Martha’s At It Again

Remember Martha Burk, the chairwoman of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, and the champion of the Let-Women-Into-Augusta campaign? Well it looks like she’s got a new bee in her bonnet: a new ad for the NHL’s comeback season.
According to espn.com:
“The spot opens with a quote from Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu: ‘A clever warrior is one who not only wins, but excels at winning with ease.’ A bare-chested player sits on a wooden bench in the glow of a candlelit room with a backbeat of drums and rattling sabers. He is approached by a woman in a bra and gauzy robe, who touches his shoulders, asks ‘Ready?’ and helps him put on his shoulder pads and jersey. She says ‘It’s time,’ and he heads to the ice to the cheers of a man and young boy in the stands. The ad ends with “My NHL, coming 10.05.”
Burk claims this ad is sexist and sent “letters of protest to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics” before the ad debuted this week. She was quoted as saying, “The woman is a sexual ornament, in my view…It’s appealing to adult men while trying to masquerade as something for kids. That’s deeply offensive to me. As a mother of two sons, they see enough sex and violence anyway. Why put it in warrior terms? That’s offensive, let alone the sexism.”
The NHL claims the ad is “very respectful of women [because] the woman is a spiritual and physical trainer for the warrior, and his mentor.”
Who do you believe? Offended? Not so much?

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3 Comments

  1. elfy
    Posted September 29, 2005 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen this particular ad, but considering how all the other ads seem to be based on concept of misleading the viewer and then doing a quick turnaround, I personally wouldn’t worry – they have another ad which parodies a horror flick – a woman is watched by a guy in a hockey mask, a la Jason. At the end, she turns and sees him in the doorway, gasps, and then we see him, too, and he wears the whole goalie getup, not just the mask, and the woman says something like, “Hey, cool, it’s back!”
    My guess is that in the offender ad, they were trying to parody some romantic movie a la “Last Samurai” or something like that… Then NHL panicked and came up with the “spiritual mentor” crap. HA! Right.
    Context is important, peeps.
    If I were Burk, I’d protest the “flag girls” bimbos in the Nascar and other such crap – there, women truly are used as ornaments.

  2. Posted September 29, 2005 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm..sounds like someone went to the Monday Night Football School of advertising. What a load of crap. His mentor? Then let’s see her make him drop and do 50 one-handed. That makes a great warrior.

  3. Roving Thundercloud
    Posted September 29, 2005 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I agree with elfy’s last remark – why not focus instead on the fact that some teams now have “ice girls,” and the popular Jumbotron habit of zeroing in on the “dishier” fans in the stands–both emphasize the idea that a woman at a hockey game has only one use (eye candy).
    But I’m more in tune with Roni’s comment–oh right, a chick in a nightgown is his mentor. At what?
    Frankly, I’m not convinced that the “twist ending” type ad really “combats” the image it supposedly satires. Watching a mass murderer stalk a woman is compelling, yes? Oh, but we were just kidding. Get it?
    It’s just another LAME example of selling the game not as it is, but as advertisers think we want it to be.

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