For the past several Mad World discussions, we've looked at ad campaigns that are somewhat lacking when it comes to progressive gender politics. It seems high time, then, that we highlight advertising that gets it right where gender is concerned. The only problem is, where the hell is it? Does mainstream, sexism-free advertising even exist?
OK, we are all pretty up on the concept of advertising at this point. Not to say that ads don't have an effect on us (they do), but when it comes to the reasoning behind most ad campaigns, we savvy media consumers are hip to what's going on. They're trying to sell us something. We get it. So what do we do with ads that let us "in" on the joke?
First things first: All of us at Bitch HQ are bursting with excitement because the folks at Oregon Humanities have awarded us a grant to explore the intersections of advertising, feminism, and media literacy. This virtual symposium is called "Mad World: Gender, Advertising, and Identity in a Mediated World" and over the next eight months you'll be seeing articles, blog posts, podcasts, and even a virtual book club on the website and in the magazine. Get your media-literacy pants on, people, because we're doing this thing!
On this, the official Mad World blog, we'll be discussing how advertising informs our identities and our ideas about sex and gender. Got an idea you'd like to discuss? Let us know! The Mad World blog will go up every Tuesday, and we want you to jump in early and often.
Let's start with a discussion of this ad:
This project was made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OH's grant program.