Last night I was watching the first game of the NBA Finals when this ad came on:
What? What on Earth possessed the advertising team at DirecTV to think that this ad was acceptable?
Let’s just start with the fact that the “woman” in this ad isn’t a woman. She’s a marionette. Can someone say objectification? Because this ad sure does!
Not only that, but the fact that she’s controlled by a set of strings? Like, do women have autonomy? Can we pleeease acknowledge the fact that women are not just controlled by external factors? There’s this amazing thing called free will. It’s part of being, like, a sentient being. Pro Tip: women are sentient. (Which these guys seem to have forgotten.)
Now that we’ve dealt with the whole marionette thing, we can move on to the actual content of the ad. (Don’t worry, folks! We’re not running out of sexist comments to respond to!)
So, this woman is feeling insecure. I get it. It happens. We all feel insecure. But that doesn’t mean that our first impulse is going to be to ask if our partners “still think [we’re] pretty.” Because we all know appearance is definitely the only thing that matters about a woman. And, of course, the only way to determine whether you’re attractive is to ask a guy. (The male eye knows all, yes?)
Well, apparently the only way that this woman can consider herself attractive is if she parades her body in front of her partner in a little red dress. That’s how it works, right? Women can’t feel empowered without men. If they could, they would be *gasp* independent!
In some ways, this ad does reflect reality; our culture focuses almost exclusively on women’s bodies (taking a break every once and a while to punish them for exercising their minds). This focus can lower a woman’s self-confidence (who wouldn’t feel bad after spent her whole life being ceaselessly objectified?) and, having been trained for her whole life to view her appearance as her most valuable resource, she may feel that her only recourse is to capitalize on her appearance. But to hold this woman and her insecurities, the products of our cultural inadequacies, up as an object of ridicule? Not cool. Not productive. Not a good move.