Advertising: You’re Doing It Wrong
Dr. Pepper 10's ad campaign, centered around macho men and manliness, has already turned a lot of heads. Many people have already written about the ads and pointed out that they're clearly sexist to women. The video embedded below was added to their website on April 3rd, so it's only been around for a couple weeks. If you're like me and use the internet for your media, or if you just don't watch TV, you may not have seen this commercial.
I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about all the things that are wrong with this video. It's sexist, not only against women, but also men. Warning: This may seem nitpicky. That's okay. It's kind of my goal.
"Ladies, wonder what men are always doing out in the shed?"
Nice way to start! First of all, ladies don't spend their time in sheds, but men are "always" out there. Doing secrety man things.
"Well, it's a guy thing."
He says, reaching into a minifridge. The top shelf is all Dr. Pepper 10 and the rest of the fridge–as far as I can tell–is just stuffed full of varied types of meat. There's a ham, multiple types of sausage, what looks like packaged bologna….
I'm not a professional, but some quick research tells me that men are at higher risk for high cholesterol than women (until age 55, at which point the average cholesterol of women is higher than men). Saturated fats and cholesterol both come from meat and both increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Since men are at higher risk for these diseases, it would make more sense for them to eat less meat, but instead our culture propogates this idea that men are CARNIVORES.
He then uses a drill press to open his soda, instead of just opening it. I'm a female-bodied person and I've used a drill press regularly for a couple years now. Men are not the only people who use tools, not all men use tools, and not all people who use tools are so douchey as to use their nice equipment to open a soda.
"…in just ten manly calories."
They have to qualify *manly* calories. Because counting calories and caring about your weight is something that them wummins do.
"It's what guys want. Like explosions!"
He has now strolled past guys playing pool and guys watching several TVs, all with different fire/explosion videos on them. Again, I don't completely claim the 'woman' title, but I am female-bodied, and I occasionally enjoy playing pool. Similarly, not all guys are into destruction and fire and mayhem. They don't all want to watch action movies. Basically, not all men are crazy masculine testosterone monsters with no intellectuality or common sense.
Let me just pause for a moment in my rant to say: Is it just me, or is does this shed appear to be very TARDIS-esque? It defies physics and relativistic space! It appears to me that there is an OUTSIDE inside of that shed! Moving on.
"So keep the gardening and lady drinks."
In other commercial advertising, yard work, mowing grass, killing weeds, etc. tend to be shown with men performing those tasks. However, 'gardening' is just too feminine. Gardening, unlike yard work, implies a certain amount of care and frivolity. Yard work is WORK, it HAS to be done, and dammit these men are going to get it done! On the other hand, gardening is a passtime, done for recreation and not because it's absolutely necessary. (Yard work isn't "necessary" exactly, but you can be fined for letting your yard get out of control if you live in the city.)
Overall, this advertising tactic is pretty bad. It deepens the gender binary and reinforces stereotypes about the genders. If a female-bodied person does any of these "manly" things, they're made fun of for falling outside of the established pattern. If a male-bodied person is not doing these things, they're less of a man because of it. These cultural influences create homophobia, transphobia, and generally promote severe heteronormative thinking. It hurts women, men, and anyone who falls between, around, within, or without (or any other word I missed) those definitions.