But, even though these ads have been on TV since Halloween, we still can't seem to decide what to make of them. Lots of complaints of sexism were made concerning Asda's portrayal of a MUM traipsing round the supermarket and preparing her home for Christmas as her family lolled (lolled!) on settee, ignoring her efforts.
Yesterday on the Stylist.co.uk India Knight wrote about how she also can't being herself to be annoyed at Asda's ad. Knight simply prefers to do everything herself and to heck with sexism. “...I love those ads. To me, what would be really sad would be if the women watching them – the ones who didn’t instantly recognise an aspect of themselves – suddenly thought, ‘Oh god, is that all I am, the Christmas drudge?’ To me, the ads are a celebration.”
This irks me, mainly because I enjoy everybody agreeing with me but also because manners cost nothing, you know!My annoyance at these ads is the acceptance of plain rudeness rather than whether or not feminism is being considered here (it isn't). I am not sure how much it matters that Asda used their customer database to find out what Christmas was truly like for those pounding the aisles.
It feels like we are going backwards. Devolving. 10 years or so ago Iceland had stopped the 'That's why Mums go to Iceland' schtick in favour of rhetoric revolving around good deals. Only for it to return because all of a sudden we can't imagine anyone else involving themselves with the purchase of foods.
we seem to resign ourselves to being either drudges or letches
Which brings me reasonably neatly to The Flip Side Bar. A short film by Jay Diaz in which, ha ha, men and women's roles are reversed. Mad. Hey, at the Flip Side Bar women letch on men, men weep on a staircase. At the Flip Side women interrupt clearly private conversations with the words “you can tell me to go away, but do you guys want a drink?” and the men ask her to leave. To no avail. A pair of women make predatory remarks about a bearded guy putting it all out there and they bearded guy gets very self conscious. A man bores a women at the bar as he wonders aloud why, when he's such a good person, he's still single. HAHA! It's true, it's really true, stuff like that does happen at a bar, only, you know, with the sexes reversed.
Look I realise nuance is hard. Especially when you're just trying to advertise a supermarket or make high-larious short film. But what does it say about us that in the history of TV, advertising and film we can't seem to step away from these stereotypes? In fact we keep exaggerating them and making ourselves increasingly unappealing, and the more we do so, the more we seem to resign ourselves to being either drudges or letches and nobody gets to be on the winning side.