This chauvinistic ad “Don’t worry darling, you didn’t burn the beer” would be banned instantly to -day if it appeared. It would not be acceptable. So we’ve come a long way. Or have we? Just recently we had the withdrawal of the awful misogynistic Coca Cola, Sprite campaign, which had ads like
We now live in a culture which on the surface treats women better, but we still have a long way to go as the recent Ghostbusters film storm shows.
Not all anti women messages are so blatant
The big outcry to the remake of Ghostbusters appears to be driven by an all-female cast. We’ve had many remakes of films, none of which attracted such negative publicity. One of the female leads closed her Twitter account, the abuse got so bad. Dr Ciara Kelly covers this well here. Ignore the negative reviews. If you like action films, go see it. It’s funny. I enjoyed it. If you saw the original, you’ll enjoy spotting the hints back to the old version.
What if famous movies were feminist?
Thanks to Deshocks in Cork who passed on this great video about
It got me thinking. Because I’ve enjoyed some of these movies but until I saw the video it really had n’t sunk in just how “anti women being strong” these messages were. I really saw them in a new light. Some examples from the video
You’ve got mail
Instead of committing to a relationship our heroine says
“F*** no. You ran my business into the ground and lied to me for weeks”
The hero confesses to entering through the window and watching the heroine as she sleeps. Instead of being attracted to him she accuses him of being a stalker and a 100 year old paedophile.
One of my favourites. In the classic song “tell me more” one of the lads asks
“Did she put up a fight?”
Immediately, the lads give out to him and tell him “That’s rape, we can’t be friends, you have to leave”
The hero is hanging from the roller coaster asking the heroine to go out with him. Instead of saying yes, our heroine replies
“No, I don’t go out with guys, who threaten suicide to get a girl to go out with them”
It’s worth watching the video here.
Surrounded by messages which condition how we think
The video really shows how these films support a storyline that women will do anything for romantic love. All these films were successful. I watched and enjoyed them not really seeing the underlying message. I did n’t understand how toxic these messages were. Certainly not the way I want my daughters to think. That real, romantic love means a guy can treat you badly and you still love him.
We get similar toxic messages about alcohol
In the films we see, we get the same toxic and totally misleading messages about alcohol. Just some examples.
After a drunken one night stand the heroine gets pregnant. After much misunderstanding, she ends up in a loving committed relationship with the Father of her child.
In real life.
The heroine would either go to England to get an abortion or end up raising the baby on her own. She’s treated for an STI (sexually transmitted infection)
One of the hero’s, who drinks beer and whiskey non-stop, switches from a simple crop duster plane to a military jet and allows other heroes to enter and destroy the alien space ship.
In real life.
If our hero just stopped drinking, he probably would have died a painful death without days of supervised medical detox.
All the James Bond Movies
James Bond is glamorous because he asks for
“A medium dry martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred.”
and always gets the girl.
In real life.
Bond would have been killed because his reactions would be slower. No romantic relationships for him!
Product placement in movies
The alcohol industry pays to have their products placed in movies. Budweiser beer is the champion with the most appearances. Despite codes of practise to regulate how alcohol is advertised, children’s movies have alcohol placements. So we’ve moved from ads which were sexist but blatant about what they were advertising to more subtle types of messages which we may not spot. See article here
These movies are escapist, just fun
Okay, these movies are escapist, not meant to represent real life. However they support a culture where problem drinking is not a problem. The toxic message they send is, you can drink as much as you like and escape the consequences. Alcohol is not harmful. It won’t make you unhappy. But even in the workplaces which create these misleading messages, drink is banned.
Movies sets are drink free
When making these movies, most directors insist on an alcohol drink free workplace. Too difficult to film with actors getting drunk if too many re-takes needed. So they use substitutes-strong tea steps in for whiskey, or flat ginger beer for beer.
Alcohol industry now targeting women
As reported by Laura Slattery, the alcohol industry is now actively targeting women. So we no longer get the sexist ads as in our headline picture, but our livers will pay the price. Equality means we can now have the same alcohol health problems as men.
Be aware of the misleading messages about drink
So whether you drink beer or something stronger, be aware of all the misleading messages you’re getting about drink. That there is no downside to drinking too much. That drinking is glamorous and risk free.
Change your thinking about drinking
If you’re thinking about stopping or reducing alcohol, change your thinking about drinking. Don’t see yourself giving up something you enjoy and will miss. You’ll just feel more miserable.
See yourself as a bright intelligent women. Some one who is rising above a toxic culture which encourages you to harm yourself in the interests of making profits for big business.
Are you a savvy social drinker?
Finally, if you drink, do our quiz and find out if you are a savvy social drinker here.