Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Much More than Lactose Intolerant!!

Was anyone else a bit creeped out by the latest Dairy Queen commercial? If you haven't had the opportunity to see it yet, it features a middle class mom visiting her local DQ along with her 10 year old daughter. (Honestly when I first saw it, I thought it was entirely possible that the young girl could be much younger!) Mom is getting ready to order two rich and decadent sundaes, when young tart spies young hunk! (remember now-maybe 10!!) Young tart tells mom to order only 1 sundae and mom expresses her surprise at daughter's change of taste, until DQ guys brings another over and states that it is compliments of the young hunk. Young tart replies, (and I quote) "It's like shooting fish in a barrel." Mom looks suitably shocked, but the message is clear. Women can get what they want by flashing their feminine wiles and sexuality. Here we are in 2008 and this is the message that we are sending to our young women and men? Now, I have not had the privilege or pleasure of raising a girl but I have attempted to raise my young men to be responsible, caring and feminist. They have been taught that girls (and by extension, women) are their equals in every conceivable way and that they should never, ever look at women as objects, but rather as people. (Now, as to reality-they are guys-young and healthy guys!! As their mother, I have no interest whatsoever in their personal lives, but I am also not stupid and I know that guys are still guys!!) That said, I believe that this commercial and others like it that display women as nothing more than sex-starved, vapid and emotionally bankrupt individuals do a tremendous disservice to the smart, sexy and brilliant generation of women that we are attempting to raise. I do not find this commercial amusing, cute or pithy! I find it sleazy, contrived and rather disturbing. How will society ever have a serious discussion on sexism if advertisers persist in these types of stereotypes? The United States is currently engaged in one of the most important elections in it's history. They are finally having a long overdue national discussion about race. But, where is the same discussion about sexism? Senator Clinton (By the way-she is rarely referred to in the mainstream media as Senator, but rather by the more familiar "Hillary", while one rarely hears Senators Obama or Mcain referred to by their first names!) has been described as "shrewish", "shrill", "mannish", "bitchy", and "difficult". She is forced to "man-up" in order to appeal to male voters. (Hence the pantsuits!) She is constantly being forced to show how tough she can be so that she might prove to be capable, yet she needs to be sensitive and caring in order to appeal to the soccer moms. Obama and Mccain are not being asked for their feminist credentials, nor are they being directed into sensitivity training, (something that should be mandatory for all candidates!) yet Mrs. Clinton is continually being asked to prove that she is as good as the guys! We do this to our girls. Dairy Queen has made a commercial that perpetuates sexual stereotypes and worse yet, it is directed at children. We can and should to better. This rant should no way diminish how much we LOVE Dairy Queen's products. The husband positively drools at the thought of a Blizzard, and there are times that I am almost willing to undertake the stomach aches and gas that will accompany a dish of soft serve. Last Saturday we drove almost 30 minutes out of our way at 11:00 pm with twin son and his better half, in search of a DQ!! Love the food not the ads!!!

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