Yaaaaaaaaaaaawn. This is almost, but not quite, so weary-eyeroll-inducing that it’s not worth the effort of typing it all out. (And the “almost” caveat is due entirely to my gleeful anticipation of the snarky Shapeling comments to follow.)
So first, Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams writes this about an ad campaign to designed to get British dudes to eat breakfast at Burger King.
Now, I know you’ll all be thunderstruck to discover that the campaign is a comic and creative kersplat. (Something about how you visit a website and then you get to see a woman in a shower wiggle at you with eggs on her boobs, and then you want breakfast sausages, I don’t know.) Equally unsurprisingly, Williams’ send-up of the ad is vastly more entertaining and clever than the campaign itself.
I could go all blah blah blah offensive blah blah blah objectification of women blah blah blah nice nod to your voyeur pervs here, and in fact I will, but first, a reminder. We are all for sexy and witty and clever here. This, however, is not that. This is softcore to peddle hash browns…
Here’s what really sticks in our craw like soggy onion rings, though: A Burger King spokesman told Advertising Age yesterday, “Our research showed that breakfast is a male-centric audience for Burger King; it doesn’t resonate as well with women — we are targeting the people who are buying breakfast.” In other words, sod off, wenches. You are mere bits shakers in the King’s eyes, here to dance and sing with fried eggs on your boobs because we tell you to….We’re busy reaching out to the fan base who can associate our products with their morning spank routine.
Reading that was fun, right? “Sticks in our craw like soggy onion rings”? “Sod off, wenches”!? Yes! Delightful! And correct! And, probably, all that needs to be said on the matter.
Except here comes Dan Mitchell from Big Money, rolling in on the Mansplain Express.* See, he likes Williams’ Salon piece too. Likes it so much, in fact, that now he’s going to instruct the rest of us in what it really means. Which, it turns out, is not all that close to what Williams actually, um, said. Citing the Salon piece approvingly, he says:
Exactly right. The problem here isn’t really sexism, but stupidity…. [T]he campaign is at least equally offensive to men, and perhaps more so. It assumes, as usual, that men are idiots, that they’ll somehow be drawn to greasy, horrid breakfast foods by some vacuous wet girl dancing in a bathing suit on the Web.
If some buffoon is sitting in front of a computer, pants down around his ankles, directing a woman in a shower to do his bidding, which of the two parties should feel more humiliated and exploited? At least the woman, presumably, is being paid.
Oh God. Dan Mitchell, the internet tells me you are some kind of official smart person, an expert on economics. Here’s an econ word problem for you. Let’s say that a whole bunch of people are taught to behave foolishly and ignorantly toward you, Dan Mitchell. They learn this in school. They get mentored in it by others. They are instructed in it in their houses of worship. Everywhere people go, they see messages that amount to, “Hey, everyone! Whenever Dan Mitchell comes around or is the subject of conversation, let’s behave like immature, entitled, condescending, snickering, arrogant, leering assholes.”
And some people REALLY take the message to heart, and some people don’t, and some people are ambivalent, and some people don’t see what the big deal is or deny that such messages exist. Okay? Still with me?
Do you think, within that scenario, you could find — indeed, might like and/or need to find — a way to turn that to your economic advantage? (Even if that means that some stranger might pompously call you… oh, ‘vacuous’ say?) Me too.
Do you think that your doing so would mean that you’re responsible for turning some people into immature, entitled, condescending, snickering, arrogant, leering assholes? Me neither.
In this scenario, is it worth noting TO WHOM people are being taught to behave like jackasses? Or is it only pertinent THAT they’re being taught to behave jackasses, and are thus clearly oppressed by some jackassery-making machine? No, you go ahead and think hard about that one. We’ll wait.
I’d add more layers and more complexity, but I’m not convinced you’re ready for them. If you’re nice, the readers of Shapely Prose might bother to school you in the comments. I don’t know, though — their time doesn’t come cheap, and it’s possible that many of them are too busy earning millions a year not being oppressed.
*-Typing “Mansplain Express” caused me to envision a douchebags-on-roller-skates Andrew Lloyd Weber extravaganza. This is possibly the best idea I’ve ever had in my life.