These Ads Aren’t Helping
These Ads Aren’t Helping
The first one I saw just made me roll my eyes and say, “Of course,” in classic Gen X style. The ad features an illustration of a white haired woman with a bag of Whole Foods-like groceries next to a red haired woman carrying a plant with a small figure between them. I thought it was a baby the first time I saw the ad but it turns out it’s a little dog. (In a spacesuit?)
The tagline is “ Whether you’re a boomer or a millennial, we’ve got a seat for you.”
And Gen X — You Can Go Fuck Yourself.
I mean. Classic Gen X erasure. I was going to Tweet it but someone already beat me to it. This is the most dominant Gen X media experience now — just noting when we get left out. It seems to have become our primary pop culture meme. Anyway — all I know about the company that made this ad is that they have no Gen Xers on staff.
Then I noticed their OTHER ad on the subway. It features two white men in suits — one with a blue tie and one with a red. They are cheersing one another with coffee and the tagline reads: Whatever your politics, we’ve got a seat for you.
I’ll give you a second to think about this ad and to guess why it made me angrier than the Gen X erasure of the first one. Just take a second. It took me a second to really take it in.
I’ll give you a hint. It is ALSO about who is missing. I mean — look — I know that when I say “politician” you probably picture a white man in a suit. These two douchebags in the back of their Via car cheersing their coffees are exactly who most people picture — consciously or unconsciously when they picture the political landscape. To some people (including the people who made this ad) the whole political situation is just a jovial game — a friendly competition between white men who wear different color ties. Meanwhile, the rest of us are fighting for our lives and the lives of those more vulnerable than ourselves. And the absolute fiercest fighters right now are women.
The press fawns over the men in their ties while the women, laying out substantive policies and ideas are given significantly less coverage.
So these two illustrated douchebags who can agree on one thing — coffee and ride sharing — are not cute. They’re re-enforcing again — as has it been for so long — that politics is for the boys. And white boys specifically. And you know, right now is a really terrible moment to do that. It’s not great at any time but right now, Via? While we watch the white men in ties take the lead in polls over all the qualified, interesting, exciting women candidates? You wanna show me how it’s possible for two privileged white men to get chummy in your car service? Just — you know — why don’t you take the implied message you sent to Gen X in your other ad and go fuck yourself.
This company, by choosing to reinforce the historical, patriarchal norm, while they are claiming to be for everyone, is making the most conservative backwards choice they could make and also reveals that, in addition to not having any Gen Xers on staff, they probably don’t have any people of color or women in decision making positions either.
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Originally published at http://artiststruggle.wordpress.com on April 11, 2019.