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Target “From Santa” Commercial – Her shop-fu is stronger than yours, punk

December 1, 2009 1 comment

Here comes the holiday cheer!

With it also comes a less-than-healthy dose of advertising.

I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday. I eagerly await the start of the Christmas music and I wear my Santa hat through all of the month of December. What I do not like is the exploitation of Christmas for consumerism.

What I like even less is the degradation of men/fathers in these same commercials. Here is a prime example of the matriarchal consumerist society that is building up around us:

It seems like a fairly typical commercial. Tree, parents, 2.4 kids. All the trimmings. Then we see mom unwrapping ‘the big one’. A new TV!

But wait! Dad does not approve. It seems this happy couple had planned on not spending too much. He protests justly, but the Mrs. is not to be challenged. She tries to cover-up the argument by claiming that the TV came from Santa. Sorry, lady, kids ain’t that dumb. Neither is the dog.

Then the dastardly naredowell (husband) complains again, mentioning the recession. Yet again, the wife refuses to recognize his complaint and begins to grow angry and hostile. The next time he tries to comment, she cuts him off while staring him down.

Translation? My pleasure:

Shut the *** up, I can buy what I want and I know how to do it better than you.

The commercial ends on that happy note.

Hmm, what’s wrong with this image? Let me check my list…

  1. The man is ‘left out in the cold’, receiving no remorse, even though his partner went around his back and went against their plans. I don’t care how cheap Target is, a TV is a major purchase. She shows no sign of apologizing, even though he probably made most of the money being spent on the TV.
  2. His complaints are met with demeaning responses which do not recognize him as an equal adult. He eventually even gets cut off.
  3. He is shown as completely submissive, unable to even launch a real complaint. He just walks away weakly. If you look closely, he never even looks at his wife steadily, except at the end as he is left silent by her stonewalling.
  4. She makes no attempt to explain how she got the TV while staying within budget.

So what does all this leave us with?

The idea which so permeates American consumerism: women know how to shop and their command over finances should not be questioned.

No matter that men make most of the money. Obviously they do so by oppressing women, so that doesn’t count.

This idea is not portrayed only in this commercial. Look at advertising in general. Women are the shoppers, and men have a few roles they always play:

  1. They are the absent wallet. The woman does all the shopping.
  2. They are the silent helper, eagerly following his wife’s commands while at the store.
  3. They are the dumbfounded idiot, awestruck by his wife’s abilities to find great deals.

We don’t usually see a man opposing female-spending at all, but when we do we get a chance to see just how deeply they try to control it. At least she didn’t turn violent. And thank goodness they didn’t go so far as having the husband apologizing.

Enjoy your holiday shopping.

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