Over the summer, marketers for Renault Clio released this ad in an effort to promote the car. It quickly went viral on the internet, and a complaint was filed against its sexist portrayal of women. England’s Advertising Standards Authority subsequently reviewed the ad and deemed that it objectified women and could cause possible offense to viewers. One view of the clip and it is easy to see this fact – two supposedly unsuspecting men take the car for a ride, and after pressing the “va va voom” button, the car is suddenly surrounded by lingerie-clad women dancing around it.
What shocks me most is that this video went so far as to be shot and published, and yet no one on the marketing team thought that it might be offensive enough for the idea to get scraped. Even more so, the company defended the video, saying that of the 3 million+ views it garnered, there was only one official complaint filed. Perhaps that is the most disturbing fact – that so many people just accepted this video as nothing more than another provocative car advertisement. It reminded me of how Julia Serano, in “Whipping Girl,” recalled lewd comments that would be made to her as she walked alone at night, a harassment she did not have to deal with when she was still living as a male. Objectification of women has become an accepted norm, and this is a fact that needs to change.
Serano, Julia. “Experiential Gender.” Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. N.p.: Seal, 2007. 215-27. Print.