Reaching to the core of the stepmother experience

What Do Men and Women Want? Ask the Superbowl Ads

From locker room towel-snapping to abbreviated chick-lit for all, the Superbowl spots have, as ever, told us a story about ourselves. Read More

Wednesday: Sorry that your

Sorry that your female sensibilities were offended by the Charger advertisement.
What I find interesting, indeed hilarious, is that you and your fermale colleague on these blogs, Prudence, take offense at the Charger advertisement without a more critical examination of what the ad says about female behavior and male preception and feelings as the recipient of the behavior.
The Charger Ad pokes fun at women for being controlling--demanding that everything be thier way. You come along and suggest that even the ads at the Super Bowl should be feminized enough that a woman with the name "Wednesday" who writes "about gender" is happy with the ads. In short, you're basically suggesting/claiming that the Super Bowl ought to get feminized enough for women who are fundamentally angry at men and self centered enough that they demand everything be their way, without regard for a male "partner's" views or desires. Oh, and don't waste your time on me. I "know" that you're not being controlling, you just "always knows what's best" and, of course, women are always right, so they are not saying it should ne "their way" just the right way. As the thro pillows joke "I'm not bossy, I just always have the best ideas".

Wednesday, the theme of the demanding, controlling, somewhat emasculating woman has been around for a very long time.
Why would you imagine that the theme has survived and prospered lo these many years?
I submit the theme has survived and prospered because it is fundamentally universal and accurate.
The advertisment for Charger that reminded the viewers of the incessant demands of women that everything be their way in the home, in social circles, etc., resonated with me immensely. Indeed, I giggled because it was so spot on.
You're just sore because someone revealed the truth of a major female flaw: controlling demands, incessant assertion of correctness, demeaning attitudes of superiority and lack of empathy, care, kindness or acceptance.
There are T shirts and pillows that ask: "If a man is alone in the Forest without his wife, is he still always wrong?" There's a bigtime reason for that stereotype and for the advertisement. That is, it is fundamentally accurate and universal.
Since you "write about gender" I'd think your time would be well spent on determining why women are so controlling, demanding and judgmental that the stereotype of them being that way has found itself into the Super Bowl. The issue and the problem is the female behavior, not the male observation of, and frustration with, it. But, I know that you're not really capable of seeing it that way. Your view is that women are always right, men are always wrong, and the only thing wrong with the world is that there are still a few "clueless men" who don't yet agree with you.

BTW, the only "non truth" in the ad is the Charger itself. A "real woman" would never "let" a man buy a Charger and, if he did, she would nag him, insult him and degrade him over the choice until he sold it. Because, women don't even think that the choice of car is an acceptable male realm. As any modern man knows, women demand that they choose the car, just like everything else. That, of course, is why muscle cars like the Charger are dead.

The ad was trying to find a few good men who have the courage to try to take back the "right" to choose the car they drive. But, we all know how that's gonna turn out. Boy, I feel sorry for the poor bast@@d who brings home that baby. He's gonna have to do a lot better than just keep the seat down, take out the garbage, pick up his underwear, clean the bathroom, go to work 80 hours a week, fix the car, the door, the dishwasher, go dress shopping, endure her furniture and decor, allow her to go to the manicurist, pedicurist, beauty salon, pay for the Botox, the mink, the jewelry, open the doors, pay for dinner, and cart aroung her lipbalm, etc., etc. My guess is that his sweet kind and caring wife/girlfriend will just be incapable of having sex with him unless and until he unloads the Charger and gets her the car she wants --after all, she's the princess and he's the POS.

So.... sounds like you worked on this project

If you just so happen to be an art director, it would be a good idea to work on your reception of critique. If you're not... then (not to butt in on this conversation or anything) I'd like to point out that she, like you, is completely entitled to her opinion. She was no where near ranting or raving in outrage against the ad. She never said that it was her expectation that advertising redirect their target to suit her individual tastes or anything of the sort. Your reaction is overkill.

Get a grip

Hey buddy you sound extremely angry.

The reason that women take over is that they have a passive-agressive lump sitting on the couch, barking out orders, and yelling about everything. Nothing gets done unless she does it.

By the way where couples help each other out, these people have the best relationships. It is like a team approach.

In most cases the husband picks out the car for both him and his wife--unless she has a very strong preference.

Get a grip.


You have issues, son. It's us men who benefit by having the women in our lives. I guess you are too angry to see that, though. And calling Wednesday out on her name is just a low blow. It's a cool name, what's your problem? Men like you give the rest of us a bad name.

I bet you have never taken out anyone's garbage, or held anybody's hand when she crossed the street, or put your arm around her when she was cold, or kissed her nose when she was smiling up at you because you made her day just by telling her how pretty her eyes were.

Loosen up and appreciate the things women give us. For crying out loud, it's a priviledge to have a woman trust me enough to know I'm there to protect and love her. And I am happy to hold her chapstick, because she is happy to hand me tools from the toolbox when I am under the sink.

I feel bad for you.

Thank you.

Just wanted to say "thank you" for this comment. It's nice to know that, despite the assholes all over the internet, there ~are~ men out there (hell, ~people~ out there!) who understand that relationships are, or should be, about people who give and take from each other in such a way that all parties find fulfillment. Your comment was a little bright spot in my day. :)

Wow--where can i find someone

Wow--where can i find someone like you? I don't feel that I need protection (except from weird men), but the rest of it sounds good.

Rev It Up!

Goodness! I am female and don't just "happen" to own a '65 V8 Mustang'. I own it because I like a car, like other things, to truly 'feel' powerful. I like pillows too but most of mine don't have any sayings on them. Also, I'd like to point out that Muscle cars have fallen away :( because the auto industry refuses to make them (like they used to) and environmentals lobby against them, not because women won't let men buy them. In equal relationships, men and women buy what they want to.
My favorite spot during the superbowl was the Doritos one with the dog putting the "bark" collar on the human. Was it secretly sponsored by PETA?
The men I was with found the Charger commerical a real downer because they're not emasculated by relationships and see doing kind things as 'manly'. Also they are confident enough in their skin and their relationships to know that they can buy and drive a powerful car AND carry their mates lip balm. Its not just women who were offended but men who think of their female counterparts as "equals" and don't need permission to express themselves.

ugh! hated that dodge charger ad

though i was sitting watching it with two men, both of whom thought it was funny--and both of whom were actually watching the football game, rather than just the ads)--and one of whom is unfortunately my husband. but i thought the gender stereotypes it joked about were stupid and totally unwitty/unsubtle. for my money, i'll take the david letterman ad.

Google ad most effective

My absolute favorite was the Google ad. It was innovative, effective and clever without oversimplifying. Rarely does a drama-oriented ad stick to the mind more than the comedic type tend to. Google has become such a powerhouse that pretty much anyone with a computer across the country could relate to this ad! It was impressive.

I'm mad as hell!

Not really. But I have to say the Dodge Charger ad was a little creepy. Those guys looked like they were about to go Columbine.

Dood, *that's* creepy - and sick!

Maybe you'd like to talk about your murder-suicidal thoughts.

Remember, denial is the first symptom...

** LOL **

Thanks for these comments. I

Thanks for these comments, some of which gave me a good laugh. I really had no idea that analyzing a couple of Superbowl ads could rile people up so: responses I consider hostile, rude, and demeaning or personal attacks have been deleted and will continue to be.
Thanks for reading--
Wednesday Martin, Ph.D.
author, Stepmonster: a New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

those misogynist ads

Ok, some of those ads were a bit misogynist, the "worst" offenders being the Dodge charger ad and the one about the poor guy shopping with his girlfriend on Super Bowl Sunday (the solution was a tiny portable tv).

But they were also funny. I laughed a lot at the part in the Dodge ad where the guy intoned, "I will watch your Vampire show with you." Let's face it: humor is often politically incorrect and a bit aggressive. That's what makes it funny. Also, humor is better aggression than, say, the hitting kind.

I say: let men have a day when they make some jokes at women's expense. Super Bowl Sunday is really American Man Day, and on their day they get to make jokes about us. We will make jokes about them on Mother's Day. I am thinking up some right now.

Back to the ads: The chicken ad totally cracked me up, along with the etrade babies.

And, I would be fine with a man buying a muscle car as long as I don't have to ride in it when he goes 90 mph. And I don't even watch Vampire shows. (I watch witch shows of course. Not really: I watch the Beverly Hillbillies on DVD.)

The best part was: Who Dat Nation won!! Now: could a town that has a great football team also possibly get some better schools, better policing and criminal justice, and maybe some levees that work? Nah...that would require investment in the public good.

I also cracked up about the

I also cracked up about the "I'll watch your vampire shows" part. Hilarious! I wanted the whole thing to be that funny, ironic, and wry. Too bad it bottomed out the way it did, that's all.

According to a report cited by, one third of the Superbowl viewers are women, and have been for a couple of decades at least.

So I think the Superbowl is another one of those cultural institutions that we "presume" is and "should be" masculine--when really lots of women are into it too. Maybe that's why some of the ads seem tone-deaf.
Thanks for reading,

You say "tone deaf"...

...I say "targeted demographic".

Very, very few women ever buy cars like they're advertising there, so the ad simply is not directed at you. Even if they were to change it to accommodate your numerous sensitivities surrounding it, you'd still not be any more likely to buy such a car -- but it might turn off or repel those who perhaps would be so inclined.

IOW, it's simply too costly to coddle you, which is why they don't bother doing it. It matters not that a third of the audience is female, it's the 70 million or so male viewers they're trying to reach.

You need to just let it go by, like I do whenever a Special K cereal ad goes by -- though that was a product I used to buy until they made it so clear through their advertising that it was meant for women only.


Martian Bachelor:
Hahahahahahaha. You really stopped buying a cereal because the advertising is geared towards women? So as a woman, should I only buy pink tools? Boycott the Carls Jr. grilled cheese? While you're at it, avoid at all costs: yogurt, chocolate, puppies, and in the name of all that is holy, never consume any drinks except for beer and whiskey. Even water is too sissy for you.

Go Saints!

I missed the Dodge Charger commercial...drats! I'll see if it's on YouTube or something.

I liked the commercial where the dog put the bark collar on the human...that was funny.

Wednesday, as always, I just love the way you write your analysis!


Charger ad

Lean rainmaker...making fun of Wednesday's name is a little like the pot calling the kettle black, don't you think? But you seem to be one of those hit and run commenters, so I don't expect a response. As for the Charger ad, like Wednesday, I thought it had great potential. But it bombed. I found the ad degrading to women, but mainly to MEN. As if men are these mindless whipped to death husbands whose only way to be set free is through a car. Come on, let's give men a lot more credit than that!

I loved the David Letterman commercial the most. I love it when people can poke fun at themselves.

Great post as usual Wednesday.

i thought the charger ad was

i thought the charger ad was spot on. i've certainly had women make me feel exactly like the men in the commercial, and i don't necessarily see the misogyny in pointing out that both genders have relatively benign trade-offs they make in order to make relationships work (men: be more sensitive than comes naturally -- women: live with more coarseness than you'd prefer).

i also note the irony in a woman complaining that an ad about women complaining isn't realistic. and it follows quite naturally that the ad you DID like happened to be about a love story in paris.

they're stereotypes because they're so often true.

stereotypes are true? I don't think so

I'm a guy who loved the google ad, so get off. Have you read Irving Goffman on stereotyping? His analysis is interesting and smart. He doesn't leave it as "stereotypes are true." You might like it.

Personally I didn't detect any complaining in this writer's analysis. Just opinionated but pretty balanced analysis. The Charger ad was kind of funny, but not didn't manage to deliver a full wallop of irony it was building up to. That's all.

Target Demographics

Wednesday Martin complains that the Dodge Charger ad is "tone deaf".

I have no knowledge of Wednesday Martin other than this blog, but somehow I doubt very much that she, and, I dare say, most readers of this blog, are most likely not in the target demographic for the product.

It's equally likely that no other advertisement for the car -- no matter how "hilarious" or entertaining it might be -- would ever lead Ms. Martin (or most readers of this blog) to consider buying a muscle car in our lifetimes.

So frankly, it probably matters very little to the product's manufacturer, advertiser, or customers that Wednesday Martin -- someone well outside the target demographic for the product -- thinks the commercial is "tone deaf".

Gender Issues

Wednesday Martin writes: "Who knew women had so much power, or that men were so resentful of it?"

I was struck by this sentence. Not because of its (presumed) sarcasm, but for how "tone deaf" (to use Ms. Martin's own words) it seems.

You say you write about gender issues, but somehow the enormous changes in masculinity and gender roles over the past five or six decades somehow comes as a surprise to you?

Yes, the Dodge Charger advertisement is definitely exaggerating these changes for effect, but presumably someone as educated and informed as you about gender would be able to correct for that.

So I'm surprised that you're surprised.

CHOE wireless charging is any

CHOE wireless charging is any of several methods of charger batteries without the use of cables or device-specific AC adaptors. Wireless charger can be used for a wide variety of devices including cell phones, laptop computers and MP3 players as well as larger objects, such as robots and electric cars.

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Wednesday Martin, Ph.D., is the author of the book Stepmonster.


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