Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I was going to give this post a title but I just can't stop twirling my hair.

If there's anything Lynsey loves more than "30 Rock" it's an angry, late-night call from me. Well, she'd probably like a late-night call from Alec Baldwin more but damn it, my rage is almost as good!

So I'm working on a research proposal for my urban society class in which I've decided to look at households with and without next-generation consoles to see if they consistently use more energy than homes which do not have such consoles. That's right, kids. You can totally write papers about video games in graduate school. Anyway, so I'm looking up commercials for Sony's "Playstation 3: It Only Does Everything" to talk about how using the Blu-Ray player on the PS3 uses 5 times the amount of energy of a stand-alone Blu-Ray player when I came across this little gem:

That poor, poor confused girlfriend. She's been watching her "good
boyfriend" play "Uncharted 2" for two days and, silly little thing,
she thinks it's a movie. I mean, she'd had to, right? She couldn't
possibly be interested in watching him play or, heaven forbid, play
herself. What I especially like about this commercial is how once the
rep guy sees what she looks like he shrugs it all off. If she's hot, who
cares if she's stupid, right?

Seriously, Sony? Could it not have been the guy's little brother or
even, dare I suggest it, a man who doesn't play video games. I know,
I know - it's crazy to suggest such a thing but maybe you should lay off
the whole "stupid-women-are-okay-as-long-as-they're-hot-and-will-allow-me-to-play-my-video-games" thing in the future, mmmk?

I mean, no, this is not the most horrible commercial in the world but it
is an enforcement of some very strong and very persistent stereotypes.
All I'm saying is, life's good outside of the mold.


  1. For whatever reason, commercials seem to be one of the last bastion where people seem to think this degree of brazen stereotyping is still OK. Sorry about the girls-and-games stereotype, but at least you can be thankful you're not subject to the TV commercial dreck about men and, well, pretty much anything. The Hanes socks commercial called out in this forum thread just made me and my wife kind of stare at each other (couldn't find video).

    Axe commercials are in a class all of their own, in which they manage to degrade BOTH sexes to pretty much the maximum possible degree.

  2. Anthony,

    You bring up an excellent point that at times I myself am guilty of forgetting and that's that these commercials (my Sony example and your Axe) are so popular and successful because they operate under the idea that men in fact like vapid women and nothing else.

    ~ Cary

  3. I was linked to this post by a friend because I too had a similar rant about this ad. It feels so nice to find other female gamers who share a similar view as myself. Thanks a bunch!

  4. Dana,

    Thank you! So nice to see people finding us - not to mention finding more female gamers! If you don't mind my asking, how did your friend find us and do you have your thoughts on the ad posted? I'd love to read it!

    ~ Cary

  5. I appreciate your post Cary! And I feel your pain.... but I think part of the ad is the recognition that it is completely over the top. Obviously anyone with half a brain would figure out pretty quickly that there is correlation between when something happens on-screen and when the boyfriend presses buttons. The humor comes from the ridiculousness. And humor is allowed to play on stereotypes. That's why it's humorous, because these stereotypes are known to us all.

    I wouldn't consider this ad sexist because of its obvious humorous intent. I understand your desire to call it out, but it's kind of like "pick your battles" to me. But I totally LOVED the post's title!

  6. These ads are the other side of the coin to 'smart wife, dumb husband' stereotype that seems to have pervaded any and all ads about household products and food, to start with.

    These ads piss me off because they also reinforce this stereotype as well, which to me is just as bad, being a 'not stupid' husband myself, an opinion which my wife supports me in...most of the time.

    Anyway :).

    Also, to the poster who claims that the ridiculousness of the ads are what makes them work, they're not that ridiculous to young males who make up the majority of the purchasing public for videogames. It might actually be taken as fact.

  7. With respect to the valid gender points above, the point of this commercial is not about males and females. It is about gamers and non-gamers … and specifically that non-gamers will enjoy watching Uncharted 2. I can testify that this is true because my wife watched this game from beginning to end and still talks about the characters and their interactions. When we saw this commercial, we both related to the characters not just because of their gender, but because of their gamer / non-gamer status.

  8. Grant - Oh, absolutely it was over the top. It's clear that the producers were trying to be funny (and I'm sure to some people it is). My problem stems from trying to picture that commercial playing out the same way if the girlfriend were replaced by another man. Or if it was a woman who was complaining that her hot but stupid boyfriend thought it was a movie. Pretty hard to image a commercial like that flying, right? My big problem with the commercial is that it both perpetuates these stereotypes about women AND isolates me as a female gamer. Glad you like the title! It's not as clever as "granting and raving" though ;)

    Noel - OMG, do not even get me started on those household product commercials. Those things make me sooooo mad! Not only do they automatically assume that it's the women doing all the housework but it's just as you said, they also suggest that men are morons when they try to help around the house or with childcare. I'm not sure if you're new to this blog or not but I'm just about finished with a Master's degree in sociology where I've concentrated on sex, gender, and media so I could take about this stuff allllll day ;)

    Conner - True, it is about gamers and non-gamers but why are the gamers always male and the non-gamers always female? What if the girlfriend turned out to be more modest and not so overtly sexual? What if it was another man who thought the game was a movie? Would the commercial still work? I don't think so.

  9. I'ma bookmark yer blog! My girlfriend felt the exact same way about that ad. Heck, even I found it stupid in an otherwise great ad campaign.

  10. Sorry for the delay in response. To be honest I have no idea how he found you guys, but he knows that I am passionate when it comes to female gamers and how we are portrayed. So that's why I was linked. I've also gone off on a few rants over this ad. hehe Either way, I'm happy I found ya!