Sex May Sell, But Sexual Harassment Doesn't

vie Feministing

I know that people say that sex sells, which is why it’s used to get people to buy everything from TVs to cars to appliances and tools. But it really shouldn’t be that hard to understand the difference between using sex to sell and using sexual harassment.

This video clip is a commercial for the Home Product Labeling Act, which is supposed to require that packaging for cleaning ingredients and such include info about what’s inside them. Now, at a first glance, I’m in favor of that. We’re exposed to all sorts of chemicals and I think it makes sense that manufacturers should tell us what’s in their products.

I also suspect that the intention of this ad is to use viewers disgust with sexual harassment to try to foster a similar reaction towards chemical residues. At least, I’m willing to believe that that was their intention. But I think they really just failed. It would have been much more effective and much less offensive if, for example, the woman had told them to leave her alone and rinsed them down the drain. Or use some sort of product to get rid of them. Or walk away. Or anything else other than submit to their harassment.

Ultimately, that’s what bothers me about this ad. They could have shown a strong, confident woman who wouldn’t allow herself to be harassed. That would have made this a really positive statement about sexual harassment AND their campaign. Instead, they made her submit to the catcalls and jeers.

By not challenging sexual harassment and by not using this opportunity to take a stand against it, these folks get a big FAIL from me. And that’s too bad because I think they’re probably trying to do something good in the world.

Check out the video and let us hear what you think. (And be warned that some folks might find it triggering.)

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