I recently saw this ad for Andes Beer posted on a friend's wall. I was surprised not so much at the content (I mean, really, it is a pretty standard dialogue in modern society) but by the person posting it. I don't want to out the individual who posted it, but I will mention that he is someone dedicated to tearing down barriers in our society against race, religion, sex, class, and more. Even more interesting is that he had just posted the clip going around for Miss Representation. To his credit though, the video is no longer on his wall!
So let's take a look at the video. The first thing that comes to mind is this dichotomy of men as oppressed victims and women as possessive and overbearing. It really is ridiculous to see this, given how the reverse is so true (and has been throughout history). Watching the video really made me want to comment on it saying something sarcastic like: "finally, someone is stepping up for the rights of men who are unable to go to the bar!".
Seriously though. Maybe I just don't understand this culture very well. I may well be in the target audience for the beer commercial, but as someone who doesn't particularly enjoy the bar, I think that it's lost on me. I mean, I thought that going out to the club was to pick up, not to just have a friendly drink. So what's the subtext here? Are women limiting their partners' sexual activities? That's entirely laughable when we consider the effort being made throughout the world to control female sexuality.
What's really interesting in this commercial, and there are certainly other elements that I would like to talk about if you comment below, is how international this culture is. Keep in mind that this commercial was produced for Andes, an Argentinian brewery. Notice how similar (or perhaps how "western") this representation of Argentinian culture is? With many people from across the political spectrum declaring that feminism is dead or that sexism doesn't exist anymore, it's really important to understand where the spaces for inequality still exist.
Many people determine inequality based on law. In many jurisdictions in the world, women and men, at least on paper, have the same rights. However, that just means that capital, social relations, various media, and religion are now spaces where women are unequal. Think about these examples:
What good does having equal access to the courts mean if a woman is unemployed and can't afford to go to court?
What good does the right to have an abortion do when a woman's family will not support the decision?
What good does the right to run for office mean when a woman is belittled for her clothing or hairstyle in the evening news?
What good does equality do when a woman is told by her congregation that her role is centred on the family?
I hope you will thoroughly consider these - especially the ties that are made back to the particular media I have highlighted in this post. I want to quickly point out one more thing, though.
My partner showed my the Everything I Do Is Wrong campaign as well, which again paints women as irrational and oppressive, and men as victims and in need of banding together to protect their interests. Thankfully, due to much public pressure, the California Milk Board pulled the advertisements, though not without a ridiculous controversy and claiming that "some people found it funny". It was a weak apology. My hope is that together we can stop making beer commercials about ridiculous premises such as the oppression of men by women. And maybe get a good apology while we are at it?