In this 5-Hour Energy commercial, a man accomplished a lot of things – wrote a novel, learned Spanish, ran 10 miles, knit a sweater, recorded an album, etc. This seems to be a fairly non-gendered commercial; he did after all knit a sweater.
However, when compared to what a woman accomplished with her 5-Hour Energy drink in this commercial…
…the ad campaign seems much more sexist. The woman made a sandwich, cleaned the house, gave a Band-Aid, vacuumed, and changed a diaper.
Beauvoir quotes Benda in The Second Sex, “The body of man makes sense in itself quite apart from that of woman, whereas the latter seems wanting in significance by itself… Man can think of himself without woman. She cannot think of herself without man.”
The man who takes 5-Hour Energy is independent, progressive, and self-sufficient. He directs his energy towards bettering himself. The woman who takes 5-Hour Energy directs all of her energy towards cleaning up after and caring for others. As Beauvoir says, the woman does not stand alone; she is defined in her relation to others. She is not spending her energy on herself, on self-improvement, like the man is. She is passive and reactive to others. 5-Hour Energy perpetuates this damaging gender stereotype.
de Beauvoir, Simone. “The Second Sex: Introduction.” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. Ed. Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim. New York: Routledge, 2003. 32-40. Print.