finding traces of misogyny in Google's or the Late Show's advertisements.

As for Focus on the Family -- I'm sorry, I'm most definitely pro-choice, but the content of the ad itself didn't offend me. It wasn't structured as an "issue ad." It was a "garsh, we're not zealous at all, folks, come check out this big tent we have over here!" ad. Like other ads (that awful Griswold bit), it served as a lead-in to solicit viewers to visit the vendor's site, which contains stronger messages -- and, yes, those messages I disagree with. But as it was, it was a fairly milquetoast "I love you, Mommy" advertisement (albeit with a rather disturbing tackle) that could've served as a commercial for some bland part of ABC Family's lineup. If whatever progressive ad was turned down (I cannot remember the details at the moment) was of a similar milquetoast-in-appearance structure was turned, then I'm offended at the hypocrisy -- but if the progressive ad was a fire-'n'-brimstone tact, then it's their fault for stupidly structuring the proposed ad that way.

I also suppose I grow a little tired of such commentary being structured in a format of what seems to me to feel like passive-voice victimization. "Look at what was done to us this weekend -- Dodge, Bridgestone, etc. openly displayed misogynistic advertisements to millions of viewers." Perhaps Monty Python poisoned me when I saw "Holy Grail" early on, but nowadays, I can only hear the "halp halp come see the violence inherent in the system" bit when I see such notes replayed yet another time.

To me, the proper theme one can take away from such advertisements is instead, "Hey, look! Most of corporate America has completely missed the mark of sensible, cool, touching, humane, etc. once again! Man, 95% of Madison Avenue just needs to get tossed onto the street nowadays, doesn't it?" We know that it can be done well ... Google had me 'awww'-ing, and the surreality of a Dorito-clad samurai was one of the only ones that had me laughing out loud. But most ads had me thinking things like, "People sat around in a meeting and agreed that infant 'infidelity' would be a great way to spend a Superbowl-sized ad budget?"

To me, the story ... and for God's sake, it's an old, old, old one by now ... is exactly how 18th century Madison Avenue is, and how bizarre it is that they keep churning out this stuff that just so very much misses the mark. Especially when they try to approximate authenticity ... nothing smells quite so much of that bizarre bitter-spoiled-plastic smell as Madison Avenue's multiple attempts to mimic genuineness with their bizarre approximations.

But even if you don't agree with me, I get more energized when I hear such people basically say, "Fuck you, Bridgestone", and take an active voice. A good "fuck you, Betty White rocks" commentary (such as was said earlier in this thread) will get far more of a resounding huzzah from me (although the message there -- a stupid one -- was about age, not gender, somehow being 'bad', as was made clear by Abe Vigoda in the commercial's final moments -- again, a erroneous reach to make Snickers misogynistic).

Anyway, that's my four hundred and seventy-five bits, for the picopennies they're worth.
posted by WCityMike at 9:51 PM on February 8, 2010


Rather than criticizing the women who are in some kind of fear - sometimes, I am one of them - let's give her safe spaces where she can be whatever kind of feminist she wants (fuck it, she can be a feminist and drive a Charger for all I care - no derails here) and be safe.

I think it's worth mentioning that, as a gay white college student at a liberal arts college, for me to have to qualify statements with "I'm not a feminist but..." would be especially cowardly. From my point of view, which seems to be different from yours, compromising statements like that is an entirely different thing, I have the privilege to be fully myself.

We definitely see eye to eye on this specific instance, and I'm very glad that you took the time to explain things more fully. :)
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:51 PM on February 8, 2010


(After seeing that 2nd ad)
posted by mediareport at 9:52 PM on February 8, 2010


To me, I'm seeing, no matter what the faction (including those factions I disagree agree with), a seeming ...
posted by WCityMike at 9:53 PM on February 8, 2010


Parisian Love, Part 2 by MeFi User #00001
posted by JDHarper at 10:05 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The words that can be spoken aren't the actual things themselves, and the words that are heard are not the words that were spoken anyway. Taking a hard line with regards to the meaning of words can sometimes do a disservice to the ideas those words, mere symbols that they are, are pointing to.

Exactly this. The goddamn map is not the goddamn territory. If someone has a negative reaction to "feminism" but is otherwise in agreement about gender roles, public policy, law and so forth, getting all pissy about the reaction shows nothing more than over-attachment to an abstraction.
posted by Snyder at 10:06 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google was advertising to about 1/3 (maybe fewer) of the people who were watching the Super Bowl, as one has to be able to read to get the ad...which was really good.

I hate football and the Super Bowl and everything associated with it. I hate the fans. I hate the game. I hate that grown adults can possibly give a shit about a sports team that doesn't have their ten year-old kid on the roster.

*looks up from memorizing his Monster Manual to comment*

What a couple of dorks. Eddie Deezen could give you guys swirlies.
posted by Snyder at 10:09 PM on February 8, 2010


They want to know if she's thought of anyone for the voice over. She stops, takes a sip, and says in a clear even tone that she's knows exactly the right person to give the ad the ring aura it needs. The higher up is happy, the phone clicks, and the conversation is over.

She waits a full 60 seconds before bursting into raging, uncontrollable laughter.


Charger: Tonight's the night. And I'm going to drive it again and again...and again.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:12 PM on February 8, 2010


But as for me, the book club demonstrates the guy as being an idiot (certainly not an uncommon meme, and one that has never generated an indignant summary of misandristic 'dumb husband' moments in commercials). And I have utterly no idea how one could stretch the definition of misogyny to make the "no-pants" advertisement somehow become misogynistic. (It seemed to me to be a Bowlderized ripoff of Steve Sullivan's "A Heap of Trouble", actually.)

The Bud Light one might be a streach to call sexist now that I think about it a little more, the joke at the end was probably the worst part. The dockers one I'm lumping in as sexist because it suggests that being happy and effeminate is a bad thing for a man to be and you should be manly. I think that's sexism, and if it isn't I'll just say that it's bad thing sort of along simular lines.

And I'm not sure if "notable ads" merely meant just generally notable, or notable for misogyny, but I'd have similar problems finding traces of misogyny in Google's or the Late Show's advertisements.

Yea, it was just notable.

I also suppose I grow a little tired of such commentary being structured in a format of what seems to me to feel like passive-voice victimization. "Look at what was done to us this weekend -- Dodge, Bridgestone, etc. openly displayed misogynistic advertisements to millions of viewers." Perhaps Monty Python poisoned me when I saw "Holy Grail" early on, but nowadays, I can only hear the "halp halp come see the violence inherent in the system" bit when I see such notes replayed yet another time.

I'm writing MetaFilter posts! I have to be kind of passive. I worded my post to be matter of fact, I didn't mean to make it sound like I feel like some huge problem happened. Something fascinatingly weird happened, which is why I posted it.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:14 PM on February 8, 2010


Google has some other ads in the same vein on YouTube, including Potholes, Cheermobile, Newbie, Out of Office, the Kerouac-inspired Mad to Live, the be-true-to-yourself High School, and this brooding one that was yanked for being too awesome (or for using an unlicensed music track).
posted by Rhaomi at 10:19 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Devil Tesla: The dockers one I'm lumping in as sexist because it suggests that being happy and effeminate is a bad thing for a man to be and you should be manly. I think that's sexism, and if it isn't I'll just say that it's bad thing sort of along simular lines.

Personally, I don't see that – to me, the primary element of the commercial was pure surreality – and I'm a bit confused at how you might parse the characters' behavior as effeminate. A bunch of men clad only in shirts and underwear stomping through a field, swinging their arms, singing a song that's structured in beat and melody to resemble an army call-and-response or battle anthem?
posted by WCityMike at 10:21 PM on February 8, 2010


A bunch of men clad only in shirts and underwear stomping through a field, swinging their arms, singing a song that's structured in beat and melody to resemble an army call-and-response or battle anthem

It looked like so much fun! I guess that I was just mad that the ad was like "stop that, put on pants!"

I will never put on paints, ad. Never.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:26 PM on February 8, 2010


Actually I will put on paints, but not pants.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:27 PM on February 8, 2010


and this brooding one

Holy crap that is awesome.
posted by The Whelk at 10:40 PM on February 8, 2010


mindwarp >> Of course, if you think that language is clear and unambiguous, and that there is only one true definition of feminism and none of the additional associations that words evoke should enter into the discussion at all -- then I guess Solanas, Dworkin and Paglia are all feminists and so are you and so am I.

Sorry to take just one part of what you say and argue with it, but yes, we are all feminists if we want to be. Unlike Solanas and Dworkin we are not also crazy. Feminist is only one part of what I am.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:42 PM on February 8, 2010


Parisian Love, Part 2 by MeFi User #00001

my (wife's) thinking, exactly.
posted by progosk at 12:05 AM on February 9, 2010


No need to be sorry The Devil Tesla, your reply is welcome. I've enjoyed this whole conversation, in fact. Thanks!

To clarify that passage, it wasn't meant to imply that we [+ all the persons cited and the many other possible examples they stood for] aren't feminists in some sense. I was only trying to suggest the limitations of an analysis that stops at the recognition of that fact and of that one sense. To be more explicit perhaps I should have phrased it something like "[...] Solanas and Dworkin and Paglia are all feminists and so are you and so am I, and that's it. [...]"

But really that particular phrase was me getting a bit too into splitting hairs, which sometimes I tend to do. I believe the context you left out shows more of the point I was trying to make. Bottom line, in light of the nature of language it seems to me perfectly understandable why orthogonality might not want to self-describe as feminist and also why Astro Zombie would vow to continue using the word in a positive sense. With jessamyn, I believe "there's a time and a place for self-identification of most sorts and feminism is the same way". Pretty simple really.
posted by mindwarp at 12:34 AM on February 9, 2010


It's the naked ideology of capitalism in a nutshell from Dodge's ad-people there, in all its anti-human let-the-commodity-be-substitute-for-life-and-love horror. You could almost imagine they were actually commissioned in secret by some Machiavellian Maoist tycoon who wants to lay the dark and hollow heart of the Beast bare before us - we have made your life shit, your relationship with those you love shit, and all we can offer in return is this ugly insult.

This should be sidebarred. Hell, this should be reprinted in every newspaper in the country. My God.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I do research on women's issues in medieval literature. A friend of mine studies seventeenth-century women's issues. As we watched the ads she turned to me and said, "We still have a lot of work to do."
posted by woodway at 4:22 AM on February 9, 2010


The thing (not just one thing, but the main thing) that sucked about the Dockers ad is that the message wasn't "wear pants." It was "wear THE pants." Just another tired, get-your-balls-back-from-the-pawn-shop message.

Their print ads have been even more ... I don't know what the word is ... defensive? angry? Wishing for that "simpler time" when everybody but the white guys knew their place?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:06 AM on February 9, 2010


The Chrysler ad confounds me. The everyman or whatever is being represented by the narrator seems broken, whipped, weak and pathetic, who realizes his inner hero/rebel by going into debt for a third-rate car? It's like an anthem of social control that barely tries to hide itself. Amazing.
posted by holycola at 5:54 AM on February 9, 2010


Man, that's so not true. In my household, it's my husband who's all, like, "clean out the kitchen sink, woman!" and "Make sure you get your little leg hairs out of the tub." Meanwhile, I'm pretty much still the grimy eight-year-old.

Word. I am far and away messier than my male partner, who views bleach as manna from heaven.

Two things that make me sad:

#1) That the stigma of "feminist" is such that women who espouse feminist ideas dis-associate from the term in order to be better understood. Man, do I get where bunnycup is coming from, and man does it piss me off that this culture exists wherein in the non-MeFi world identifying as a "feminist" is often seen as identifying as "shrill no fun harpy." GAH. It's really just another tool of the man to marginalize women, and it sucks. "Yeah, well? You want equal rights and shit? I'm just going to choose to view your advocates in the worst possible light and call you a bitch so I don't have to take you seriously." As a feminist man, it's easier to move away from this than it as a woman of any stripe. You can stick up for women's rights as a man without being seen as shrill or bitchy. The same is not always true for women. Hell, even in my own social circle, I've seen women "jokingly" berated for using the term "feminist" as self-identification. And this "joking" is done by men who actually agree with the principle of the statement but have such a narrow view of "feminism" that they hear the word and totally shut down their actual cognitive abilities and go straight to "HURF DURF HILLARY CLINTON AND BAD HAIRCUTS."

2) I'm re-watching Six Feet Under and it sucks so hard to hear David Fisher voice that commercial. Don't do it, David Fisher! GAH!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:02 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Re: the print ad linked by Sweetie Darling:

Sometimes I am torn, because as I see it these ads are so insulting to men as well. Sitcoms tell them they are stupid. Society tells them its not okay to be into raising their kids. Pant adds tell them they are genderless (and responsible for children misbehaving?) if they don't wear khakis. Etc. Someone mentioned PUA upthread and that was spot-on, with the whole idea that advertising is less aspirational than intended to knock people down a peg so they buy a product to return to the baseline jealous of everyone else and using stuff to feel happy. I'm not any happier with these ads' treatment of men than I am with their treatment of women. These ads are so hateful, seemingly of everyone, that it has created such a negative brand association for me.

But, I don't think it is a step up for the adds to just mock and denigrate everyone. Someone might say "Oh, they are not misogynist, they are offensive to men too." What worries me is the idea that that technique is used to permit and to tacitly approve both misogyny and misandry. When, really, neither are okay with me. Because I think to have an egalitarian society, we need to respect entire spectrums of maleness and femaleness and let people fall where they may. I don't see anything gained by just being hateful to everyone. If I have a son, I'd like him to grow up feeling that he didn't need to denigrate women and be hateful to be male, and if I am able to have a daughter grow up, I'd like her to not feeling shamed for being the woman that she grows to be.
posted by bunnycup at 6:42 AM on February 9, 2010


It occurs to me that if a man is upset that his manhood has been surrendered to domesticity and blind obedience, the fault lies with him for surrendering in the first place. To lash out at the world around him is ridiculous.

And there are husbands who love hanging out with their wives. That's why they married them in the first place.
posted by grubi at 6:48 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looks like Dodge may also be trying to hedge their bets by targeting the grimy eight-year-old inner-girl with a second commercial .

That is . . . not a similar message at all.

I can't help but think how much more effective the original commercial would have been if it showed both men and women. Because, you know what? I hate meetings, too. Do advertisers even realize that more women watch the superbowl than any other game? Were they actively trying to insult women? Do they really think this is the most effective way to sell their product?

Plus, everything that grapefruitmoon said. It's bad enough that I get teased at work for correcting my coworkers when they call me "Mrs." (because, in the south, harhar, feminists! Ms.! She proposed to her husband! She's so cute)--I always think of metafilter as a bit better than all that "I'm not a feminist, but . . . " crap.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:49 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


In related news: there is a Facebook page asking NBC to invite Betty White to host 'Saturday Night Live.' There are currently over 96,000 fans of the page.
posted by ericb at 7:19 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ you people, that Betty White ad was funny. It had Abe Vigoda! They're old! They're getting their asses handed to them playing pick up football!

If I was playing LB and saw Betty White on a crossing route you damn well better believe I'd take her fucking head off and be all "BOOYAH BETTY WHITE BETTER GETCHER ASS BACK TO HOLLYWOOD SQUARES!" Because that's what you do. You don't get a lot of opportunities like that. I'd become the one guy who has one good story and tells it to death - "Sit down sonny, let me tell you about the time I decleated Betty White during a game of football"
posted by unixrat at 7:50 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


And then Betty White and I would probably have sex, because again, you don't get a lot of opportunities like that. "Sit down sonny, let me tell you about the time I gently brought Betty White to orgasm time and again."
posted by unixrat at 7:52 AM on February 9, 2010


But probably after the game, not like during it. Because I'm not like a monster or anything.
posted by unixrat at 7:54 AM on February 9, 2010


You could say I'm a feminist, really.
posted by unixrat at 7:55 AM on February 9, 2010


that girls ruin everything is self evident to any eight-year old boy and that's exactly where this was supposed to go. it was talking about the inner child in guys that had been successfully domesticated simply by growing up and desiring to not live alone. we all make compromises and no longer being the dirty, grimy kid playing in a tar pit, is one of them.

Right. I'll take this on point by point.
1. that girls ruin everything is self evident to any eight-year old boy. False. Patently false. Ever talk to any 8-year-old boys? Because all of the ones I grew up playing with are still dear friends, even after losing touch for a few years (due to globe-crossing moves and not much Internet at the time). Further, to this day, some 28 years after we first started playing together, they still bring up how much fun we all had together.

2. it was talking about the inner child in guys that had been successfully domesticated simply by growing up and desiring to not live alone. Because they lived alone when they were kids? They could do whatever they wanted? Them thar boys grew up in packs of wolves? Boy. I can see how hard it must be having to learn how to communicate with human beings. Definitely a sacrifice to leave the wilderness, scrounging for food while hiding from wild bears, cougars, and rabid chipmunks. That'd make me want to buy a car too. At least it would keep me safe from bears. Oh wait, what? You're saying that their own desires made them that way? Huh. Okay, that's called responsibility, not "domestication".

3. we all make compromises and no longer being the dirty, grimy kid playing in a tar pit, is one of them. It is soooo not a tar pit. It is a LAVA PIT! And if you step in the sand instead of on a wood beam, the LAVA PIT MONSTER will devour you. Dude. Come on, they're from Oregon, they should know this stuff. Speaking of compromises, if you'll excuse me, I'm now off to try and translate "gas-powered furry laceration making machine" into French, use the resulting giggles to bribe some candy from a co-worker, then grin while using my well-earned money (from translating, though not always about kitties - ahh, compromises) to buy some flour and bake cupcakes. And then I shall eat as many as I wish, and perhaps share them with my super-great non-lava-pit-monster colleagues. Freakin' eh, being an adult is awesome. When you make choices and choose your compromises well, you totally get to enjoy them! MONSTRE DU CRATÈRE À LAVE !!!!
posted by fraula at 7:55 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


that girls ruin everything is self evident to any eight-year old boy and that's exactly where this was supposed to go. it was talking about the inner child in guys that had been successfully domesticated simply by growing up and desiring to not live alone.

Actually, in my experience, I've found that that "inner-child" eight-year-old boy who thinks "boys rule and girls drool" usually shuts up at about the time that the eight-year-old boy becomes a twelve-year-old boy and figures out, "....wait. Girls have boobs. That changes things."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:31 AM on February 9, 2010


Right. I'll take this on point by point.

Good lord, why?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:48 AM on February 9, 2010


If only that changed things for the better.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:50 AM on February 9, 2010


Feminists are the only group I can think of that demand that other people use a label for themselves. People who are offended by sexism MUST CALL THEMSELVES FEMINISTS OR THEY ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. But no one asks people who are offended by racism to call themselves Minorityists. No one asks people who are offended by homophobia to call themselves Gayists.

I don't call myself a feminist because I don't think it's necessary or useful enough to make up for the stigma. I am just a normal person who calls bullshit on bullshit. I don't have to have some kind of membership card to be qualified to speak up when something is wrong. To me, "I am not a feminist" in this context means "I am not an activist whose interpretation might be skewed by radical ideology". It's not something I ever feel the need to say, but I understand the motivation.
posted by Dojie at 8:50 AM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Well, I do ask that people who are opposed to slavery not start out by saying, "Listen, I'm not an abolitionist, but people being slaves? I just find that wrong."
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:54 AM on February 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


And back to the ads . . . The sexism in the Bridgestone guy choosing his tires over his hawt wife was more bothersome to me than the Charger ad. I didn't think the Charger ad was particularly offensive, I just thought those guys were jerks. They seemed like big bitter whiney babies [NOT BABY-IST] who were throwing tantrums because they had to do something they didn't want to do so they better get something good out of it or else. My six-year-old gets the same way when I make her do her chores.
posted by Dojie at 8:58 AM on February 9, 2010


Does she blame the entire male gender for her anger? And think that all women, forever, share that experience and understand it, even into adulthood?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:06 AM on February 9, 2010


No - she just blames her mom. But she does think that all humans, forever, share that experience and understand it, even into adulthood. Because I am the meanest mom EVER.

But I didn't get the sense that the Charger guys were blaming the entire female gender for their anger. They seemed to be bitter about not always getting their way because of their wives, their jobs and their general grown-up-ness. They're not just complaining about women's demands. They're also complaining because they have to walk their dogs and eat fruit and be at work on time. They're bitter about life - not women.
posted by Dojie at 9:23 AM on February 9, 2010


People who believe that "there's no such thing as bad publicity" need to remember that that phrase is yet another product sold to you by advertisers and publicists*. There IS such a thing as bad publicity -- to say otherwise just demonstrates one's belief in the inherent stupidity of everyone everywhere. The fact that random people in bars (and football fans, to boot!) are calling bullshit on these ads; the fact that more and more people are aware of "the ugly insult," I see this as a hopeful development.

Hell yes there is such a thing as bad publicity and the more people point at these companies and say "you're selling us bullshit that kills us" the better.


*Yeah, ok, psychologists and social scientists, too.
posted by staggering termagant at 9:24 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Sit down sonny, let me tell you about the time I gently brought Betty White to orgasm time and again."

Zombie Allen Ludden - - is that you?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:42 AM on February 9, 2010


I hate that people are excited about multi-million dollar commercials while hundreds of thousands of people die and suffer a mere seven hundred miles away.

Yeah! And I hate how it's impossible to care about more than one thing at a time!
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:57 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was reading this earlier in work so I couldn't check any of the videos. I thought I'd watch the Dodge Charger one when I got home. I just watched it. Holy fuck! Why are you guys all going so easy on it? I mean, holy holy fuck.
posted by Elmore at 9:58 AM on February 9, 2010


I thought the Tebow ad was, on viewing, one of the most women-friendly ads of the whole night. Go figure!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:17 AM on February 9, 2010


I thought the Tebow ad was, on viewing, one of the most women-friendly ads of the whole night. Go figure!

I read some interesting analysis that they manufactured a controversy than did a very simple ad in hopes of making you think that Focus on the Family was simply a reasonable, friendly group that was being maligned by the baby-killing, Satan-worshipping far left commie liberals. Unfortunately I can't find that analysis now, but it really was interesting to consider.
posted by bunnycup at 10:22 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I didn't get the sense that the Charger guys were blaming the entire female gender for their anger

Hm. It seemed to me that the voiceover and the use of a variety of different men staring mornfully at the camera was specifcially intended to suggest that. Or, as somebody above put it, that girls ruin everything.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:35 AM on February 9, 2010


I'll agree with whoever found the Bridgestone ad almost more startlingly offensive...after the waves of modern day misogyny, I settled back into my seat in anticipation of Bridgestone's post-apocalyptic future. It looked like it was going to be awesome, until the teetery mascara-stained woman showed up. I even gave them a couple seconds, in case she turned into an awesome robot and Bridgestone let us know that in the future, everyone would have killer robots installed in their cars to defeat would-be tire thieves. But that's not what happened. She just stood around and looked helpless.

I thought the Dorito samurai was amusing. The Bridgestone whale ad was good, I like ponies and the Clydesdale ads always mean nothing offensive's going to happen, the Simpsons sold Coke well, and my boyfriend laughed at the chickens. I'm not sure why the egg-laying Denny's chickens had male names, unless they're that deep undercover. I'm also not sure why the main character in Coke's Sleepwalker was a white dude.


But no one gets to defend Weiden Kennedy anymore. Let them take their knocks. I like design and advertising and all that, and I keep an eye on them since they have a Portland branch, and they seem to consistently pop up with boneheaded moves.
posted by redsparkler at 10:38 AM on February 9, 2010


The best part of this thread is that NOBODY CARES!
posted by snottydick at 10:40 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm against any -ism, (including Taoism, though I love the Chuang Tzu & Tao Teh Ching) because that's when it becomes an ideology, when people set up rules and say "UR DOING IT RONG." (Look at big-L and little-l libertarianism, same problem.)

Does a feminist believe in essentialism? Can men really be feminist, or understand what it is to be a woman in our society? Is second wave feminism actually anti-feminist? Is third wave? There's even disagreement over whether transpeople are traitors to feminism, as we've seen.

ISMs are all about "we rule and you drool," which defeats the point of the gender change I'm looking for. (anti ISM-ist)
posted by msalt at 10:55 AM on February 9, 2010


Listen, as long as you believe that women should be essentially equal, I don't care what you call yourself.

You're a feminist anyway.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:28 AM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure you clearly established that I'm a sexist in another thread. CONTRADICTION!
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on February 9, 2010


I should hope you don't care what I call myself, because frankly it's none of your business. I would have thought that individual autonomy was a central tenet of feminism.
posted by bunnycup at 11:44 AM on February 9, 2010


But I didn't get the sense that the Charger guys were blaming the entire female gender for their anger

Hm. It seemed to me that the voiceover and the use of a variety of different men staring mornfully at the camera was specifcially intended to suggest that. Or, as somebody above put it, that girls ruin everything.


See, I don't get that. The intense voiceover and the men staring at the camera suggested a terrifying level of bitterness (I agree with Artw that it sounded like a choice between the car or suicide), but they're complaining about having to be responsible and do stuff they don't want to do. I've certainly seen that attitude combined with woman-hating (usually in Bitter Divorced Guy), but there isn't really any woman-hating here.

Let's look at the complaints:
1. I will get up and walk the dog at 6:30AM
2. I will eat some fruit as part of my breakfast
3. I will shave
4. I will clean the sink after I shave
5. I will be at work by 8am, I will sit through two hour meetings
6. I will say yes when you want me to say yes, I will be quiet when you don't want to hear me say no
7. I will take your call, I will listen to your opinion of my friends, I will listen to your friends' opinions of my friends, I will be civil to your mother
8. I will put the seat down, I will separate the recycling, I will carry your lip balm, I will watch your vampire TV shows with you
9. I will take my socks off before getting into bed, I will put my underwear in the basket

Numbers 1, 2 and 5 are in no way related to women. Numbers 3 and 4 might be because his wife/girlfriend insists that he shave and clean up after himself - but maybe he's just complaining because shaving is a pain in the ass. Numbers 6-9 are choices he makes to get along with one specific woman, they have nothing to do with women who are not his wife/girlfriend. Only number 6 and part of 7 could be seen as saying "my wife/girlfriend is a harpy" side. And they are not nearly as bad about that as a billion bland cell phone commercials that we don't complain about much. These are pretty similar to gripes anyone with a dog and a job and a significant other could have (if they were bitter enough). In fact, there's not anything in there that couldn't also apply if these guys were all gay. Although the lip balm thing would be odd.

I hate that I'm defending this commercial, because it's repugnant. Disturbing, check. Unpleasant, check. Makes me want to stay far away from their product, check. Sexist? Not so much.
posted by Dojie at 11:49 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sweetie Darling: Their print ads have been even more ... I don't know what the word is ... defensive? angry? Wishing for that "simpler time" when everybody but the white guys knew their place?

Well, my commentary about the ad was solely on the commercial, not having seen the printed advertisements.

The printed ads are a little more misogynistic than the video, I'll agree – they assign various problems of societal decay to a lack of traditional concepts of masculine stepping-up-and-taking-responsibility. Still, there is a potential fallacy in assuming that not a necessarily means b. In other words, faulting a lack of men stepping up and taking responsibility for things is not necessarily the same as saying that feminine assumption of said responsibilities is bad – in my opinion, it's a call to join, not to supercede, the forces of all those who have been taking responsibility for said matters.

It's a fine line, and one the ad doesn't straddle well in my opinion. If anything, I tend to lean somewhat towards you in terms of the printed ads' misogyny – but again, in keeping with the theme of my other comment, it's not an all-or-nothing proposition.

Rearranging a little bit of the text's direction yields:
Children are misbehaving, cities are crumbling, and little old ladies aren't being helped. In a better time, men just generally were chivalrous autonomically, by the nature of things. That's not the way it's been. We now need men to be heroic, grown-up, and noncomplacent; we need them willing to get their hands dirty. Get your heads out of your asses, guys. And while you're at it, slip a pair of Dockers khakis over said asses.
There's some truth to that; a call to getting one's ass in gear has got some truth to it.

The traditional masculine stereotypes of good husband, good father, protector of those you love, intervener, hero – these are good archetypes to call men towards, and I think the ad does good in calling men to those goals.

I don't agree with any shading to the ad's message that implies that the fault for "children misbehaving", "cities crumbling", etc. lies in assumption of those responsibilities by women – and I agree with you that there's an uncomfortable degree of shading towards that in this ad.

Still, I suppose what I mean to say is that I do believe that the theme the ad espouses does have redeeming elements to it.
posted by WCityMike at 11:59 AM on February 9, 2010


Yeah, I'd agree with you that the problem with the ad is that it basically hates the entire human race.
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on February 9, 2010


Also everyone should make a point of checking their workplace parking lots for Dodge Chargers, because you know that when these guys snap they are taking the entire office with them.
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't call myself a feminist... I am just a normal person...

I don't really care whether you call yourself a feminist or not, but perpetuating this false dichotomy, that there are normal people and then there are feminists, that "activist" = "radical", is probably what makes people upset, and with good reason.
posted by Errant at 12:04 PM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


as long as you believe that women should be essentially equal, I don't care what you call yourself. You're a feminist anyway.

Life's so much easier when everything is black and white.

Speaking glibly but honestly, I believe that men and women are more fundamentally different than we often think, that American society is frequently and disastrously crippled by undervaluing women's perspective's and contributions, that everyone should have equal opportunity for advancement and the right to eschew achievement without criticism, that homophobia is generally rooted in misogyny, that the balance of power is rapidly shifting toward women and society is adapting way too slowly, that self-described feminists are too frequently fixated on the historical reality of the 1970s (when their college professors formed their opinions), that any group too male or too female is annoying and dull, and that it's inexplicable why so many women refuse to care deeply about indie rock bands and songs.

Does that qualify me for your label? Why does it matter?
posted by msalt at 12:09 PM on February 9, 2010


I would have thought that individual autonomy was a central tenet of feminism.

Well, not where it conflicts with fundamental human rights. But otherwise, yes.

Keep in mind, though, that feminism was a big proponent of the idea of false consciousness -- that people can be so enmeshed in the dominant idiology as to not recognize it, and accidentally act against their self-interest as a result. Which I think is pretty easily demonstratable. Just look at the Tea Party movement.

Everybody has a right to self-determination, but its useful to be aware that it is possible to make a descision in self-determination that is actually against your best interests. And I'd say a lot of the tripe that gets tossed about in terms of what feminism supposedly is is deliberately constructed to discourage people from identifying as feminists, even though the fundamental idea of feminism is, to my point of view, in the best interest of anybody who doesn't actively benefit from a system of oppressing women.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:11 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does that qualify me for your label? Why does it matter?

Fuck if I care what you call yourself. But if you start quacking like a feminist, I don't know why you would complain when somebody calls you a feminist.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:13 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


People should be worried when they start quacking regardless of what they call themselves.
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 PM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


I should hope you don't care what I call myself, because frankly it's none of your business. I would have thought that individual autonomy was a central tenet of feminism.

What you DO call yourself is none of my concern, personally.

It's the fact that you're taking great pains to say that you are NOT something that I AM, in a way that inaccurately describes what I am, that I personally object to.

If you want to call yourself an egalitarian, cool. But in prefacing "I'm an egalitarian" with a "but I'm NOT a feminist", you imply that feminism is all "ewww icky", and THAT'S the part I have a problem with. So if you don't want to call yourself feminist, then....why take such pains to claim that you aren't one?

Mind you, you may not have intentionally meant to imply that, but....that's how it's coming across. And that's what's bringing the foment here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Great, AZ, so instead of men telling me I am wrong and don't know what I really think, women are telling me I am wrong and don't know what I really think? The idea that my decisions in self-determination should be questioned because I can't know my own interest....that reminds me of something. What's that word again? Oh yeah, paternalism. It's not anymore attractive coming from self-professed feminists than it is coming from misogynists or anyone else.

I'm also not sure how fundamental human rights are implicated by my preference for autonomy in self labeling.

(This is not meant to be as fighty as it sounds, more discuss-y).
posted by bunnycup at 12:21 PM on February 9, 2010


It's the fact that you're taking great pains to say that you are NOT something that I AM, in a way that inaccurately describes what I am, that I personally object to.

If you want to call yourself an egalitarian, cool. But in prefacing "I'm an egalitarian" with a "but I'm NOT a feminist", you imply that feminism is all "ewww icky", and THAT'S the part I have a problem with.


I'm tempted to think that is directed at me, but it's such a piss poor reading of what I wrote directed to why I believe the "I'm not a feminist" phrasing is often used, that I imagine you didn't read what I said and are speaking in general. If you are intending to discuss with me, that's fine, but please don't accuse me of intentions that are fairly well toward being the polar opposite of what I expressed more than once in good faith. Obviously I don't expect you to read and attribute every sentiment in this very long thread, but if you want to discuss my thoughts and feelings with me, then I would appreciate you only accusing me of having the thoughts and feelings I've actually expressed (or reasonable conclusions from them).

I don't think even an egregiously critical reading of my comments here would yield an interpretation that I implied that feminists are "icky". Perhaps you are meaning to discuss with someone else. The one exception might be my immediate prior comment (written after yours), which criticized very specific tenets as expressed by AZ.
posted by bunnycup at 12:30 PM on February 9, 2010


BTW, anyone read anything that explains why the misogyny was out in full force this year? What's so special about 2009/10 that the advertisers/marketers decided that hating women would sell things?

I would suggest reading Backlash and perhaps The Shock Doctrine for some illuminating looks at how and why popular culture and political groups muster attacks against feminism at certain historical moments.
posted by emjaybee at 12:33 PM on February 9, 2010


While Backlash is indeed a great book that I would encourage anyone to read, I wonder if Faludi's Stiffed might be more relevant to this particular question.
posted by box at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2010


I'm also not sure how fundamental human rights are implicated by my preference for autonomy in self labeling.

I'm not sure where you're seeing feminism stepping in and being paternalist here. People are capable of acting against their own self-interest, and reminding them of the fact, and pointing out dominant idiologies that they may being clingling to without realizing it, and that may influence decision-making, isn't paternalism. Ultimately, the right to decide is yours.

But feminists are entitled to think you've made a poor choice, and to tell you. Everybody has that right. Self-determination doesn't remove the right to disagree.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:36 PM on February 9, 2010


I didn't watch the Superbowl, but I too have been subjected to that Charger ad, because Hulu has started slapping it all over everything. It's ugly and appalling, and it conflates "civilized behavior" with "emasculation."

DAMN THOSE WOMEN MAKING ME PEE IN THE TOILET INSTEAD OF THE FRONT YARD! IMMA BUY ME A BIG DUMB CAR, THAT'LL SHOW STUPID MOM WIFE WHO'S BOSS!

It made me very sad.
posted by ErikaB at 12:37 PM on February 9, 2010


I don't really care whether you call yourself a feminist or not, but perpetuating this false dichotomy, that there are normal people and then there are feminists, that "activist" = "radical", is probably what makes people upset, and with good reason.

I'm not perpetuating a false dichotomy. I don't call myself a feminist because there's no point to it and it would give a lot of people the wrong idea. Enough people define feminist as "radical feminist activist" that it is not a label that fits me, even if I felt the need to label myself anything. You can be upset by that definition if you want, but it's a giant waste of time and energy in my opinion. Disliking the feminist label is not anti-woman. Go Daddy commercials are anti-woman. Complain about those, not about someone who agrees with you, but doesn't want to use the word you want them to use.

Seriously folks, why does it matter if the word Feminist has a negative connotation? Why do people who support women's rights have to have a name? People who fight for other causes do it without names and they're not suffering from it a bit. If people don't like the term, and there's no need for it, stop using it. Then you can deal with the actual issues instead of fighting over semantics.
posted by Dojie at 12:37 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why do people who support women's rights have to have a name?

For me, the point is they do have a name.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:49 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


AZ, I'm getting paternalism from this comment, and perhaps this comment alone:

Keep in mind, though, that feminism was a big proponent of the idea of false consciousness -- that people can be so enmeshed in the dominant idiology as to not recognize it, and accidentally act against their self-interest as a result.

I'm getting that from the interpretation that I can't know my own interests, and if only someone wiser than me would tell me better I could fall into line and call myself a feminist (from this conversation, nothing further seems expected of me. The apparent only thing I am doing wrong, is sometimes not calling myself by that label). I would argue that a belief system which undermines my right to disagree - by saying that I am inherently wrong because I don't know my own self-interest - is paternalistic in the loose sense that it implies I can't be trusted to self-govern. I think the idea that women can't be trusted to know their own interests is offensive to me.

Now, I want to be really clear. I am no studier of feminist theory. I put myself through college (for psychology) and law school, and support my family, and led us through hard times. I'm more than open to the idea that I have now and in the past misinterpreted feminist theory in general and your expression of it in particular. I expect others to treat me fairly, I teach others to be fair when I may, I work hard, I educate myself and I am self-sufficient. But, I don't appreciate the idea that I can't be trusted to see my own self-interest any more than I appreciate the idea that I am such a harpy my husband needs a car or he'll kill himself.

I'm really wary of getting into a complete derail and a personal debate, so please feel free to MeMail me, I haven't opted out and I am perfectly interested to continue this discussion, but I'm not sure I can appropriately keep doing it in this thread.
posted by bunnycup at 12:53 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


For me, the point is they do have a name.
Not all of them.
posted by Dojie at 12:57 PM on February 9, 2010


I'm getting that from the interpretation that I can't know my own interests,

Not that you can't, but that sometimes you might not. This is hardly paternalistic. People make stupid decisions all the time. People make decisions that are against their own interests all the time.

You seem to be defining paternalism as "somebody else thinking you might be wrong." Well, people are going to think that. And sometimes you may actually be wrong. As long as there is no power to force you to do what they would prefer you do, that's not paternalism; it's a difference of opinion.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:10 PM on February 9, 2010


Can we, whatever we call ourselves or not, please stop fighting with each other about labels and get rid of shit like the adds linked in this FPP, and this?
posted by bunnycup at 1:11 PM on February 9, 2010


You seem to be defining paternalism as "somebody else thinking you might be wrong." Well, people are going to think that. And sometimes you may actually be wrong. As long as there is no power to force you to do what they would prefer you do, that's not paternalism; it's a difference of opinion.

No. I'm defining it as a group undermining my self-autonomy (and my expressions of it), for example in questions of self-identification, based on a theory that I don't know what's good for me and they do. Like for example the idea that if I choose not to identify as a feminist, its not for appropriate and considered reasons but because, as you put it, I am "so enmeshed in the dominant ideology" that I don't know what's good for me.

I think the idea that the concept you expressed is as simple as "people are allowed to think other people are wrong" isn't a fair representation in light of group pressures/movements/dynamics. I think its much more frightening than that - I think it is women who believe they know better than other women, undermining each others' rights to hold different opinions.
posted by bunnycup at 1:16 PM on February 9, 2010


I'll take this discussion to MeMail; you're right that it's getting a bit off topic, Bunnycup.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:24 PM on February 9, 2010


I'm obviously terribly late to the whole feminism clusterfuck above, but it seems like part of what the debate is about is whether being feminist (adjective) is the same thing as being a feminist (predicate noun). And what's disturbing for those who are politically committed to equal treatment and dignity for gendered and sexual minorities is that, by making "a feminist" an awkward/embarrassing/demonized social category, the political potential of zillions of people watching that Dodge Charger commercial getting angry and doing something to change things for the better is undermined by shaming them out of feeling political solidarity with other "feminists." In other words, your potentially useful political affect (anger, desire, disappointment, sympathy, pride) is pushed out of the politically effective public sphere and made private, where it's just your feelings and you don't belong to anything so there's no need to engage in collective action about it.
posted by LMGM at 1:32 PM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Enough people define feminist as "radical feminist activist" that it is not a label that fits me, even if I felt the need to label myself anything.

Again, I don't especially care what if anything you label yourself as, and I have no intention or desire to label you as anything myself. You clearly don't like the word "feminist" and believe it carries negative and harmful connotations, which is an understandable point of view.

But, let's be clear, you do not agree with me about this, because I don't think that. I don't think disliking the word "feminist" makes you anti-woman and I didn't say it did. I did say that what I objected to is your characterization of "feminist" as in opposition to "normalcy". You assert negative connotations to the term "feminist" and then ask me why it matters that they exist, when I disagree with you in the first place that the term is a negative one and I believe that those negative connotations exist precisely to discredit the broader political platform on which we do agree. You appear to believe, and please correct me if I'm misreading you, that the term has already been sufficiently discredited so as to carry only negative baggage and drag down the movement to which it is applied; if that is what you believe, I don't agree with you about that either.

As to why it matters: because words matter, definitions matter. As the feminist said, "the personal is political".* Perhaps more to the point, regardless of what you would like or not like to label yourself, when you have a negative view of a label or term that others self-apply with pride, those other people are probably going to have a problem with that.

--
* (I am linking to that essay because the final paragraph, "Apolitical Women", has some interesting things to say about women in the movement vs. women outside the movement and how we should emphatically reject the notion that self-defined "feminists" necessarily know better than other women, which seems pertinent to both discussions. Hopefully obviously, the notion that feminist men necessarily know better than women should also be rejected. Anyway, please don't take the "Feminism 101" title of the blog as an implication that you need a refresher course or some such bullshit, I mean no such thing and I didn't title it.)
posted by Errant at 1:55 PM on February 9, 2010


Regardless, they made a sexist commercial.
no.
posted by krautland at 1:57 PM on February 9, 2010


no.

Not sure how to respond. Yes?

Listen, they may be your friends and sweet guys and all, but a video whose central image is that men's natural state is being subordinated into a bleak and bland existence by the existence of women in their lives is sexist. If you'd like to make the case that it somehow isn't, I'd be open to hearing it, but a one-word denial ain't it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


by making "a feminist" an awkward/embarrassing/demonized social category, the political potential of zillions of people watching that Dodge Charger commercial getting angry and doing something to change things for the better is undermined by shaming them out of feeling political solidarity with other "feminists."

Why is it impossible to be angry about an ad, or take action, if you don't label yourself as a feministTM? This fixation on the label, and digging in to fight a battle of public perception that was lost 20 years ago, is a pretty good example of how Feminism as a politicized ideology has a ton of baggage beyond "as long as you believe that women should be essentially equal, you're a feminist."

Maybe we should start distinguishing between big-F feminism and small-F feminism, the way libertarians do.
posted by msalt at 2:06 PM on February 9, 2010


A: I'm not a feminist, but ______.
B: I agree with what you just said!
A: Cool! Glad we're on the same page!
B: So I like your view of things. Where can I read more along these lines?
A: Oh, well on a daily basis I usually check out blogs like Feministe, Feministing...
B: Wait, these all have the word "feminist" in them! I thought you weren't a feminist?
A: Oh, well I'm not, but (awkward silence)
B: (frowns) (buys Dodge Charger)
posted by naju at 2:08 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why is it impossible to be angry about an ad, or take action, if you don't label yourself as a feministTM?

It's entirely possible. Nobody has said it isn't.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2010


Ultimately, the right to decide is yours. But feminists are entitled to think you've made a poor choice, and to tell you.

I thought you said she WAS a feminist, and I was, and everyone who believes women should be essentially equal? It feels almost like you're trying to show by a logical proof that everyone here is a feminist, and therefore has to share certain beliefs whether they like it or not.
posted by msalt at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2010


So if you don't want to call yourself feminist, then....why take such pains to claim that you aren't one?

It does have a bit of a Methinks The Citizen of Undetermined Gender Doth Protest Too Much rignt to it... but as I mentioned before, I see the point.

I think that one thing that we feminists do need to do better is to stop badgering people about feminism and how g-ddamned SERIOUS it is. For the love of Dog, this is ridiculous and exemplifies why people in every day conversation sometimes make the "I'm not a feminist, but..." distinction. The people in this thread who are feminists are harping on someone else about her self-identification.

I mean... ??!??!!!!

You're hurting the cause, guys. You're doing exactly the sort of thing that makes us look like no fun jerks. If I weren't already flying the feminist flag, I wouldn't be raising it up over the "You must be with us! You already agree with us, you shall embrace our name!" argument that's going on here.

Let it go. The Judith Butler seminar is down the hall. This is the room to subvert the patriarchy and overthrow the capitalist marketing machine. Or at least the thread to whine about it. We can fine tune our feminist recruiting materials later - because damn, if these are our strategies, they sure need some work.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:21 PM on February 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


I thought you said she WAS a feminist, and I was, and everyone who believes women should be essentially equal? It feels almost like you're trying to show by a logical proof that everyone here is a feminist, and therefore has to share certain beliefs whether they like it or not.

Hm. Yes to the first part -- I think if you believe women should be equal, you're a feminist. No to the second part.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:25 PM on February 9, 2010


grapefruitmoon, in one post you just changed my mood to one of hopelessness (because if we are going to spend this much time and waste this much energy fighting about self-labeling, how will we ever effect real change?) to one of "Hell yes". I wish I could favorite your comment a few hundred extra times.
posted by bunnycup at 2:34 PM on February 9, 2010


[pedant] I think if you believe women should be ARE equal, you're a feminist. [/pedant]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:58 PM on February 9, 2010


Good point, grapefruitmoon. I should have said "should have the right to be treated as equals, socially and under the law."
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:11 PM on February 9, 2010


I wonder if these ads aren't also aimed at women like Katie Roiphe, who miss the "manly men" of the past.

That said, I thought Chargers looked cool, but that ad has completely turned me off to them.
posted by drezdn at 4:02 PM on February 9, 2010


The new Challenger is kinda neat-looking, but, personally, I think the Charger is even uglier than the 300C.
posted by box at 4:06 PM on February 9, 2010


Late to the thread but since that ad came out I CANNOT stop humming Cheap Trick songs. Man, that is one hell of a song, even if it MAKES NO SENSE.
posted by GuyZero at 4:56 PM on February 9, 2010


Every Violent Act in the 2010 Super Bowl Ads
posted by jonp72 at 5:22 PM on February 9, 2010


Dojie, I find your analysis of the ad unconvincing. It's not a numbered list; it's a speech, addressed to a "you":
I will get up and walk the dog at 6:30AM, I will eat some fruit as part of my breakfast. I will shave, I will clean the sink after I shave. I will be at work by 8am, I will sit through two hour meetings. I will say yes when you want me to say yes, I will be quiet when you don't want to hear me say no. I will take your call, I will listen to your opinion of my friends, I will listen to your friends' opinions of my friends, I will be civil to your mother. I will put the seat down, I will separate the recycling, I will carry your lip balm, I will watch your vampire TV shows with you. I will take my socks off before getting into bed, I will put my underwear in the basket. And because I do this, I will drive the car I want to drive.
The only "you" is his wife/girlfriend, as is obvious from what he promises her.

Dodge itself endorses this interpretation at its youtube posting of the ad, where it says "there are limits to your chivalry." "Chivalry" -- meaning things men do to accommodate women.
posted by palliser at 5:41 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


The new Challenger is kinda neat-looking, but, personally, I think the Charger is even uglier than the 300C.

I wasn't paying that much attention to the ads during the game but I was repeatedly struck by how ugly all the boxy, robotic looking cars were.
posted by msalt at 11:36 PM on February 9, 2010


I wanted to share this link, which shows the most liked and the most remembered ads. I wonder if the fact that, say the Dodge commercial was neither in the top-10 remembered, nor liked, goes to show that it failed to make any impact (much less a positive), and to disprove the assertion above that the ad is a success because we are talking about it.
posted by bunnycup at 7:54 AM on February 10, 2010


Well, the old Mr. Whipple/ "Don't Squeeze the Charmin" ads were widely hated but considered a big success as a mental earworm (sorry, butchered the metaphor). Definitely remembered though.
posted by msalt at 9:36 AM on February 10, 2010


My wife told me tonight that I should probably limit my one night out a month to every other month. I really liked the Charger commercial.
posted by mecran01 at 10:35 PM on February 10, 2010


As long as you're clear that it's her and not women generally, good for you.
posted by msalt at 11:42 PM on February 10, 2010


Not sure how to respond. Yes?
no, I just don't think you have a point. you are pretending to be outraged the way palin likes to pretend to be outraged. you want to take something as offensive that in fact was nothing more than a more or less lame joke. but hey, feel free to make all the assumptions you like about why your rant didn't deserve a longer response.

and if that ad really offended you, you are seriously thin-skinned.
posted by krautland at 4:20 AM on February 11, 2010


I should clarify that I realized the Charger ad was essentializing and sexist, but that false promise of freedom from your everyday life is soooo attractive that it almost overshadows the misogyny leading up to it.
posted by mecran01 at 9:50 AM on February 11, 2010


Positively brilliant - I Will See Paul Blart, Mall Cop. Twice. - a woman's response to the Dodge Charger ad.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:33 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


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