Twitter users have slammed Pepsi for a recently released iPhone app, labeling it sexist and prompting an apology from the former Britney-faced soft drink manufacturer. Good.
The app provides pick up lines and other relevant information (like vegan restaurant locations) to users, based on the category of girl they are dealing with — “nerd”, “treehugger”, exchange student” etc.
“Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women,” Pepsi said. “We apologise if it’s in bad taste & appreciate your feedback.”
Go Market Capitalism! That’s as democratic as it comes, right?
There are two things I want to say about this:
Firstly, I’m not instinctively offended by the app. Of course stereotypes are lazy and demeaning, though it feels more tedious, than downright offensive in this context. Perhaps it’s the fact that so many kinds women are categorised in the app that it seems that noone in particular is being victimised? Or maybe it’s the fact I reckon you could just as easily write a program like this about men–would that be labelled sexist too? More than anything, this kind of marketing plays to the same audience as portrayals of masculinity in Flight of the Conchords–something I have blogged about in the past–or The Game. Such constructions of men as straight, predatory/pathetic (how ever you read it) and sexless are arguably more oppressive than the rather predictable characterisations of women.
Secondly, consider this.
Pepsi’s “Amp Up Before You Score” app prompted a storm of protest on Twitter, with commenters suggesting people drink Coke instead.
Really? Coke? That’s your idea of boycotting of sexist marketing practices, Twitter? Are you so quick to forget: