Six Surprisingly Sexist Television Commercials From Way After the Mad Men Era
By now, most of us have seen the new commercials for Dr Pepper's new product line, Dr Pepper 10, a diet drink which, ostensibly, tastes better than Diet Dr Pepper thanks to whatever's in those ten measly calories (our theory: brown sugar and wormwood). Of course, every advertiser knows that men are afraid of buying diet drinks for fear of appearing unmanly. Fellas, we've all got that one obnoxious cad in the office who insists on never letting us hear the end of it, am I right? It's always "NICE DIET DRINK, HOW DO YOU FIT THE STRAW IN YOUR VAGINA?" this and "JUST DEVELOP ADULT-ONSET DIABETES AND LOSE TOES LIKE THE REST OF US, FAGGOT!" that. Yeah, you know, that guy.
Wait, can Chaz Bono drink it? What about Eddie Izzard?
Yes, the fear of appearing feminine and therefore considered a homosexual by his asinine stereotyping co-workers is a fear of every man, or so Dr Pepper believes, because they've saddled Dr Pepper 10 with the straightforward, almost defiantly pig-headed slogan "IT'S NOT FOR WOMEN." It's not? Do they mean just pregnant women? Is there like... alcohol in this? No? Then what's the deal?
It's pretty obviously intended to stir up controversy, and it appears to be working. But the real shame isn't that Dr Pepper used this lame-ass faux-machismo as a hook, it's that it wasn't necessary. Coke Zero and Pepsi Max are doing just fine with only vaguely macho advertising and packaging (Coke Zero's can is black! Sodas more black? There are none!). Adding to the unnecessariness: I tried some Dr Pepper 10 the other day, and it tastes fantastic. It really is very, very good. So it's not even like they've got the excuse of cooking up this ridiculous, headline-grabbing advertising campaign to attempt to compensate for a shit product like - for example - all the biggest American beer companies choose to do instead of simply improving their pisswater beer.
That Dr Pepper chose to grab attention by baiting women is tiresome. I'm a man. Some might even say a manly man, had they ever seen me helping unload cinder blocks from the back of my cousin's pickup truck while wearing a flannel with the sleeves rolled up (and not seen me the next day, popping Advil like Skittles and moaning softly to myself). And yet, despite this, I for some reason like women. Like, a lot. My television tells me that this is weird, that I'm supposed to fear and resent them unless I'm staring at their boobs. It also tells me that they are joyless, fun-killing shrews, but that's okay, because I am a feckless slug of a doofus who, if left unattended, would try to put one of the pets in the dishwasher or some damn thing. My television often, and most obnoxiously, chooses to tell me these things in short, 30-second vignettes which also prominently feature various products for some reason.
Note: Of course we all know that in the olden days, not slapping your wife senseless for the crime of, say, preparing bad coffee for you meant you were almost certainly a Communist. Most commercials made before 1980 are just sexist (and usually racist, but that will be another article) as hell. To keep from having to include all of them here, we'll only be looking at some of the more recent examples of sexism in commercials.
Here we see victims of Post Menstrual Stress Disorder fearfully locking eyes with one another in the milk aisle, frantically scrabbling for enough udder juice to pump into a firehose and use to hold at bay the slathering, snarling beast who awaits them at home. "Calcium may reduce the symptoms of PMS," the commercial informs us, and thank the Lord for that, because last month that hormonally imbalanced harpie I for some reason married buried an icepick in my kidney and wiggled it around for the better part of an afternoon while screeching racial slurs at my penis. That's right, racial slurs. My penis is, of course, the same race that I am, but we can't expect our ladymonsters to remember a fact like that when they have their little Aunt Flo visitations, AM I RIGHT, GUYS?
NO, YOU BUY THE GODDAMN MINIVAN, BITCH!
When we met, it was a rainy afternoon. We ditched our friends and hung out on the porch chatting like we'd known each other our entire lives, and when it was time to go, I lent you my umbrella even though I knew the rain would ruin my jacket. And then when the wind blew the umbrella right out of your hands, I gave you my jacket, too. Ten short months later, we were married, and every single day since then, you have chipped away at my soul. You've turned my love for you into a frigid, icy thing, a frozen claw which you curve deep down inside me and use to shred my sense of gender identity. I don't even know who I am anymore, and all because you made me hold your lip balm. But it's not about the fucking lip balm. It's about my assassinated penis. It's about reclaiming who I am, drawing a line in the sand and saying "It stops here! No further!" That's right, you unimaginable harridan, you sinking ship to whose mast I am forever lashed: I am buying this muscle car and God help you if you try to stop me.