Monday, February 08, 2010

There's sexist and then there's sexist.


"Book Reading Party" Bud Light Super Bowl Ad 2010 Commercia
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I didn't watch the Super Bowl so I didn't see the commercials but I began stumbling on a lot of sites where an intense conversation rant is taking place over the sexism in the Bud Lite commercial. Many of these are accompanied by the video of the ad so I got to see it. I confess that my first reaction to it was to crack up. Sure there is blatant sexist stereotyping going on here. But it is so over the top it is almost a spoof of itself. More the flavor of a sitcom written in the Jr High boy's locker room. The kind of thing that calls attention to crass behavior to mark it as crass. It leaves me wondering why Budweiser wishes to be typecast as a tasteless, low class beverage.

Compare that to the advocacy ad sponsored by Focus on the Family. The tone at first is touching, heart-string pulling with a woman talking as she gazes at a baby picture about how she still worries about her son who had a touch-and-go start in life and then Tim Tebow 'tackles' his Mom, knocking her off her feet which abruptly changes the mood to light-hearted and funny that quickly segues into touching again as mother and son face the camera cheek to cheek and the message: celebrate life appears on the screen along with the URL to Focus on the Family where the Tim Tebow story can be seen in full.




Which one of these is the most sexist in intent? Which the most dangerous for women?

I see a stark difference between them. The Bud Lite ad exploits our culture stereotypes while poking fun at them which actually works against implying that such behavior ought to be the norm. Which means we've come a long way from the 1950s era in terms of how women's and men's roles are depicted on TV and film.

The Focus on the Family ad though, is a subtle weapon in the hands of a declared patriarchal agenda that won't be content until women's roles are returned to the 1850s era. The ad presents a touching story of one family's triumph over adversity, one family's ultimate joy and sets it up as a tool in the service of enforcing a new dark age on women's autonomy.

I find it very telling that they chose the image of the son tackling his mother and knocking her to the ground. I believe it is a not so subtle (and yet probably un-conscious on their part) message from Focus on the Family as to their true intent.

Seen in that light it is not so funny; not so cute; and far from heart-warming.

I first became aware of the existence of this ad well before the day it aired. I received a number of requests in my in-box to protest it and call on CBS to pull it. But that goes against my sense of right as much as the religious right agenda does. It is more than just the free speech aspect too, though that is huge in itself. I would rather have it out there where everyone can see it in the full light so it can be examined and critiqued and become the subject of dialog and debate that engages everybody in a discussion of the implications. I do not hold with any stifling of another's voice. Not even when I disagree. Especially when I disagree.

5 tell me a story:

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