Hey, women: is your goal in life to make men stare at you body and gain the resentment of other women in the process? Oh, and do you like the color pink? Good, Reebok has a shoe for you.
“Discover a 28% more of a workout for your butt, up to 11% more of your hamstrings and calves. So 88% of men will be speechless, 76% of women will be jealous, and 0% will know the real reason is all in your feet.”
I don’t know how to prioritize what’s wrong with this commercial. That it assumes a heterosexual audience? That the reason women should exercise is to make other women resentful and men stare at our bodies? The blatant objectification? But it is true, I wouldn’t have guessed with the sexy black-and-white shooting, vinyl needle noise in the background, and naked lady writhing on a bed, that this commercial was selling shoes and not lube.
Unfortunately, Reebok thinks it’s struck a gold-mine with the whole Our Shoes = Hot Ass thing. Check out this commercial shelling the same product:
“It’s the shoe proven to…” Camera pans to butt. Music stops. She pauses, addresses camera: “Dude?…And it tones your butt up to 28% more just by walking (another butt pan) Ahem! Scuse me?!… I take it you agree (beams at pervy cameraman).
Ew, it’s like the brains behind “Secret Girlfriend” are working in advertising now.
And, what really, really takes the cake is Reebok’s third commercial. Like the first commercial, the woman is reduced to her body parts. Can you guess which ones?
Boob 1: Hey, did you see? Nobody’s staring at us anymore.
Boob 2: Are we still hot?
Boob 1: Kah-learly! You know what? It’s all because of that stupid butt down there
Boob 2: Oh yeah! Stupid butt…She gets all the attention now
Boob 1: She’s so tight now [ugh, sorry, *ack*, dry heave –Transcriber’s note] so round, so pretty.
Boob 2:Stupid butt
Announcer: Make your boobs jealous!
This goes beyond women resenting other women, and women resenting their own body. Here, the woman’s body is resentful of itself. Oh, and I don’t know if you noticed this, but this is a commercial of TALKING BOOBS. For TWENTY SECONDS. And I think their convo (or “dialog,” as the commercial is titled), is supposed to be like the comments other women will presumably will be saying about you wearing your new butt-crunching kicks.
I hope Reebok starts to rethink its sexist, objectifying campaign. Plus it’s the whole “Here, let me make you feel bad about your body so that our product can make you feel better” (With the added motivation of female in-fighting and men ogling your body).
Kate Harding at Broadsheet compares this nasty campaign to the way Nike sells women’s shoes.
Nike’s far from perfect, of course, but when they used boobs, they belonged to Serena Williams and appeared under her crossed, muscular arms and a high-necked T-shirt that read “Athlete,” with the caption, “Are you looking at my titles?” When they used close-ups on female body parts and copy about how others might perceive them, it was with text like, “My mother worries I will never marry with knees like these. But I know there’s someone out there who will say to me: I love you and I love your knees,” and “My butt is big and that’s just fine. And those who might scorn it are invited to kiss it.” If the new Reebok ads help the company knock Nike out of the top spot, then I’ll admit that they made good business sense (after I’m done sobbing), but as it is, the market leader is the one that uses images of strong women who care more about being athletic than being pretty. The market leader is the one that figured out how to sell a major female fantasy: being treated with at least a modicum of respect by advertisers.
When encouraging women to work out to look hot for men, and to convey that insulting message in a commercial meant for the heterosexual male gaze is what it takes to sell of pair of walking shoes (and when Nike sounds revolutionary for marketing athletic clothes for athletic purposes), I would hope that 88% of society as a whole should be speechless.