Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Give me a commercial break!

One of my parenting goals, is to raise my children under an umbrella of gender equality. I want my sons to grow up in a world where women and men conduct themselves with mutuality and respect. I want my daughter to understand that she can strive for anything she dreams up - even if she does not have a penis. I have been intentional about the toys they play with and the content of the movies and TV shows they watch. I stand guard against anything that sexually objectifies women. I steer clear of shows that portray women as helpless or weak.

The children and I watch Netflix mostly, and they see lots of adventure shows and documentaries, as well as animated action and fantasy. I love Netflix, because we enjoy a commercial-free viewing experience. There are a few TV shows however, that I watch on Hulu: Modern Family, CSI, Nikita, and Survivor (which the children and I watch together). I understand that paid advertisements are what allow me to have the free HULU service, I appreciate that. But last night alone, I witnessed over and over, commercials in which women were powerless and dependent.

These two specifically, make my skin crawl.

In this AXE commercial, the runner throws a race because a guy says, "hey."

In this car commercial, the driver fantasizes about all the sexy women who will pine for him if he drives an Acura.

The third one I saw repeatedly is not quite as offensive, but I'm curious why Verizon chose the "Guy rescues technologically exasperated, pretty girl" angle. It's what sells, I suppose.

So many other titillating commercials to choose from (not necessarily that I have seen on Hulu - but various screen shots that accentuate my point).

I am aware that there are so many human rights issues to combat. This one just seems to hit me in square in the face day after day as I guide my children. Are you a parent? Have you had similar experiences? What are some ways you deal with it?


krisann said...

Nik -- We are pretty firm with what we let our kids watch, too. Living where we do, we don't have some of the same viewing options (hulu, netflix streaming, etc), but do set limited screen times(tv and computer), and watch lots of documentaries, etc. I was shocked speechless earlier this week, then, when my 8 1/2 yr old's matter-of-fact explanation of preparing for marriage involved searching for her future husband on ('you know, like they show on tv...'). Talk about advertising influences!!! Grr.

Nikki Alexander said...

Wow Krisann
Yeah. I was super shocked when my 11 yo asked me, "mom, what does fuck mean?"
Creighton laughs because I am so matter-of-fact with my kids. I told him straight up.

My heart for them is that they trust me and know that they can ask or tell me anything and I will not judge them. I tell them over and over. I WILL ALWAYS TELL YOU THE TRUTH, AS I KNOW IT.