Tag Archives: buy stuff!

Coke: not misogynist…for now

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:



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One more reason never to drink Bacardi Breezers


Who is the target market for this? I don’t understand!?!

Also, I like that it skips any “look inside you, feel better from within” nonsense and cuts straight to that claws-out competitive attitude that from personal experience, is the simplest and most rapid way to ruin self-esteem and friendships. I mean, have they even considered what people who look like the girl in the picture feel like when they look at this?

Maybe they think this is edgy humour…


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OCD fo’ life

OK, I might be just seeing things here, but to me this ad screams OCD HUMAN WOMAN BITCH WITH NO SENSE OF HUMOUR:

woman insurance

while this one, says “I’m just, some dude, doing dude stuff, I’m just chilled out and shit”

man insurance

Pink paper pad, pacer pen, super neat handwriting, no sense of humour v. blue background, less neat hand writing, relaxed tone and that ultimate symbol of modern masculinity: an Xbox. Am I projecting?


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Neoliberal Capitalism: maybe misogynist, maybe just lame

I‘ve recently been totally seduced by the idea of a MA in Media Studies at the New School, New York. I could ride a bike around Greenwich Village and make friends with Santogold and sit in the same cafes Allen Ginsberg did and go to Portland for the summer… that’s realistic, right? Anyway, I got onto the New School by researching Professor Nancy Fraser, whose latest piece in the New Left Review, Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History, has captured my little brian for some time now!

I know, I know, even the title is scary– after all, Fraser is an academic. Accessibility isn’t a priority for them. Nonetheless, her ideas are stimulating, and having spent a decent portion of last week decoding them, I think I’m ready to try and break it down. Wikiwiki.

The thrust of Fraser’s argument is that second-wave feminism (that’s the 1970s) may have implicitly contributed to her reading of the rise of “the new spirit of capitalism” ie. the romanticised unencumbered masculinity of team work and flexible networks as part of neoliberal labour management theories, as crystallized by Google. She finds proof for this by pointing to feminist campaigns (sex trafficking, unequal pay) which are widely recognised culturally, but are yet to to be realised through institutional change.

The article gives clues to Fraser’s overarching vision, which is essential to understanding her arguments — a place were participatory democracy is paramount, and where citzens are politically engaged both individually more importantly, collectively. Thus in looking at the second wave, which relied on a notion of “the personal being political”, Fraser’s essential problem appears to be that the fight against collective class based struggles played second fiddle — justice isn’t just about recognising issues, it’s about acting within a political economy to create equality.

Fraser takes issue with the spread of “depoliticized expertise” (throughout both profit and non-profit sectors) and technocratic managerial ethos which she says denies collective political justice. Where second wave feminists saw the welfare state as paternalistic, Fraser idealises the welfare state as a place where states are responsible for ensuring equality and practical justice can be achieved.

To illustrate her point, Fraser uses the example of microcredit. She argues that while NGOs have been busy doling out hundy dollar bills, state actors have been abandoning macro infrastructure projects like housing, “efforts that small scale lending cannot replace”.

Fraser argues, it is the state, not the market (certainly not a free one) which can provide a site for justice. In explaining the practical effects of the “new capitalism” on women, Fraser cites decreased job security, declining living standards, steep rise of hours worked (rise of the double, triple and quadruple shift) and a rise in female headed households as signifying this expanded neoliberal capitalism or disorganised capitalism; “disorganised capitalism turns a sow’s ear into a silk purse by elaborating a new romance of female advancement and gender justice.”

While stopping short of antagonising the work of second-wave feminists (she does not identify as one?), Fraser adopts a classic “I told you so” tone. Fortunately for those looking for more than just griping with the past, choices and necessary awarenesses for the future are also presented. Fraser asks that in rejecting neo-liberalism (here she points to Obama) feminism be re-positioned “squarely on the Left”.

Is she right? I dunno, part of me feels like she might be clinging to ideals so irrelevant not worth discussing, and part of me is really encouraged by collective direct action as seen in the G20 riots (do we want big government?). All of me is feeling like I know a bit more about feminism. Also what sane and reasonable people think about Obama —


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