Friday, February 24, 2006
Does This Woman Look Stupid to You?

She may in fact be stupid, but can you tell by looking at this picture? To me she looks like someone who wants her boobs pushed up.

I bring this up because I stumbled upon a page entitled Women as Stupid.

Hey, some of the ads they show may make women look stupid. But ads make men look stupid, too. Have you ever seen a beer commercial? A bunch of guys acting like Bud Light is a legitimate adult beverage? Please.

Most of the ads you'll see are simply using sex appeal to sell their products; a practice, as unseemly as it may be, as old as advertising itself. And why, I have to ask, are sexy and stupid synonymous to these people?

I think people who nitpick about stupid shit like this ultimately do a disservice to women. Women have real problems, the least of which is some horny college student jacking off to a picture of a millionaire supermodel in a Wonderbra ad. Wage inequality, domestic violence, and a laser-focused effort by the powers that be to bring back the era of coathanger abortions are but three more pressing concerns of the female gender, in my humble male opinion. If getting rid of images unsettling to certain leisure class sensibilities made these legitimate issues disappear, I'd be all over the cause like Michael Jackson on a pre-pube wee-wee. As it is, it's just pseudo-intellectuals pissing in the wind.

Jesus in a wheelbarrell, in Saudi Arabia women can't SHOW THEIR FACES. I think of Mardi Gras in Saudi Arabia and the phrase "Beads for chin" comes to mind. Luckily, in the modern world a woman has the right to be seen, to be heard, and to make decisions; even if she ultimately chooses to be a humorless, petty twit.


Blogger n.v. said...

Women should be worried about more than just looking stupid. They're also a bunch of gold-digging whores who buy into the patriarchal propoganda that we are indeed a weaker sex deserving of emotional and physical battery.

Just kidding.

That slut does look stupid.

Blogger K said...

Michael Jackson on a pre-pube wee wee?

For that line alone, you're totally my new hero.

I nominate you to lead the next wave of feminism! Let the bra burning begin!!!

Blogger Claudia said...

I would have to disagree Todd.

I think it is pecisely imagery like this that leads to hegemonic ideologies that are the root of greater social issues concerning both sexes i.e. false realities, body image issues, self esteem, gender roles etc. all these things are spring boards for a snowball effect of more serious issues. In fact, I haven't had a chance to look at the site you linked to, but I think that with the far reaching capacity of new media and the unlimited spectrum of potential channels (websites/blogs, whatever), even though the info may be flawed, at least it is providing an alternate discussion in the public arena and allowing for diverse, more peripheral voices to be heard.

Sorry to preach it, but I teach media studies :)


Blogger Knitty Kitty said...

the ads don't seem to have anything in common.
I've seen a lot of ads that have made me uncomfortable because they represented women AS stupid, not that the women in them were stupid.

Seeing a woman getting super excited over a stain being removed from her child's clothes make me want to hurl.

Blogger Karen said...

Henderson, I wish more men felt the way you do, as that is where the problem starts. We are still a male dominated society, with women scratching and clawing their way to the top, and making extremely slow inroads.

When a man is in charge, and he's tough, he's called a maverick, a go getter, a "good boss". When a woman does the same exact things that a man does, she's called a bitch. Where's the equality in that?

The best way for this to change, is for parents to teach equality of all human life. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of neanderthalic thinking in todays young men. Just listen to a conversation between teenage boys, talking about the girls they know. Listen to the derrogatory language they use. Until THAT changes, nothing else will.

Thank you, from your neighbor, for not being that way!!


Blogger yournamehere said...

the more I look at her, I realize she has the stunned look of a dairy cow. Damn. My post is ruined.

k. bits,
some women need to wear a bra.

like I said, if I thought getting rid of the ads would help, I'd support the idea. Personally, I think thousands of years of patriarchal domination has lead to many of the self esteem and body issues you mentioned.

Thanks for your well-reasoned, intelligent response.

The title was kind of a joke, albeit not a good one.

I also wish more men thought like me.

Blogger Hadeel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger Knitty Kitty said...

oh i thought it was funny.
I often find you very funny...
I just got on my soap box for a sec...

Blogger Egan said...

I'm going to sit this one out Todd. Great topic though and I love the responses you already got on this post. It's a very interesting study in how media shapes our culture. So fucking true about Bud Light; that shit will rot your teeth and innards. Peace out.

Blogger Van said...

I'm with Claudia (media studies is my thing too). Social norms, values, and expectations are taught by way of the media. Althusser's theories about the Ideological State Apparatus ie media subtley demonstrate appropriate behavior through pursuasion.Images like those in the ads give us permission to insult the intelligence of women and sites that point it out give us balance. Balance is good.

Blogger Cherry! said...

Great post Todd.

Way too many points to be made on this topic and not enough room to make them all.....

Blogger katarina said...

I couldn't really care less.
If women want to make those ads, that's them. I don't judge how I feel on what Michael Jordan or Jessica Simpson likes. If they want to whore themselves, that's their problem. It's certainly not going to alter my feelings or image or how I feel about myself. My self-loathing issues come from growing up in a household that thought it was funny to call me fat.
Not because Brooke Shields sold Jordache jeans.

Blogger tlsd said...

"representations of stupid women in popular culture"??!!

hmmm... these women don't strike me as being particularly stupid. They strike me as women who have used their good looks as a way to pay the mortgage. They are not stupid; the heavy emphasis that society puts upon the individual to appear ’perfect’ is stupid. These women are just playing the game as a means to pay for a good life.

I'm with Knitty Kitty I'm far more offended by adverts that portray women as domestic retards obsessed with serving the home. Ad’s that imply women get excited by the prospect of a new cleaning product or labour saving kitchen utensil.

My ex’s little sister is a ‘glamour model’. Whilst it’s not something I would encourage someone to do, I don’t judge her as stupid for doing this. On the contrary she’s intelligent and is wise to the system. She works it, it doesn’t work her. She’s one of the 5 highest paid ‘glamour models’ in the Uk. She only needs to work a couple of days a month; allowing her to live incredibly well, party hard and have enough left over to save for the future.

Well said v~v Succeeding in a male dominated profession is one of the hardest thing’s a woman can do, although fortunately the ‘old-boy network’ that has dominated my profession (Architecture) in the Uk is a dying breed. I encountered so much blatant sexism throughout my college education. On questioning one tutor as to why he bullied women students, he replied that "for women to survive, in this profession they must be tough", and he saw it as his job to toughen us up. Is it any wonder that only 20% of the female students completed the course?!

Todds... did you realise what a can of worms you were opening up here? (sorry for writing so much!)*kisses*

Blogger The real me said...

So do hookers do it because they're stupid or shrewd businesswomen?

This is a can-'o-worms kind of discussion... I just wish I had the time to participate...

nice post, Todd.

Blogger Tumbleweed said...

women drule. I have started creating a dominant race of women starting with my 2 daughters. Okay, I'm kidding, I am trying as hard as I can to teach them to treat all people as equal, but sometimes I tell them that boys stink. What? They do!

Blogger Tumbleweed said...

Why don't they ever have ads of half naked men in aprons in the kitchen cooking with some fabulous pan that has a wonderful no-stick surface? I would so buy the pan! Stupid marketers.

Blogger tlsd said...

... I'd guess hookers do it because they're short on choices... and I shouldn't think they make that much money anyhow...

... but then I don't know any hookers... so I can't ask...

Blogger Slutbag said...

I am in a rather male dominated profession as well and it very interesting to not be heard - ever. Finally i have to 'shout' out what i'm thinking only to be known as the squeaky wheel who can't play nice in a team.

but there are definitely times when i perpetuate my stupidity...getting pulled over - "oh, officer *head bob* i didn't know the speed limit was only 30. *giggle, giggle*"

look at jessica simpson...she is either really really stupid, or the smartest business woman i have ever met.

Blogger Claudia said...


You made me get butterflies in my tummy.

well done.

Blogger Gwen said...

Yeah, I'm not seeing how a picture of a woman's face makes that woman look stupid. They show a close-up of Linda Evangelista, with the word LOREAL across the top. Why is she stupid for having her face on an ad? My only guess was that her mouth was open slightly. But still.

Calling models stupid-looking benefits no one, in my opinion. Women who think cosmetics are stupid should refrain from buying them - not engage in name-calling against people who do want to wear cosmetics.

We'll be closer to equality when men can wear lipstick or high heels without getting their asses kicked. It's human nature to want to adorn oneself. Everyone should have that choice without being called names.

Blogger Empress said...

I honestly didn't see where any of the women in those ads appeared stupid. For me, I'd LOVE to be able to do what they do! Talk about making $$$! That's not stupid in my book!

I've always thought, that the only people that have a problem with these types of things, are people who aren't happy with themselves or their lives. Instead of working on themselves and making better choices for their life, they attack others that are successful at marketing themselves.

As far as being upset with commercials where a women gets excited about a new spot remover, my dears, when I see an ad that claims to remove pet stains better than any other product I DO get excited! It's a bitch getting cat barf stains off a light colored carpet, especially when one cannot afford to get new carpet! So bring on the stain removers! LOL

Again, great post Henderson! ;)

Blogger genou said...

What's really stupid is the blinking neon effect on that web page. I'm seizing up just thinking about it.

Something so far unconsidered in looking at the ads on that page is when were they produced? Times change, thank goodness, so a representation of women from an ad 50 or 20 or 10 years ago is maybe not what someone producing an ad for the same product today would use.

Then again I'm seriously sleep-deprived today so I should probably avoid all pretense at being deep. Send the caffeine.

Blogger Egan said...

Claudia, Van is awesome. You should read her blog and find out how passionate she is about various issues. Plus she's Canadian.

Hola Téo/Todd!

Blogger Tumbleweed said...

Where are ya Todd, I'm bored and this day work day will never end. Entertain me damn it!

Blogger Cherry! said...


Todd, I don't know if the Dumb Bitch Syndrome is toying with moi again (like some of the doe eyed features on that site) BUT do you not have you email address somewhere for the bad ass vegASS fans to email besides this comments section?


Blogger Rachel said...

The only woman I know of that actually looks stupid is Paris Hilton.

That chica wears dumb blond like imposter designer perfume (of which she has now).

All the rest of us womanly forms are wonderful and amazing.

Lovin' you!

Blogger Rachel said...

P.S. I'm hurt!

Blogger Van said...

Claudia and Egan, gosh you folks are nice. You sure balance out all the people who send me hate comments! :)

Blogger Übermilf said...

Van, people send you hate mail? That's terrible.

It's been a while since I've taken media studies and psychology of advertising, but when you delve into the topic it is disturbing.

You're right in that women are not the only ones depicted poorly. Men, the elderly, children, and many others have suffered at their hands as well.

I'm less concerned with "stupidity" as I am the underlying message that "Women should look like this in order to be loved. If you don't look like this, you'd better do something about it, quick, or you'll be worthless. Buying our product is a good first step to avoiding the trash heap of life!"

We're all bombarded with negative and harmful messages all day long.

Blogger yournamehere said...

I like you on your soap box. Don't get off of it on my account.

I have the feeling that "I'm going to sit this one out" means "Todd, I think you're a douchebag." Just kidding.

you (and Claudia) are much smarter than me, which I think counteracts any negative influence those ads might have.

I have an annoying habit of being a reductive arguer. It makes the posts shorter.

I'm sorry you were ever subjected to that kind of treatment. You know I think you're beautiful.

No one ever asks "Why does Alex Rodriegez use his ability to hit a baseball to make a living instead of using his brain?"

obviously something has happened in a hooker's life that made them distance themselves from emotional connections. In Vegas good looking young women can make up to a hundred grand a year serving cocktails at casino, so prostitution is probably about more than the money.

it's your job to keep them off the stripper's pole, by any means necessary.

a lot of street walkers are hooked on crack; being a hooker is one of the few occupations one can perform while on crack.

Blogger yournamehere said...

I've seen women in management be treated unfairly, by both employees and their own bosses. But since there are caveman drawings of men dragging women around by their hair, I don't think the ads are to blame. This problem proceeds the ads.

I have nothing but love for you and Van. If I were to take out an ad about the two of you, I would give you both full creative control of the contents.

I think some people assume everyone will psychoanalize the ad as much as they do. "Hey, this ad says 'Double major', as if the only thing a woman can major in is having breasts."

I have seen ads where women appear subservient to men, but in my opinion those ads play to the stupidity of men by expecting them to believe that a certain cologne or malt liquor will make women crawl all over them.

I think they were hoping to take out a few sexist epileptics with that blinking.

you are truly a champion of all things Canadian, which more than makes up for being a champion of all things French.

I don't have internet access at work. However, I did leave for a few hours to eat breakfast at a neighborhood casino and go to a friend's house and have a mid-day beer out on the patio.

Blogger yournamehere said...

I'll email you my email address.

Paris Hilton was born rich. End of story. If her name was Paris Smith she'd just be another skinny So-Cal girl.

why are you hurt? I'm calling you to find out.

you were very kind in your disagreement. You are undeserving of any kind of hate comment.

apparently men now have to look a certain way. For example, my body is too flabby for me to wear Axe Body Spray. They just won't allow it.

Blogger MoDigli said...

Here, Here, Todd! That whole abortion thing going on in South Dakota is fucking SCARY!

And I'm still pissed off at Sandra Day O'Connor. Couldn't she have just waited a couple more years before retiring? I swear, I blame her if it all goes wrong.


Blogger Princess LadyBug said...

I don't understand sites like that. My first thought is how are you supposed to sell a bra without showing a picture of a woman in one. I for one do not care how a bra looks on a mannequin. I want to know how it will look on a real, live woman. It will give me a better idea of how it will feel when wearing it. Plus ads like that are usually in women's magazines and not men's magazines so how is that turning women into nothing more than sex objects? Personally I think we all need to become more comfortable with the human form. Way too big a deal is made of nudity. Geez, naked is the way we were made.

Plus if they do away with ads like this then how else can I make fun of women that actually NEED a Wonderbra. It's good to be a double D. :P

Blogger Cherry! said...


Blogger Blonde said...

Hmmm...I think she looks smart. She is gorgeous, showing her assets and making $5k a day having her pic taken. Pretty smart if you ask me.

Non-vocabulum-- we are not all gold diggers, but we are all sluts ;).

Blogger Ilovebawlz said...

I, for one, love Bud Light, but that's neither here nor there. I appreciate your concern for women.

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