Friday, March 27, 2009

Commercial Bias

Today we're going to look at an odd phenomenon. We all know that today's morals and societal norms don't necessarily apply to the past. But that doesn't stop SOME people from looking back and finding stereotyping and prejudice everywhere, even in day-to-day things people would have taken for granted. So why don't we look at some old commercials to see if these accusations hold water?

This Calgon commercial is often thought to perpetuate certain stereotypes about Chinese people running laundromats. Now, we know that not all laundromat owners are Chinese, but, it IS true that laundry owners are all petty, petty liars, so this one is (pardon the pun) a wash.

This commercial is an example of a "positive" stereotype, which is no less wrong than a negative stereotype, even if it is well-meaning. This "noble savage" weeps at the sight of litter, but this ad ignores the fact that he probably does not weep as he CUTS the SCALPS off of his enemies and prays to his heathen nature-gods. If you are going to show a Native American, show the WHOLE picture, please.

I know what you're thinking: This commercial isn't based on any stereotypes. Well, you're wrong! This commercial deftly alludes to the little-known stereotype that elderly women are only interested in giant cock. But in reality, many of them want loving relationships and companionship AS WELL AS giant cock.

This commercial is particularly pernicious in its use of stereotypes. Mustachioed men are no more likely to be huge potheads, nor to have whiny bitch kids who can't man up to their own problems, than ANYONE else. I'm so tired of people hating on 'staches. This sort of blatant discrimination must stop.

But even very recent commercials come under fire for being racist. For instance:

Now, personally, the only issue I find with this commercial is that not all Americans look paunchy and gross in tights and a cape. But apparently some people are upset about the "Japanese" guy. Those people apparently don't know that Japan is, in fact, entirely populated with Sumo wrestlers who moonlight as car manufacturers.

Anyway, I hope this has cleared up some of your conceptions about the ways the media can create false impressions about groups of people. The lesson you should all draw here is that stereotypes are bad, unless they're REALLY funny.

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