Dr. Pepper – Now even your soda can be sexist!

Today this was all over the violence prevention listservs and chatter:

That’s right… this is a blatant use of rigid gender stereotypes.This soda is tough and rugged and therefore only suitable for men. I mean, come ON! The slogan is “Dr Pepper TEN, It’s NOT for Women!” Do we really need to go into it more?

Oh wait… we do:

Apparently, Dr. Pepper is all about the rigid gender roles and reinforcing these limiting stereotypes for both men and women. These commercials send very clear messages – men are active, strong and into manly things – like action films, explosions, motorcycles, etc… anything that is NOT girly. Women are then painted as sex objects specifically to look pretty and sensual.

We’ve identified a problem, now what can we do? Several things, actually. We can talk about the pitfalls and consequence of such messages. We can write letters/emails to Dr. Pepper, to media outlets, etc.  We can refuse to buy Dr. Pepper’s product. We can also use this as an opportunity to use our media literacy skills! What a great example to help others understand the effects of sexism and stereotypes, but also to understand how the media can shape and influence our value systems.

I challenge you to try this activity. We’ll call it the Dr. Pepper TEN challenge!

Watch the videos again (if you can handle it). While you do so, ask yourself these questions (from the Media Education Foundation):

– Who paid for the media? Why?

– Who is the target audience?

– What text, images or sounds lead you to this conclusion?

– What is the literal meaning of the message?

– What is the unstated or underlying message?

– What values are being presented or expressed?

– What story is not being told?

– Is this a healthy or unhealthy media message? Why?

Are you up to the challenge?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Chad
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 19:59:44

    I love how you added the “pepsi challenge” comment. lol There’s a post on opt4.wordpress.com about this commercial and the absurdity of it. There’s a website/blog that is called something like why do you need sexism to sell your product. Now, whether you go to the blog/website or not the question is still very relevant so I’ll ask again: Why do you feel you have to use sexism to sell your product. In reality a product should stand on its own. Build value in a product, explain the awesomeness about it…but don’t throw in a few body parts or comments upon someone else’s rights in order to sell.

    It seems to me, if there is a product out there that can’t stand on it’s own merits, it’s not a decent product.

    Wait…that’s just it isn’t it? We aren’t developing decent products anymore. So in stead of upholding a standard of manufacturing, we create a standard of dehumanizing, defacing, and otherwise ridiculous attempt to make a product look good and buyable (yes, it’s a word).

    In the end, the advertising media as well as the media at large, has begin to resort to a kindergarten playground mentality which states:

    If you can’t win an argument, discredit the person. If you can’t prove your point, prove how the other person is below you.

    Is this the world we want to live in?

    I vote…change the world.
    I vote…start a revolution.
    I vote…the world starts voting with their dollars.
    I vote…we change the status quo because if we don’t, it’s already being changed for us!


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