By Jen Thorpe
Ek kan nie. Get a dishwasher for mom, whilst dad sits on his post-feminist patriarchal derriere and watches his new home theatre system? Nee. Ndixolele. Jammer, maar nee.
I don’t think I need to go into what is wrong with this advert. If you don’t know by now, you will never ever ever know (apologies to Simply Red). But, what I do want to know is what we’re going to do about this?
Gail Schimmel thinks that despite the advertising codes that are quite clearly being broken, a complaint to ASA wouldn’t work. She thinks we need to start right at the source – to get to the creatives who are clearly not creative and have just been watching way too much Mad Men. Could they be the game changers? I’m not convinced.
We had problems last year with Markhams, and Durex, who simply didn’t get that sexism was not as cool as it looks in glamorised TV. There’s the possibility that they could be engaging in the ‘we know you know we’re being sexist and that’s why it’s so ironic‘ type of advertising. But here’s a thought for all of them we know that you can’t come up with anything except old tropes which are offensive, and mean that I didn’t even remember what the original ad was for, and had to google it.
Why must we endure? Why must we endure Koo implying mom makes all the food, KFC implying that eating a bucket of their extra crispy factory farmed chicken will give mum a night off because normally she’d be doing all the cooking, Aquafresh implying that it’s normal that dad’s don’t help to take care of their kids oral hygiene (because it does it all in one, mum), or tampon and sanitary towel manufacturers assuming that women are afraid to do things on their period? Enough.
I always think of a certain friend of mine when I hear blatantly sexist advertising. She said ‘I can’t understand why they pursue it, don’t they realise that women are the ones doing most of the purchasing?’ That’s where the power lies. Until the creatives stop seeing sexist advertising that works for selling things, they’ll keep regurgitating this same predictable nonsense.
So if you’re a woman with an account at Standard Bank, I encourage you to contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them why, seeing as they have all your money that you’ve earned from your job, they want to relegate you to gleefully cleaning the kitchen (ask them perhaps, whether they realise that you have a job, and that women are allowed that too). If they don’t reply, close your account and move to another one with cheaper rates and better ads.
And if you’re a man, I hope you will do the same. Men don’t have to sit in front of the TV all day long. They can be part of a family too. If you’re a man who is tired of being branded a lazy layabout who drinks beer all day and watches TV nonstop, email email@example.com and tell them so.
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