“Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really folks, come on. Are we serious?” – President Trump

This quote was directed towards Carly Fiorina during a Rolling Stone interview in September 2015. Now, what does being a woman have to do with her ability to do or become whoever she wants to be? It is clear even from our President’s sexist perspective that it doesn’t matter what is being said or done or how qualified you are; the biggest problem is “if you’re a woman.”

For many decades, stereotyping has been and still is an ongoing issue. Many men including our sexist president Donald Trump view themselves as strong leaders; whereas, women are viewed as weak, emotional and incompetent. Though this could never be any further from the truth, gender inequality is sadly still prevalent and will continue to be, as it appears to be a norm accepted and practiced by many. This parody/sketch of a sexist pickup truck commercial was featured from a Kiwi show “Funny Girls” from New Zealand’s 3NOW TV channel, starring Rose Matafeo, Laura Daniel, Jackie Van Beek and Kimberley Crossman.

 

 This advertisement is not an actual commercial from General Motors’ Holden division. The main purpose of creating this parody is mostly to shed light on stereotyping against women.  This advertisement started out with a stereotypically deep male voiceover featuring a white Holden, Colorado truck. His successful rendition of a blokey ad voice and the condescending manner in which men often talk to women was so impressive it added life and believability to the sketch. Though this is a very sensitive topic, the use of some NSFW (not safe for work) language added humor alongside his comical Kiwi accent. Just as most truck advertisements usually start by giving a super macho, manly detailed description of trucks as they drive through rugged farm lanes, so did this ad. The narrator referred to it as the Ultimate workhorse that has a 2.8 Duramax diesel engine. As he was about to describe how tough it was, the truck came to a stop, and the flannel-clad female (Rose Matafeo) was seen getting out of the driver’s seat. Before the voice over could finish the sentence, “It’s built tough just like a…” his tone and reaction changed upon seeing the woman exiting the truck and his sentence was completed with “whoa whoa What the fuck!” This was so brilliant for this reaction to occur right after saying, “it’s built tough just like a…” The idea is to imply and ‘trucksplain’ that the truck is definitely not as tough as a woman because women are weak, and this particular woman had no right driving this truck. Pickup trucks are usually a representation of strength, power, and overall manliness. This reaction was priceless and couldn’t be any more demeaning and insulting yet comical. As Rose queries who the man is, he went on to say, “Sorry love, just didn’t expect to see a woman.” He then added that he’s just not used to seeing women in these types of ads.  The pickup truck’s inadvertent history with sexism is a long and documented one but never quite so funny as it is in this recent ad parody. Society on a whole has gotten so used to the concept of men being the dominant and better controller of any type of machinery that they’re the ones usually featured in those specific ads. Most times when a woman is featured in an advertisement about machinery or beer, they’re usually pictured wearing bikinis or some form of revealing outfit just to draw the attention of predominantly male cust0mers.

Women are perceived as only caregivers.

 However, according to an abstract from “Empowerment/Sexism: Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising,” “there has been a significant shift in advertising representations of women in recent years, such that rather than being presented as passive objects of the male gaze, young women in adverts are now frequently depicted as active, independent and sexually powerful” (Gill).  Now that a woman who is not dressed half naked is actually managing the machinery and portrays qualities that only men are viewed to have, the advertisement is completely different and completely sexist. The voice-over then implied that there’re probably kids in the truck, as if this could be the only valid reason for her to even have the audacity to drive this pick-up truck or any truck for that matter. This too is a notion that women are supposedly seen to be just caretakers whose sole responsibility is taking care of children, home, family and definitely not driving this powerful piece of machinery. According to the article. “Women, Know Your Limits: Cultural Sexism in Academia,” it is fairly uncontroversial to say, that in society, as well as within academia, childcare is often positioned as a women’s issue rather than a parental one. Structurally, societally this is embedded through existing legislation which disproportionately allocates paternity and maternity leave. Conflating childbearing with childcare produces the assumption that child care is a woman’s ‘problem’. This is an issue which is regularly played out within the academy to women’s disadvantage in their everyday experiences. (Savigny) Basically, the author is explaining that from the moment women give birth to children and care for them, they are automatically given the permanent job to be sole caregivers, which is unfair to women while men tend to get a free pass because they’re men and childcare is a woman’s job.   

The moment the young lady stepped out of the truck the stereotyping went haywire and the advertisement was no longer just about the good qualities of the truck but also the conception that the female was dumb, had no idea what she was doing and is overall not a good fit for the truck. When she stated that she was a farmer and that she owned the property the reaction of the voice over was so sexist as if it’s not normal for a woman to be independent. He assumed that she must’ve been a farmer’s widow and the only possible way she could’ve own or run that farm is through knowledge passed down from a dead husband. This is implying that women cannot do anything on their own or is not fit to own, earn or control anything without a man’s hands-on help or input. The concept that women should not be able to do the same things as men, cannot do anything right without a man’s help or deserves the same treatment, salary and respect as men is completely misogynistic.

In Robert S. Feldman’s “Social Psychology”, he mentions the fact that traditional gender stereotypes are framed in highly regulated categories. An example of this matter is found in one study, in which participants were asked how they would describe the typical man and woman, using a series of dimensions such as “very passive” and “very active”. Also, they are asked to mention which of these dimensions seemed the most attractive or suitable (Ridgeway, 2011). The results have shown that traits can be grouped in two categories: one referring to competences and the other to kindness and expressivity. The second category was assessed by the participants as belonging to women, while the first was seen as mostly belonging to men (Kite, Deaux, & Haines, 2008). If we were to make a list of characteristics we might say that men might be: aggressive, dominant, independent, powerful, hardy, severe, harsh, etc., while women would be: affective, attractive, curious, dreamy, dependent, kind, sexy, sentimental, weak, submissive, etc. Many times, such stereotypes turned into what we today know as sexism. Sexism is a type of discrimination based on a person’s gender. (Nelson,2009) It starts with the simple fact that the gender is the most obviously used social category which helps us identify ourselves, compared to others. Another example in this case is the way in which Americans categorize women, as: housewives, career-oriented, athletes, feminists, and sex objects. (Seceleanu)

As the truck drove across the fields the narrator went further to point out the trucks 3.5-ton towing capacity. As he was about to mention how much the truck have the guts to get the job… he paused again and direct his focus to the lady who came to a brief stop again after he blurted, “hey, go easy on the clutch there, you’re riding it.” Well of course he didn’t complete this statement either, because each time he’s about to say something that fulfills the true ability of the truck his concentration shifts to the woman as if she’s impeding the trucks progress to really live up to its worth. The fact that he mentioned having guts and the lady riding the clutch in the same sentence he’s implying that this lady definitely doesn’t have the guts to get anything done right. It’s almost as if this female and her incompetent abilities was the complete opposite of everything positive about this truck and its purpose. With an irritated expression in her tone, the lady declared that this was not her first time driving a truck. The voice over however, responded sarcastically with, “Well you coulda fooled me.” This was said sarcastically as a way of saying she was lying and he didn’t believe her. After the female rolled up the window of the truck and told the narrator, ‘fuck you” which was an entirely reasonable response after all the badgering and belittling comments, her frustration could be sensed in that moment and throughout the rest of the ad. All his sarcasm and sexist comments were belittling and it was irritating. This was a way of highlighting how stereotyping makes women feel.  

As mentioned earlier the sole purpose of this parody is to shed light on stereotyping/sexism against women and spread awareness on how common it still is. The advertisement is intended for both male and female audiences but mostly the males. The comedy group successfully captured their attention by featuring this extremely masculine, male-driven, tough and strength-driven truck with features any real man would drool over. As the narrator continued with what was mimicked to be a truck advertisement, he explained that, “with 500 meters of torque means you don’t need to…” as he had before, he lost his chain of thoughts again and completed his statement with talking down to this lady. This time instructing her to turn the wheel clockwise, with which she responded with. ‘I know’ in an annoyed tone. Though he explained that he was just trying to help his intentions was intended to make her feel like she needed his assistance because she can’t do it on her own, and she should not be upset. No man likes to be told how to handle their machinery because according to most men their way is always the right way but as for women they always need to be told how, and what to do. This all goes back to the misconception that women need their hands held throughout everything because they are so weak and clueless without a strong man. Nonsense! His constant badgering got her so frustrated that she hopped out of the truck and insisted he took over and do what she’s so incompetent to do. Without hesitation this hilariously chauvinistic deep voiced narrator confidently accepted to take on the challenge, which he failed miserably and blamed it on the woman for his short coming. At this point he realized that it was all about the experience to actually drive the truck and not just the protuberant set of genitals. He implied she must have done something to sabotage him

Dark color reflects strength, pink reflects weakness.

but based on the tone in his voice that was the sound of embarrassment, failure and shame. He continued with the advertisement where he finally admitted that the new Holden Colorado was made for men and women.  The word ‘women’ was written in pink while all the other words in the sentence was in dark colors. Dark colors represents strength, power, seriousness and authority, whereas pink signifies nice, playful, cute, romantic, charming, feminine, and tenderness, flowers, babies, little girls, cotton candy, and sweetness.

This was also a subtle way to say fine, this truck was made for women too half-heartedly but even within the choice of word color it was evident that the message is still saying women have no reason driving this truck because everything about them is delicate and soft and it should be for men only. This was justified with his last line which was, “apparently nothing’s sacred these days.” This line is like a back handed slap to women for wanting to intrude in a man’s manly world making them feel weaker and less than a man. A truck is a representation of a man’s masculinity, especially if it’s a stick shift, it gives him power and authority, so when a woman wants to drive a pick-up truck it’s seen as invading a man’s sacred space. The female finally got back in her truck and ordered him to get off her property. Overall the lady in the advertisement stood her ground the entire time, she proved herself to be strong and useful without having to talk down at the narrator. The narrator however after all the badgering ended up being his own worst enemy and making a big fool of himself.

Overall this advertisement used a great amount of ethos, logos and pathos to successfully capture the attention of the intended audiences and also advertising the truck. The lady in the advertisement serves as a credible character as it appeals to ethics and women like Carly Fiorina who may experience sexism/stereotyping on a daily basis. She was a great representation of a strong woman who regardless of being discriminated against she stood her ground and represented like a real strong woman should. Pathos was used to appeal to the emotion of both men and women contrarily as women who watched this ad may be able to relate to all the badgering and sexist criticisms and may feel empathy towards the woman. As for the men this was a way for them to see from both perspectives also how horrible sexism is and the impact it has on women. Many women do not handle such sexist comments well, but this lady was featured to represent for all the women who often let it gets the best of them and should somewhat help women to be stronger, and men to be more aware and less stereotypical. Lots of logos was used to describe the trucks features, it’s durability, and strength. Driving the truck across grass lands and featuring its towing capacity were also logos that helped to add credibility to the truck’s functionality, strength and durability. The main logical reasoning behind the parody which is to shed light on stereotyping was also a use of logos.  

In conclusion the main purpose for this parody is to raise awareness on stereotyping/ sexism against women. The main audience is both men and women who may experience or practice stereotyping. The message was extremely clear, effective, beneficiary and an eyeopener to those who aren’t aware of this ongoing issue.

In order for stereotyping against women to stop, it was suggested by “Gender Discrimination in Household Chores and Decision Making: The Perspective of Haryana.” that gender equality can be achieved only through, social, economic, technological advancement, empowerment of women and through participation of women in decision making. By providing women the opportunity to take active part in socio, economic political and familial decisions this discrimination can be reduced. Women of our country have faced discrimination at all ages, now and hence forth this discrimination continues to exist in various forms. Any denial of equality, gender and opportunity on the bias of gender, is gender discrimination. Nature doesn’t discriminate men from women. But women worldwide have been the victims of inequality not only in terms of social and political rights but also on grounds of employment and opportunities. In the male dominant society women have become habituated of this discrimination. As a result, most women fail to understand their own rights and freedom. Gender discrimination happens because people think that men are better than women. It seems obvious that women would want to change the system, but men are less likely to want to give up their positions of power. However, when men take part in resisting gender discrimination-by treating women with respect we’d have a better society and better relationships.(Deepika) Not only was this parody effective in sending a message but it was also effective in advertising the Holden Colorado. Given the nature of the advertisement this truck will not only attract male costumers but also women. The lesson in this parody is to learn that stereotyping against women is wrong and should not be practiced as it has negative effects on their self-esteem and how they are viewed by society overall.   

 

                                                                                     Annotated Bibliography

Deepika and Kathpalia Jatesh. “Gender Discrimination in Household Chores and Decision Making: The Perspective of Haryana.” Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, vol. 8, no. 7, July 2017, pp. 688-690. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=125123619&site=ehost-live. This source explained how gender discrimination can be uprooted through empowerment of women and social awareness. Data were collected from Chaudhriwas, Kalwas, Dahima, and Bhojraj villages of Hisar-1 and Hisar-11 blocks covered under Hisar district of Haryana State by selecting 200 Parents. This paper shows that role and responsibility among gender and decision making by parents for future prospectus to their children. I used this source in my essay to better explain how discrimination can be alleviated. This source is extremely credible due to the authors intimate affiliation with the1Department of Sociology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India and experiment and data carried out by experts.

 

Gill, Rosalind. “Empowerment/Sexism: Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising.” Feminism & Psychology, vol. 18, no. 1, 2008, pp. 35–60., doi:10.1177/0959353507084950. This analysis examines contemporary constructions of female sexual agency in advertisements examining three recognizable `figures’: the young, heterosexually desiring `midriff’, the vengeful woman set on punishing her partner or ex-partner for his transgressions, and the `hot lesbian’, almost always entwined with her beautiful Other or double. Using recent examples of adverts, the article asks how this apparent `agency’ and `empowerment’ should be understood. I used a section of this analysis to better explain the shift in advertising representations of women in recent years. This source is credible due to the authors affiliation with the Faculty of Social Sciences, Open University, Walton Hill, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK, R.C.Gill@lse.ac.uk analysis carried out by experts in the field.

 

Savigny, Heather. “Women, Know Your Limits: Cultural Sexism in Academia.” Gender & Education, vol. 26, no. 7, Dec. 2014, pp. 794-809. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/09540253.2014.970977. Using feminist methodology, this article attempts to unpack and explore just some examples of ‘cultural sexism’ which characterizes the working lives of many women in British academia. This article uses qualitative methods to describe and make sense of some of those experiences. This article uses qualitative methods to describe and make sense of some of those experiences. In so doing, the argument is made that the activity of academia is profoundly gendered and this explicit acknowledgement may contribute to our understanding of the under-representation of women in senior positions. I used a small section of this source in my essay to explain how society view women as sole caretakers.  This source is credible due to the authors affiliation with The Media School, Bournemouth University, Weymouth House,Poole, DorsetBH12 5BB, UK

 

Seceleanu, Răzvan-Paraschiv. “Gender Stereotypes and Their Effects in Social Situations.” Romanian Journal of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy & Hypnosis, vol. 4, no. 1/2, Jan-Jun2017, pp. 1-5. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=123884564&site=ehost-live. This journal on gender stereotypes and their effects in social situation gave a glance through human history in order to better understand the relationships between men and women and brings to our attention the dramatic ways they have changed in time. This source was used in my analysis to help to understand societies views on women’s characteristics in comparison to men. This source is credible because of the authors affiliations with the University of Transylvania, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Braşov, Romania and data collected from other scholarly books, authors and conducted studies.

Video source:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS1vywGCHwU

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