My issue with AllState’s ‘Mayhem’ commercials

As I was watching tv the other night I saw all state’s newest commercial in their ‘protect yourself from mayhem’ series.  You know the sketchy guy in the suit who breaks a tree branch on your car, and is a teenage girl so distraught from a txt message that she crashes her car?  Right, well the one I saw left me speechless.  It was the same guy, in his suit but with pink handweights and a pink sweatband ‘jogging’ down the street.  A teenage guy is driving down the street and sees the ‘mayhem’ guy(who is supposed to be an attractive woman, he even mentions his perfect 10 figure) and is so distracted by oggling this female that he crashes his car into a lightpost.  Which causes the mayhem guy to say “protect yourself from mayhem like me”.  I nearly lost it.  I will disregard that teenage boys have the highest insurance rates, which I doubt can be attributed to thousands of jogging females.  I will also disregard that the handweights and sweatband were pink, get it because girls only wear pink?cleverright?

Here are my 2 big issues: the implication that slobbering over a woman from your car is generally acceptable, and that the woman is in fact the bringer of the mayhem.  This commercial says any woman jogging, or walking, or simply existing on any sidewalk in America is fair game to be sexualized, and rarely does that sexualization remain silent, it is usually accompanied by street harassment yelled from a passing car.  I personally jog about 2miles every morning and there are streets I will not jog on because I know someone is going to honk or catcall and at 8 in the morning that’s not something I want to deal with.  But this commercial is saying go ahead young men(any men really) stare, stare at her until your basic motor functions are compromised.  And then blame her.

She is the mayhem, she is the reason you crashed your car into a lightpole.  She made you do it, she made you crazy.  Does that sound like abuser logic to anyone else?  Why do you make me hit you, sounds a lot like, why did you make me crash the car?  Presumably if the ‘woman’ had not been so carelessly jogging along the sidewalk this young man would never have been distracted and would have been able to compotently drive his car.  But the message here is one we have heard before(in rape cases), men cannot biologically control their impulses when it comes to sexuality and women.

The solution is clear to me: women pose such a serious risk to male drivers that we can no longer be allowed to jog outdoors.  This is for the good of the nation, we simply cannot expect men to remain in control of their functions while we prance around the neighborhood.  America is counting on us.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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