Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mormon Ad FAIL


A college-age young man is invited to play video games at a friend's house, but Institute (the Mormon equivalent of a Bible study group) is at the same time. His "good angel" pops up on his iPhone and promises him a "bonus" if he goes to the church activity. So, he goes. And the bonus?

A date with a hot young thing (blond, thin, and Caucasian, of course).

The overall message the church seems to want you to understand is, "obey us and you'll be blessed with a hot girlfriend."

This video, which features the same "sex sells" advertising techniques that you might find selling cars or Victoria's Secret clothing, is found front-and-center on the LDS Church's official website for their Institutes of Religion. While I shouldn't be surprised that a church with a well-established history of female oppression (i.e., polygamy and the fight against the ERA) would put out a video like this without a blink of an eye, what stuns me is that there isn't more feminist outrage about it within the Mormon community. I mean, what happened to "New Mormon feminism"? Surely if anything is anti-feminist, a video that depicts women as rewards for righteous behavior is.

As I said, I know I shouldn't be shocked and outraged that this comes from a church whose finest entertainment moment was the depiction of Johnny Lingo bartering for an 8-Cow Wife. And I know I've heard more returned missionaries than I can count who've been promised "a hot wife" in exchange for their faithfulness. But it is different when the video comes straight from the Church's official website.

In case you were curious, this is what inequality looks like. Mormon Ad FAIL.

16 comments:

Donna Banta said...

Ever notice that in these scenarios, the guy is an ordinary looking schlub who doesn't even bother to brush his teeth when he gets up?

This ad is especially sickening, though. What did he say? "Gee I feel very spiritual." Ye-ah, and sitting next to the blonde hottie has nothing to do with it.

When I was a Mormon, I was called a brazen feminist, and an intellectual (snort) so I'm not sure we can expect a whole lot of outrage from the LDS feminists. Would be nice, though.

Great response to their stupid ad, Madame Curie.

Madame Curie said...

Ugh, I hadn't even noticed that he didn't brush his teeth. Yeah, nice one. Lets make all men slobs while we're making women chattel.

My friend Jason posted on my FB that "[T]he fact that the sexism would be likely be barely detectable (and likely not at all) by the intended audience shows how thoroughly it permeates the culture." I think he's right - most women within the Church would probably be oblivious to the sexism in this video - even though it is incredibly obvious to anyone outside of that worldview. It is so frustrating when women contribute to their own oppression.

I could have done an entire blog post about ALL of the bigoted notions portrayed in this little video - racism (notice how the girlfriend is "white and delightsome"?), fat-hatred (the girlfriend is skinny, of course, while the "fat girls" in the room are all talking to other girls), etc.

Dave♥Nicole said...

to be fair, most ads do invoke the beauty myth, in some way/shape/form.

Dave♥Nicole said...

not that it isn't worse coming from a church.

Madame Curie said...

Nicole, I could type out all of my answers to your comment, but you already know what they would be :)

Dave♥Nicole said...

Although usually a multi-billion dollar company does make some efforts at emphasizing racial diversity in their ad campaigns - still almost always the "diverse" models fit the beauty myth mold.

Dave♥Nicole said...

This could segue quite nicely into a book discussion on the Beauty Myth or Big Fat Manifesto!

Madame Curie said...

True! I've purchased the books, I just have to read them! This bumps them up in my reading order.

Dave♥Nicole said...

I think you'd be interested in this website:

http://pzrservices.typepad.com/advertisingisgoodforyou/

Lisa said...

d'oh! i didn't even think to embed the video on my blog. fixing that...now.

the church is so much fun. at least the MC isn't some obvs mormon guy. i'd be interested in him--especially because he was like "institute? REALLY?" but then he gets all hot and bothered and "feels the spirit." yuck. he should've went to a party and got laid.

oh those normans and their euphemisms. ha ha ha!!

for fun, my captcha is "farch." reminds me of "fetch"

and only because i need to fix my profile--my response can be found at Come to Institute, Meat a chick

Ned said...

So I've got a hypothetical for you. President Monson gets a direct message from on high that he must dump this ad and produce something that embraces the church's diverse membership while still encouraging institute attendance.

He also gets the word from above that because of your articulate and outspoken views, your marriage, your questioning, your Catholic background, your open door policy, your academic studies, you are to immediately receive a $1.9 million dollar advance to to write the script, cast the actors, commission original music, direct the shoot and edit it. What approaches do you consider?

Dave♥Nicole said...

So I was thinking about the sexist angle of the ad some more. I think it would have been 100 times worse if the roles had been reversed... if the young lady had gone to institute and was "rewarded" with a good-looking RM.

Madame Curie said...

LOL, Ned. I wouldn't take the job. I would tell them hire someone who actually knows something about sales or marketing: preferably, someone whose work was excellent, but without advocating the use of sexism or racism in their messaging.

I don't know much about sales. However, I do know when I see something sexist, and I know that it makes me not buy the product.

Nicole - both messages are sexist. It doesn't matter to me whether its the man OR the woman who is demeaned; people are people, not objects.

J G-W said...

How about if the "bonus" had been another cute, male RM? :)

But seriously... It is a shame, because I thought the ad would have been cool if it's point hadn't been to suggest that you'll get a hot date in exchange for institute attendance...

Gwylym said...

The ad made my teeth hurt watching it.

Madame Curie said...

John, like I said, I really would have been just as disappointed if they used the male sexist angle - i.e., if men were the tool to get the kid to come to Institute. Either way, its objectifying human beings.

But you are right in one way - it would be a huge shocker if the church were to accept the myriad permutations of human sexual attraction as normal.

Gwylym - Why teeth?