The truth about sexism in the car industry today

Let’s talk about sexism in car advertising. And sexism in the car industry broadly. Here's why the social justice warriors miss the target, every time

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 Mercedes-Benz based one entire E-Class wagon campaign on a simple enough concept: The dumb blonde. I don't know why, but it is funny

Mercedes-Benz based one entire E-Class wagon campaign on a simple enough concept: The dumb blonde. I don't know why, but it is funny

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Where's the real sexism in the car industry? (Hint: It ain't in advertising...)

There’s a common perception among die-hard man-hating feminists and social justice warriors that women are still systematically victimised and oppressed here in Shitsville. But I truly see no evidence of this. This may of course be because I don’t have ... the right transmission.

I wish I did, at times, except of course for the waxing.

Car Advertising

One of the battlegrounds of this alleged oppression of the fairer sex, by we alleged bastard pillaging rapists (also known as ‘men’) and it’s intensely superficially debated by feminazi bloggers, appears to be car advertising.

Perhaps it is car advertising that is actually keeping women under the thumb. Here’s how Nissan chose to portray the benefits of independent suspension on the Pathfinder (below left) and how Skoda sexed-up the benefits of dual-zone climate control air conditioning (below right):

Disgraceful - but you can’t look away. Just makes me want to go drive on the beach. I don’t know why.

Still, these feminist chicks with such a hard-on for men point out endlessly that women are complicit in the majority of car purchases. There’s too much boy’s club; not enough equality. No respect. A disgraceful black mark of inequity on our society. We should be ashamed. I know I am.

If that is what you actually think, I would would love to know: What colour is the sky in your world? This female obsession with playing the victim card is entirely undignified.

Sexism, or Social Justice BS?

Jihad on bullshit, star date: 1, 9, 36, 84, 126. (Good luck with that.) A tsunami of social justice is wreaking havoc on the 21st Century western democracies of planet Earth. That’s according to a recent survey of people who identify as one-armed albino transgender negro lesbian muslim Armenians with ADHD.

I’d suggest that there’s political correctness, and there’s reality, and they don’t often overlap. Here in the real world, women are in fact the harshest critics of other women. (Coming up: Kylie’s cellulite shame. Exclusive pictures. That’s what sells women’s magazines.)

So I guess you can choose to wear the yoga pants or be a dumb blonde. But to imply that it’s only men oppressing women is the easiest argument of all, but perhaps men are not solely the sexist oppressors of women.

A curious cultural phenomenon: women generally don’t rate in talkback radio. This is exclusively because women don’t like listening to women. The complaints flood in. True story. I’ve worked in talk radio. I’ve heard the program directors bitch and moan about this. Maybe it’s women stopping women from achieving neutral buoyancy in the sea of gender parity.

Do you think a woman with actual money to spend on a car now, wants to be advised by another woman, or a man? The politically correct view is very different than the truth.

Real Gender Bias

And this is even less palatable: Women will buy a car marketed to a man. No problem there. The reverse simply cannot be accomplished: Men will absolutely not buy a chick’s car. If you are a carmaker and you paint a car ‘girly’ you lock out half of potential buyers.

 The Buick Riviera was apparently too sophisticated for a woman to understand...

The Buick Riviera was apparently too sophisticated for a woman to understand...

“Riviera by Buick - a great and rare machine that a woman can admire and enjoy to the fullest, but only a man can really understand”

Can you imagine saying that today? The worm certainly has turned, which is why the use-by date on the ‘victim of female oppression’ card has so profoundly expired. There’s no point being outraged about the past

But the current disconnect from reality shows no sign of abating. The ‘victim’ card is too convenient to give up. The more tolerant we become as men, the more we are obliged, seemingly, to apologise for our innate tendencies, for our white-coloured skin, or for being unable to facilitate gestation. It’s disgraceful.

Old Vs New

I actually really like the old ads - because acceptable marketing today demands double-filtration through an ever more stringent social justice warrior apparatus. Gay appeasement: Check. Representative racial mix: Check. Requisite chick in a hijab: Check. It’s nauseating.

Case Study: Holden

Here’s a case in point … out-of-touchedness writ large: Holden’s chief marketing dude is a guy named Mark Harland. I’ve never met him - but to me he seems perfect for modern marketing.

At a recent marketing summit Mr Harland declared that the agency that could crack marketing cars to women would be the agency he chose to plug Holden’s SUVs - something I think of as being handed a poisoned chalice floating on a river of gold.

 
“We know that strong, independent, self-assured women are driving SUVs, whether that's family or working young professionals.” - Mark Harland, Holden
 

I’d love to know how Mr Harland tested these women for their alleged strength, dependency and self-assuredness. I'd also love to know what kinds of vehicles weak, dependent, non-self-assured women should drive, especially if they are neither working young professionals or mothers. And how about empty-nesters?

Unfortunately, he went on:

 
“Yet every single SUV advert is a male … Jeez, it's crap right? And it's so boring. No one has nailed this space talking to women the way they want …” - Mark Harland, Holden
 

Nothing like having your finger on the pulse there. Seriously - nothing like it. It's fair to say Hyundai has already navigated this allegedly uncharted territory ... albeit once, with the allegedly "strong & beautiful" Tucson:

Unfortunately, Mr Harland went on:

 
“This is where we want to take our brand - into this uncharted territory that the industry is failing at.” - Mark Harland, Holden
 

My Spider Sense is telling me that some of you are already penning the inevitable comment that I am sucking on Hyundai’s appendage. I’d suggest the Tucson snake ad is a marketing triumph because a chick can watch it and aspire to be that demon-possessed snake-whipping hottie with those nympho eyes, and a bloke can watch it and imagine being the snake.

Sexism Overseas

Just for the sake of balance, political correctness is malleable as a function of national borders. Here’s how Hyundai chose to portray the Santa Fe in India.

To be perfectly frank: I’m not offended by that either. I’m a huge fan of the female form. And health. And those female forms seemed very healthy to me. Very healthy indeed. When I shut my eyes on the train, these are the kinds of vignettes that play in the back of my head, and help me pass the time.

Let’s go live to China now, where Audi came under fire for comparing the selection of a suitable wife, to that of a car.

To all of you arseholes whose indignation just reached fever pitch, just press ‘pause’ and ask yourself: Would you class yourself as authentically Christian? An important question in the circumstances. It strikes me that this Audi depiction of wife selection and status is not all that different to the 9th, and perhaps most Orwellian, Biblical commandment: that of not coveting thy neighbor’s wife.

Not only does this commandment categorise one of the most prevalent recreational suburban pursuits as a thought crime and a mortal sin, but it also consigns the wife to the role of ‘husband’s property’. Bit of a hurdle for Christian feminists, right there.

You believers, take note. This is the allegedly unalterable word of the alleged creator of the universe. Don’t shoot the messenger. And by ‘messenger I mean Moses - a man who, on balance of probabilities, did not even exist. But thank Christ for Jesus...

 Mercury Cougar: "If you're man enough". Imagine pitching a car to a woman "if you're hot enough"...

Mercury Cougar: "If you're man enough". Imagine pitching a car to a woman "if you're hot enough"...

If You're Man Enough

Not only are women not invited to the somewhat exclusive ‘Cougar’ party - and I love me a good Cougar - only men who measure up need apply.

Perhaps there was a test at the dealership - like those silhouettes at the amusement park used to determine if kids could ride the Wildcat...

Imagine the outcry if a car was marketed to a woman on the basis of: ‘If you’re hot enough.’

Real Sexism in the Car Industry

Don’t get me wrong: Sexism is a huge, unaddressed factor in the car industry - just not in advertising. The real discrimination against women takes place in part on the showroom floor and to an even greater extent in the service department. This is a matter of common experience. My inbox overflows with this, at times.

I’m not saying it’s only women being taken advantage of in these places - I’m saying there’s a range of woman who are broadly more ignorant about cars than the equivalent range of men, and this is a vulnerability that opens the door to exploitation in ethically ambivalent environments.

Until car companies close the gap between their real behaviour operationally and the squeaky clean depictions in their marketing, they are effectively throwing customers under the bus - both men and women.

 This ad actually works really well ... for the service department

This ad actually works really well ... for the service department

It’s the disconnect between these two pictures that causes all the angst. The women who get run over in this way often feel victimised on the basis of their gender - because I’m sure it’s more palatable to bleat about that than the fact it was ignorance that led to vulnerability and exploitation.  

To imply perhaps that there is a battle being fought in the war of the sexes on the stage of automotive marketing is simply not seeing the forest for the trees.  

Holden’s marketing dude, Mr Harland, in my view, needs to get out more and sniff the real world. Commercial success will remain elusive, otherwise, regardless of cracking the kooky code of advertising cleverly to chicks.

 And I simply had to include this. Simply because one (presumably) clever chick with a spray can proved cleverer than a dozen dipshits at an advertising agency. Bravo!

And I simply had to include this. Simply because one (presumably) clever chick with a spray can proved cleverer than a dozen dipshits at an advertising agency. Bravo!

Conclusion

There’s a word for men and women who need a new car: People. They’re people, you marketing dipshits. Explain the benefits, be clever, and then treat those people properly - you know - with respect, maybe even make them feel special. How frigging hard is it? (In the case of organisations like Holden, Ford and Volkswagen, very.)

And finally, if you are offended by any car ad, perhaps you should grab your smartphone and locate the nearest Subway. For you, I recommend the new 12-inch concrete sub - three parts aggregate, two parts sand and one part cement, on a freshly baked 12-inch bread roll.

Because you really need to harden up. If an advertisement is what offends you, your life must be perfecto. And remember that your right to be offended is ingrained in the freedom of speech, which gives others, like me, perhaps, the right to offend you. I hope I have been successful on this occasion.

Frankly, I blame Germaine Greer for society’s shit filter being so ridiculously clogged up today. Leave a comment below, and let me know what you think.

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