Target: Best Buy Co., Inc.
Goal: Remove the company’s TV commercial that alienates the female demographic by sending the message that only men develop technology.
For Americans, the Super Bowl is hardly just a football game. Not only is it the biggest game of the year, it is a chance for advertisers to spend millions on a thirty second TV spot, and for viewers to see some of the year’s most expensive, outrageous, and many times sexist commercials. Most ads featuring sexism are blatant—i.e. women in bikinis selling cars, or anything by GoDaddy.com. However, one of the most sexist ads was much more subtle, but just as dangerously chauvinistic.
Best Buy aired an ad featuring one man after another telling the public how they invented their respective technological innovation. Women were completely absent from the commercial until the very end when a woman was seen in Best Buy uniform, indicating that she worked as a salesperson for the company. Although this may seem rather tame when juxtaposed with other over the top sexist ads, this ad promotes the idea that men are the innovators of technology, and women just sell it—no wonder there is such a gender gap in the tech industry.
Super Bowl viewing numbers are estimated to be over 111 million, and 50% of the audience is female. Regardless, commercials continue to promote regressive forms of “masculinity” by portraying women at extremes—either hyper-sexually or neglecting them altogether. The Best Buy ad exemplifies the latter, failing to acknowledge even one female technological developer, and leaving women out of the tech conversation completely.
For young females especially, advertising like this will have damaging effects. How will a much-needed generation of female tech developers ever come to be, when they are bombarded with images of strictly male tech innovators? “You can’t be what you can’t see” certainly rings true here.
As reported by Mother Jones, during the Super Bowl, consumers—men and women alike—utilized Twitter to take issue with commercials they found sexist or offensive with the hashtag #NotBuyingIt. Best Buy’s ad was met with a great deal of backlash, along with the commercials by GoDaddy, Fiat, and M&Ms to name a few.
Please sign the petition below to urge Best Buy to stop airing its newest TV commercial, and tell the company why it’s not only poor marketing, but also subtle sexism in it truest form.
Dear Best Buy,
The newest commercial aired by your company is sexist and reinforces obsolete, socially impoverished stereotypes. It promotes the misconception that tech developers are only male and women have no place (other than sales) in the tech industry.
It’s true, there is a gender disparity within the industry, but the notion that there are no notable female tech developers is completely false. It is misinformation and commercials like this one that are deepening the gender gap in the tech world.
Young girls watching your commercial come away with the impression that only men develop technology—that it’s a man’s world and women are not included.
Please take this commercial off the air immediately. Women who have contributed to technological innovation deserve recognition, and those that wish to make an impact deserve the chance. You can, and must, do better.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tim Wang via Fotopedia