This is one of the extremely rare occasions I find some materials, bang together a makeshift feminist soapbox, climb on it, and make noise.
It all started with a Centrum vitamin advertisement. It was a comparison set of ads: one for men, one for women. In the one for men, the announcer asked, “Should men take the same vitamins as women?” and the men, so rudely interrupted from their round of golf, indignantly answered, “Of course not!” In the other commercial, the announcer asked the women, “Should women take the same vitamins as men?” and the women (who I think were engaging in yoga or shopping or some other stereotypically woman-ish activity) replied, “You mean there’s a difference?” as if they’re complete uneducated and ill-informed idiots. Which, I assure you, we are not.
Tonight I see a commercial for 5-Hour Energy. Not the one I’ve seen before, with the annoying dude rolling around in an office chair being condescending. This one was just generally condescending to women. This woman comes in her front door carrying armloads of groceries (paper bagged, of course) complaining about how she never has any energy for her “first” job (presumably her “work” job) and then she has to come home and start her “second” job (being a mother). Meanwhile, several smallish children run by and either fall over or knock something over. She storms into the kitchen and plops down the groceries on the table, presumably leaving them for later – hopefully they won’t go bad by then? – or for the children to destroy. She talks about how her husband yammers on and on about 5-Hour Energy and how it’s sooo great. She opens a cupboard, which is surprisingly sparse for having at least 2 children in that size house. On the bottom shelf are probably 12 individual bottles of 5-Hour Energy. She pulls out a six-pack of them. She begins walking to the next room indignantly explaining how her husband was right. She ends up in the next room – where her husband is sitting on his duff reading the newspaper – and plops down next to him, whereupon he says, “I told you so.”
Please, please, dear advertisers. Women are not ill-educated. We are not pack-mules. We are not the domestic slave. We are no longer secondary to men. We have worked a long time to overcome this image. Please don’t portray women in the light of the 1950s. They were 60 years ago. For instance, if that were my husband who had thrown an “I told you so,” (which I assure you would never have happened in the first place), I would have told him to put down the paper, get off his lazy ass, discipline the children, and meanwhile make some damn dinner if he’s got so much spare time.
Please don’t condescend to me and insult my intelligence like this. And if any of you who produced this ad were women: SHAME ON YOU.