Selling cars with sexism

// 9 January 2010

Bologna Motor Show: cars are like toys, women are like toys too! Particularly unsubtle use of objectification of women as a sales tactic:




Comments From You

Alex Catgirl // Posted 10 January 2010 at 12:55 am

Your offence meter is set to low, toy cars, toy girls *yawn*, BMW took the cake a few years back with their –

you know you’re not the first

I’m used merchandise? Soiled goods? But that’s ok, I’m still a “fun ride” that can be bought cheap.

Buyer and seller can go boink each other’s tail pipe or something.

Frances // Posted 10 January 2010 at 9:39 am

Dudes would like to see everything in the world as toys.. the control, the domination, they truly see themselves as Gods, where animals, women, the world itself are toys to meet ends.

Such a feeling of superiority over everything else approaches some kind of disorder. Or something, very like the Nazis, that urgently needs to be stopped in its tracks.

Feminist Avatar // Posted 10 January 2010 at 6:09 pm

What exactly is the advertiser trying to sell here (from a non-feminist perspective)- that the car show makes men into children, associating all the fancy and for the most part unobtainable cars with the metaphor of being a child in sweet (or toy) shop? I can see why that might produce emotions of excitement and wonder, but it also suggests unaffordability and restricted power- I guess however if you can buy the car your masculinity is even more enhanced (selling exclusivity)- you are truly an adult, unlike your poorer comrades. But, this is quite a complex metaphor, relying on you to read the picture in a very specific way… you wonder how well it works as sales tactic.

On the other hand, I would have loved those cars for my Barbie; well more exciting than a pink jeep!

Hannah // Posted 10 January 2010 at 6:36 pm

I’ve seen so many car ads that use denigration of women as a sales tactic that I’ve become sort of inured to them; in fact I did a linguistics project on gender in car ads during my undergrad. Still, that BMW ad really surprised me. There’s not even a car there, unless it’s one of those ads where you flip the page for the other half. I am genuinely quite shocked!

Karen Vaughan // Posted 10 January 2010 at 10:21 pm

I gave up going to the London/Birmingham Motor Show some years back because I don’t think I could stand any more of the “leafletting girls”, all tight tops, inane grins, make-up overdoses and lack of vehicle knowledge which were totally insulting to me with my ND Motor Vehicle. In the 60’s, nude motor show models were asked to stay out of sight when the Queen came around (according to my Giles cartoon book, I’m not old enough to have been there!) so you can’t offend the queen but us mere mortals can see as much sexism as man will force-feed us. One of the reasons I love the Mini magazines that I collect are because they are the few remaining safe havens for female car nuts. Also, I have been glad to not see that advert on telly lately where sex is being used indirectly to sell the car (can’t remember the marque, only the sexism). The one where she says “fax me” after a shot of her heels and legs. And we all know what that was a euphemism for! I have a BMW Mini that is due for replacement in May, I might just bring this up with the sales person and tell them where to go!

MANU // Posted 11 January 2010 at 2:33 pm

Please stop using nude women in car adverts. it is really shameful.

Jess McCabe // Posted 12 January 2010 at 10:14 am

@MANU The problem I have with this advert isn’t that it features a nude woman (actually it doesn’t, they’re dolls, and they’re dressed!) My issue is that it’s literally equating cars to toys, and women to toys.

The implicit assumption is that the women at the car show are there as objects, an attraction on a par with the cars.

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