Last week, Consumerist posted the results to their Worst Ad in America poll. Winners (well, losers) include the McDonald’s “not until I’ve had my coffee” guy and Jimmy the Extenze spokesperson—no surprise there, since those ads are super annoying. But, with all of the excellent categories created by Consumerist (Creepiest Commercial, Most Grating Performance By a Human, etc.) there is one category left to vote on: The Most Sexist Ad in America.
Now the criteria here are pretty basic. The ad must have aired fairly recently (or we’d have waaay too many to choose from) and it has to be sexist in some way. Since that leaves us with, um, just about every ad currently in circulation, I asked our Facebook fans to help me come up with some candidates for voting. If you don’t see your own personal pick for Most Sexist Ad in America here, feel free to write it in in the comments! Now for the nominees:
Dodge Charger: Man’s Last Stand
This ad basically frames living life as a male human being as so intolerable (sorting the recycling is haaard you guys!) that men must drive Dodge Chargers just to keep from losing it. Vilifying women all the way, of course.
Reebok Easytone: Boobs vs. Butt
Well you know you’re in sexist territory when a disembodied male voice cheerfully urges you to “make your boobs jealous!” Not only does this ad objectify women and suggest that the only reason to exercise is to get male attention, it goes one step further by actually pitting body parts against each other (because it’s not enough to be jealous of other women, you have to be jealous of yourself, too).
Miller Lite: Aluminum Bottle
This ad is just one of an entire series of “I can’t say I love you because that would be embarrassing but I can express my undying affection for this beer/candy bar/insurance company” commercials. What makes ads like this especially sexist is that they reinforce the notion that men should hide their emotions and treat the women in their lives as less valuable than their lite beers if they want to be “real men.” Also this ad is on ALL THE TIME during NFL games, making it even more annoying.
Sigh. It saddens me that The Beeper King has stooped to mocking teenage girls, but unfortunately he has. This ad plays on every teen girl stereotype in the book (too emotional, unreliable, catty, bratty, rude, loves pink, etc.) and the fact that a grown man is doing the impression just makes it all the creepier.
Clorox: Mad Men
This ad is a stand-in for all of the Mad Men-style ads that glorify retro sexism. Just because a television show about the 60s is popular doesn’t mean that we want to buy a detergent to help a fictional character cheat on his fictional wife. And I like Mad Men!
OK, it’s time to vote!
This project was made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OH’s grant program. Any views, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Oregon Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.