Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s the billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay. -- Donald Draper, Mad Men
I’ve put together this collection of recent sexist advertisements from different companies. To be honest, it was difficult to pick the ones I wanted because there were so many of them. It was truly abhorrent.
Donald Draper explains to us what advertising is. Its a stroking of the ego. Sexism and patriarchy are rampant within society (advertising also touches on things like race, body size, and social class but for the purposes of this post I am focusing on those two), and thus advertising capitalizes on that, makes money on it, and perpetuates it. We’re surrounded by this kind of advertising. We can’t escape it, we’re trapped.
So when shopping or flipping through a magazine, or even driving down the high way and reading billboards, let’s all remember to put our critical thinking hats on and to identify and call out the sexism. Advertising is a significant contributor to the continued social injustices. But remember: those problems come to an end with us. If we stop responding to these advertisements the way the companies want us to, then some real reform can begin.
Stephen Fry on Language, Grammar, and Morality
"In this combat against time, terrible as the consequences may sometimes be, there is no fury: only an immense courage focused on the inertia of things. Hence the death of a racer is infinitely sad: for it is not only man who dies here, it is a particle of perfection which vanishes from this world….This is the meaning of a great automobile race: that the swiftest force is only a sum of various kinds of patience, of measurements, of subtleties, of infinitely precise and infinitely demanding actions. What man has done is to drive himself and his machine to the limit of what is possible. He has won his victory not over his rivals, but on the contrary with them, over the obstinate heaviness of things: the most murderous of sports is also the most generous.”
—Roland Barthes, What Is Sport? translated by Richard Howard
Images from Le sport et les hommes (1959), dir. Hubert Aquin
Dmitry Argarkov was sent an unsolicited letter offering him a credit card. Instead of simply ignoring the offer of credit, he scanned the agreement into his computer, changed the terms of the contract, and returned it to the lender. Failing to follow its own instructions to check the small print, the lender sent him his credit card, which came with a credit limit large enough for Argarkov to purchase a small island. Two years later, the bank tried to sue Argakov for fees and late-payment charges that were not in mentioned in his altered version of the contract. The court backed him, and now Argakov is suing in the bank for breach of contract.
Our Tumblrs, Our Teenage Selves:
"When I was a teenager in the largely pre-digital era, my bedroom walls were my Tumblr," writes Ann Friedman of New York Magazine. “They were plastered in pictures, mostly those I meticulously trimmed from mid-nineties issues of Spin and Rolling Stone: bands I was obsessed with, actresses whose style I wished I could imitate, the occasional photo of my friends. By surrounding myself with images of the people and things I admired, I convinced myself I was that cool, too. That I was one of them, that I could become them.” — Read more of “Our Tumblrs, Our Teenage Selves” in New York Magazine.