Boots and Adverts

I was wrong. I blogged a while ago that adverts which try to sell by pushing traditional roles on people annoy me. I also said that it doesn’t happen too often. That’s the bit where I was wrong.

I used to passively get annoyed at them – if I happened to notice anything was wrong iu’d get me, but since writing that post I’ve spotted these issues more often.

Let me offer another example which has annoyed me for a long time (one day I promise I’ll talk about adverts which annoy me for reasons other than sexism): the recent round of Boots adverts. I’m going to pick a particularly egregious version of these ads.

It’s a good thing for Boots that they have disabled comments for this page. As well as avoiding the random homeopathy spammers which I assume go after pharmacies, this is the sort of advert which brings out the MRAs in their droves.

Since I’m a sucker for punishment, I thought I’d see if I could find any such opinions and it wasn’t difficult (even I’m not crazy enough to start hunting through places like Reddit, though). First, why adverts like this aren’t anti-men: if two people are equally sick and one gets to rest while the other one has to work all the harder, who do think has the role power?

As a person who is not a woman, I can’t speak from experience about how misogyny harms women. I’ve talked about why men should be feminists for selfish reasons, but here there is only one reason to consider this advert sexist: it patronises women as unpaid servants to their over-sensitive man-child partners and then has the gall to put music over top which implies it is somehow empowering. “Yes, you can [find better ways to please your man]!!!1!” is not an empowering message, it’s deeply patronising and teaching people to rationalise a culture gender-stereotyping.

Noooooow, back to the over-sensitive men-children:

[T]hey have managed to portray men as stupid, incapable and lazy whilst implying that “The girls” have the answer to everything. 

Ah, the “this portrays men as bad – why aren’t the men portrayed as superior in every way?!” remark. Ultimately this advert, along with many of the others, doesn’t portray women as having the answer to everything, but merely being servile.

Of course there are adverts for men that could be considered sexist but I don’t think any of them attack women so blatently [sic].

Except, perhaps, Yorkie’s “it’s not for girls”, the endless Fairy Liquid/Febreeze/Mr. Muscle showing women doing all the housework, Lynx ads, about a third of all posters I see on the tube that aren’t for West End shows and all adverts for female beauty products which portray any deviation from the “standard” female body type as undesirable. And Lynx.

In fact, the erstwhile author correctly identifies the Lynx ads as sexist, but believes that it’s okay because the Lynx effect is “meant to be more of a fantasy”. Sure – the really really really blatant kind of sexism is fine as long as women are getting undressed while it’s happen. Excuse me while I go and spank a stranger.

Women can laugh all they want, they’re just jealous of our bigger brains and general hardiness 

Aaand I’m back. No comment for this one, but I challenge anyone to read this and not shudder at the thought that you might actually know this person – I’m sure somebody has to.

Only women shop at Boots anyway so who cares?

And the award for misunderstanding the issue goes to… Mr. the above. And I close with some helpful advice for any self-respecting Real Man(TM) from one of our more flagrant of commentators. If ever you find yourself telling a woman to shut up and make a sandwich, and for the briefest moment realise what a bottom-feeding, waste-of-air piece of human offal you are, remember these words as a reminder of just how much worse you could be, and that is still hope for you yet top become a real human being:

I think you’re menstruating, frankly.
Have a can of man the **** up already

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Filed under Advertising, Feminism

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