Ads That Really Suck

This advertisement (larger image with full text) for appeared in the August issue of the Linux Journal.
Let’s tick off the most offensive points. The misogyny is obvious, since the ad treats women explicitly and entirely like sexual objects. The themes of objectification and comparing women to machines continue throughout the smaller print with lines like “We’ve all known disappointment. And few things are more disappointing than undependable, expensive servers that don’t satisfy your needs.” Ah yes, it’s hard not to agree– it’s really frustrating when either uppity bitches or online servers won’t do whatever you say.
That’s the second problem. Not only are women nothing but sexual objects, but the print also implies that, like technology, women also sometimes fail to act “properly.” I think that we can all agree that there are certain standards we hold for how we want and expect our computers to behave. Apparently, QSOL has similarly rigid standards for women. The word “won’t” in the sentence “won’t go down on you” implies that, for some reason, the woman should go down on you.
Of course, the ad isn’t simply offensive to the broad (pun not intended) demographic of women; it’s also directly insulting its audience. It plays off of a stereotype that everyone knows– haha, guys who like computers are nerds, and nerds don’t get any sex– and yet whoever wrote it somehow forgot that it’s a negative stereotype about the company’s own customers. Making an even bigger mess, the ad is excruciatingly heterosexist with its “wink wink, you know what we mean, guys” attitude. Who, after all, decided that “nerds” are always straight? That’s not even mentioning how the ad completely ignores the fact that– horror!– some women like computers, too. Yes, I do think that the technology-savvy crowd is probably a mostly straight male demographic, but does that give a company the right to completely erase the existence of its other customers? Since they obviously didn’t care much about how their male customers felt, did QSOL ever consider what its female customers might think about the company’s apparent view of them? I’m betting not.
Lastly, as all clever sexist advertising does, QSOL assumes that its customers are “in” on the joke. It doesn’t entertain the possibility that maybe, just maybe, all men aren’t assholes who spend every available moment running around trying to find random women to give them blow jobs. As a result, the ad acts not only as an example of sexism, it also encourages, normalizes and perpetuates the sexist hierarchy. Hey, it’s all fun and games, just a joke, lighten up– and it’s just us guys talking here, anyway.
Sure puts a bad taste in my mouth.

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