I’ve never commented on ads before, although I’ve always enjoyed Ms. magazine’s back page where the inflammatorily sexist ads are rounded up for my viewing pleasure. However, I was poking around online, reading about the controversy [as, for example, on the blog of Bob Garfield, columnist for Ad Age] over the Heineken draught keg TV spot … In this ad, the robot woman supposedly does a C section on herself and brings a draught keg out of her uterus.
For the record, I would like to say that I am truly torn about the ad.
Every time I try to watch it to see if it’s sexist, I am continually distracted by the sexy, mechanically lissome forms of the robotic women. I also like the techno music, even if it’s a ridiculous ditty about popping the flip top or whatever. Anyway, after repeated viewing [for research purposes!!], I opine that the sexism in the ad does not come from the keg=uterus equation because the location of said keg is nowhere near the robot woman’s uterus. It appears to be keg=small intestines.
The sexism at work here is nothing new. It’s just your tired, old, run-of-the-mill objectification of women as inanimate objects [robots] whose sole purpose is to sacrifice their own desires so that they may cater to the tastes [for draught keg contents] of the implied male viewer. In fact, the image in the commercial of a woman emptying herself for a man while keeping a constant smile is actually a disturbing reification of many women’s experience. Socialized to abnegate themselves, women may try and try to please other people, draining themselves of energy, until they are as empty as used beer cans. While the images used here are distractingly sexy, the underlying message is a terrifying turn-off, yet another example of how Heineken’s execs underestimate their target audience [hey, hetero men, you don’t want female companionship, just a fembot-like servitor!], insult women and leave everyone feeling demoralized and worse for wear.
Or maybe it’s draught keg=abdominal cavity. In any case, as you can clearly see, it’s way too high up in her body to be the location of her uterus.