Nice Body, How is the Performance

by Darkace on September 27, 2016 - 6:17pm  

Cars are often seen as extension to men. Many people might even say that cars are more important than women or equally valuable. The advertisement from the Fiat 500 Abarth portraits an Italian woman as the new Fiat. Now, it might seem normal due to the fact that men love cars and women, but the sexism play such a huge role in the ad.

How do we define a car? How do we define a woman? The advertisement suggest that a woman is like a car. Men gets crazy for a car, an irresistible car, just like an irresistible woman. The things we are expecting from a car is the same for a woman: the exterior look, its performance, the maintenance and safety. The criteria are strongly objectifying the role of a woman.

In the advertisement, the men saw a woman and begin to stare at her as the woman protest. Within the protest, there was provocation and seduction. At the end, we realize that the woman was in fact a car. All the feelings that a man could have when they see a beautiful woman is now being use to describe an object. The quality women possess is now used to describe a car.

The advertisement companies are using familial similarities between a car and a woman to suggest men to buy.  Because we know that the more we feel towards an ad the more we will remember it. However, why use such technic? Because the Fiat is a small car that is portrayed like is was meant for woman.

Stereotypes are a concern as much for women than for men (Cortese p69). Although the advertisement uses less the body image of a man, they are using it in a more discreet way. Advertisers portraits the car as it is like a woman, meant for men. Do cars have a gender selection?  There aren’t written rules where it says that a certain car is for a certain gender. The advertisers can manipulate human choices by using stereotypes: certain color, certain shape, certain scent or even certain feeling. The use of stereotypes and sexism shows that humans are like objects.

There is a way to change the advertisement in order to avoid using sexism and stereotypes. Transformers have made quite a lot of advertisements for the cars. Instead of having a man looking at a car, it could be a couple looking at a car. Instead of the woman being a car, it could be a transformer talking. Instead of using the seductive power of a woman, it could use the actual traits of a car. The advertisers want the client to feel comfortable and to be able to related, but it doesn’t have to be a woman. It could be a transformer holding grocery bags, transporting some heavy things or even saving your kids by reflecting the car’s exterior look, its performance, the maintenance and its safety.

Cortese, A. J. (2008). Provocateur: Images of women and minorities in advertising. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.


What's interesting to me is that the man is portrait incredibly stereotypical as well. He's a blue collar (literally) type of guy who's judging by the setting of the commercial is supposed to aper relatively successful, someone the potential costumer can relate to in a positiv way. But as soon as he sees a beautiful woman (or a car in this case) he loses all control and pretty much becomes a total dork because everyone knows that man's only weakness is a hot woman (or a car I guess) <- Sarcasm alert!
Your idea with the transformer while very funny and creative actually brings up a different gender based problem.When asking the question: "Do cars have a gender?" the answer seems to be : "Yes, male.". At least according to Transformers since all of the (voice)actors portraying them are man. So having Transformers involved might not help to create a gender neutral scenario. (You'd also need to pay licencing fees and for the CGI) Another question you ask is why don't they use a couple or a family? Why dose it have to be a man? The answer as you pointed out is simple: "Because the Fiat is a small car that is portrayed like is was meant for woman" and they want to reach (single?) man as well. The idea that certain things are for woman and other for man seems so obvious to many even tho' it's not true in many cases (e.g. comic books, video games). But even if they want to market the car towards man they shouldn't do it the way they did. I'm totally with you on that one. Smart for example a company which only produces small cars tries to show how practical their cars are in everyday life which is a lot more harmless and appropriate imo.