Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Girlfriend

by Jordan Kisner

Jim Beam's most recent ad doesn't really have anything to do with alcohol. In the entire 45-second commercial, the product being sold doesn't appear once. Instead, the video shows a twenty-something woman sitting on a sofa. She's tan and 'exotic', with an indistinguishable accent, huge eyes and a full bust line on display in her low-cut top. This woman, whom is clearly meant to represent the ultimate in "hotness," flirtily describes her ideal man. And what is this man like? Intelligent? Caring? Funny? Nope. Someone who watches a lot of football, forgets her birthday and goes to strip clubs. "He can do whatever he wants," she says, pursing her lips suggestively, "I don't care." This woman, the ad tells you, is the kind of girlfriend that men want, the kind of girlfriend that you get when you're a man who drinks Jim Beam.

...Really? This ad is insulting both men and women alike. Men, aren't you bothered by an ad that reinforces the stereotype that you are all insensitive, boob-hungry ogres? Women, aren't you insulted by an ad which shamelessly tells you that THIS is the model you should be striving for? Mostly, I am insulted because of how brazen this ad is in its reinforcements of misogyny and damaging gender stereotypes. Do better, Jim Beam.

Of course if the video isn't disgusting enough, you could always look at the annotations added by the person who posted the video on YouTube: "Nice bra, could have used a more zoomed out shot to see her legs. Kind of a big nose, but does it really matter?" Ugh.


At February 5, 2009 at 4:29 PM , Blogger Happy Vaginas said...

Glad to see a post about this ad. I remember seeing it a couple of days ago and being utterly disgusted. And the accent! What is that about? Is the idea that non-Australian women or basically any foreign woman is ideal and thus men should seek relationships with foreign women?
Such tripe hurts men too, and I'm glad you pointed that out Jordan. It's beyond the notion that they are presented as uncaring, selfish sexual creatures. They are also reduced to one-sided beings and must hence resist any sentimentality and humanity that is inherent in themselves.

At February 8, 2009 at 11:07 PM , Blogger Robert McGibbon said...

Yawn. More attacking the media. Don't you think you're just shooting the messenger?

-Robert McGibbon '11

At February 10, 2009 at 2:13 PM , Blogger Roscoe said...

I'm gonna go ahead and agree with Robert on this one.

Yes, it is important to be aware of the ads and to talk about them. But, as much as people would like to blame the media for all this, the commercials, in fact, would not be aired unless there were people who will react to them positively.

Try pacifism, think about it enough and you'll see that it's the only real way to end all this. Hell, I just might write a post about it.

At February 13, 2009 at 2:12 AM , Anonymous kc said...

The commercial is ridiculous. But is it really the

I feel no shame for being a "boob-hungry ogre" and I make no excuses for finding the actress in the commercial really damn sexy. But when I stop to think about the real-life women I've known to have been as complacent and conciliatory in a relationship as this "Girlfriend" is, I remember that they only got that way after being abused mentally, sometimes physically, and had lost all of their self esteem. That, to me, is the true misogyny of this ad. It's subtle, unintentional, and delivered tongue-in-cheek which allows the creators to get away with it without assuming responsibility.

And as an aside, what really bothers me is the weird argument the commercial seems to make at the end:

If the "bimbo" is "The Girlfriend" as "Jim Beam" is "The Bourbon", doesn't this make Jim Beam the bimbo of bourbons?

At March 13, 2009 at 8:37 PM , Anonymous Pua said...

Roscoe and Robert, you are right, but I think you are missing the point. The ad points to a problem with the way our culture raises our children. No one is attacking the media here, rather "Equal Writes" is identifying the way the media is reflecting the gender roles that our culture is assigning to children, roles which are ultimately hurtful and limiting to all of us.


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