EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

November 10, 2011 -

A web ad for EB Games Australia is being called sexist, with one game developer calling it "massive step backward" because it enforces stereotypes about men, women and games. The online ad, "A Man's Guide to Trading" shows a man being nagged by a woman outside of an EB Games store about spending money. After she leaves he goes in and the clerk suggests that instead of spending cash he should trade in some games. He does just that and then uses the money he saved to buy the woman a fancy dinner. The ad ends with the woman dusting while the man plays Arkham City.

Some are suggesting that the ad comes to the conclusion that "women don't like games."

Game developer Rebecca Fernandez said the ad was a "massive step backward in the stereotypes of both men and women," adding that "the single worst part of the ad was at the end when the guy is playing games and his wife is dusting around him like some sort of terrible advertisement from the fifties."

Fernandez said that an unfortunate perception remained that core gamers were male and women were only interested in casual video games.

Some have taken EB Games to task via their Twitter account, calling the ad sexist and saying that it alienates female customers. EB Games countered by saying that the ad is a "light hearted joke" and promises that a female-oriented companion ad is in the works and on the way. They also pointed out that the ad was written by a woman and was not intended to offend anyone.

You can watch it to your left and judge for yourselves.

Source: Illawarra Mercury

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Comments

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Personally, I think of this as payback for those stupid 'Oven Pride' adverts we had a while back which claimed that cleaning ovens with Oven Pride was 'So easy, even a man could do it', and "Let Oven Pride do its thing so he can do more".

That wasn't deemed sexist by the Advertising Standards Authority.

“How can one not be fond of something that the Daily Mail despises?” ― Stephen Fry

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

The ad is unimaginative, unfunny, exhibits poor stereotypes regarding both males and females, and overall has no positive qualities. But I think those claiming it's sexist may need to investigate what sexism actually is.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Then so is that Mcrib ad since it says that men aren't allowed to be excited about anything.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Am I allowed to whine about how most fairy tales involve a sword-wielding hero that saves a damsel in distress who waits for the dude to do all the dirty work?

Can I whine about how guys only like going out to dinner when it involves BBQ, beer and a widescreen T.V. with the football game playing?

We're so sorry you're offe--no, I take that back. Continue being offended, by all means. Show the world that you haven't grown a pair yet by whining about gender stereotypes in a -commercial-. Not a movie, a sitcom, or a soap opera- but a commercial.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

mmm.. I smell derailment.... "it was just a joke!", "lighten up!", "you are just easily offended!"

I think when it comes down to it, you either get it or you do not... but attacking the people who are unhappy with the video just makes one look like an ass, well, except to others who are scared of having their 'fun' taken away from them,...

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Don't think the video's funny?  That's cool.  Humor's subjective after all.

Not realizing the video's a joke.  Um, wake up.

Calling the ad a "massive step backward in the stereotypes of both men and women"?  Now that's just silly.

Saying "the single worst part of the ad was at the end when the guy is playing games and his wife is dusting around him like some sort of terrible advertisement from the fifties."?  I'm not sure one could get any closer to the point and still miss it completely.

Or maybe I'm wrong and the lady who wrote the ad is simply a mysogynist who used an EB Games ad to air her sexist and decades-out-of-date views.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

It's a joke.  Lighten up.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Yes, it's a joke. But it's also highly tasteless. And if it was alone in the games industry at large, it would just be tasteless, but it's part of a pervasive gaming culture that perpetuates these kinds of stereotypes.

Also, it wasn't actually funny.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

I disagree.  It's not perpetuating stereotypes.  It's using old stereotypes to make a joke.  Nothing wrong with that.

Whether one finds it funny or not is beside the point.  Not understanding that this is simply a joke makes one appear unintelligent or at least, oversensitive.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

It's not perpetuating stereotypes.  It's using old stereotypes to make a joke.

Seriously? It's not like you can perpetuate a new stereotype; using the old stereotypes IS perpetuation -- especially since they are still widely believed.

The video suggests that:

  • Women don't play videogames
  • Wives/girlfriends don't approve of men playing videogames
  • Women prefer men to "buy them nice things"
  • Men can "buy favor" with their wives/girlfriends with "gifts"
  • Women say nothing of value and can be tuned out
  • Women are responsible for cooking and cleaning

Not to mention the unfavorable way it portrays men as unable to communicate, and actively manipulated their partners to get their way.

This wasn't like a 1950's parody of things like "A lady's place is in the kitchen", or "I am the man of the house and men know best". This is modern, CURRENT, misogyny. And the fact that you can't identify that is actually a fairly good marker of HOW pervasive this sort of thinking is in western culture. And it's extra sad that EB/Gamestop identifies gamers as relating to this sort of drek -- partly because it's clear that they probably did reach their primary market.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

"This wasn't like a 1950's parody of things like "A lady's place is in the kitchen", or "I am the man of the house and men know best"."

Look at the title cards.  Observe the narrator's inflection.  Listen to the music.  That's exactly what this is.

It's a joke.  Not thinking it's funny is fine.  Being offended by it is silly.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

With the basic exception of the background music and the brief insertions of a narrator, everything else was completely modern. (The trumpeting noise might be vintage, but it could be easily swapped for other blah-blah sound effects.)

This video doesn't depend on that 1950s styling, it merely borrows a few minor aspects. The characters are dressed modernly, the animation and illustration styles are modern, the dialog is modern, the sets are modern and the whole thing is in color. The retro elements are irrelevant to the whole. If you want to parody that sort of thing, the general approach is to go overboard, not to subtle about it.

And again, if this was an outlier I wouldn't care; but this isn't the first time GameStop/EB has used offensive stereotypes, and it's something that is fairly common in the industry at large. Things like 'boob physics', most female character design, and the kind of games that are targeted at 'girls' (like Ubisoft's awful Imagine games); any one problem could be overlooked as stupidity but as a whole it becomes a much more looming problem.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

"...everything else was completely modern."

Well, of course.  It's about trading in video games for store credit at a video game specialty store to buy more video games.  That's a modern concept.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

The idea of trading a product for another product is not a modern concept. The item in question may have been videogames, but it was not core to what was being sold. It could have been movies, electronics, books, tools -- it's interchangeable.

Don't forget, parody is supposed to make some sort of remark on the original material; this was faithful to old stereotypes. No satire, no jokes, just sexism.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

"The item in question may have been videogames, but it was not core to what was being sold."

Yes it is.  It's an EB Games ad.

"Don't forget, parody is supposed to make some sort of remark on the original material..."

It can but it doesn't have to.

I'll say it again:  It's a joke.  If you don't find it funny, that's fine.  If you're offended, you're being silly.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Yes it is.  It's an EB Games ad.

Watch it again; try imaging that instead of wanting to buy a new game, he wants to buy a new tool. Then he's offered a deal to trade in three used tools for one new one. Still saves the money, still takes her for dinner, then she cleans around him while he uses his new acquisition. If this is lost on you, then you ought to spend some time reading about marketing basics -- the product here is irrelevant to the pitch. Any store selling a non-consumable item could use this exact same pitch.

It can but it doesn't have to.

Most definitions of parody DO require it. Look it up; wikipedia even has a decent article on it. No, parody does not literally require you to be satirical, but common use of the word expects it. This is probably better referred to as an homage (with the baggage that the word then implies).

If you're offended, you're being silly.

Seriously? I'm not telling you that you have to be offended by this. I am telling you that this material IS offensive, and is part of a much bigger problem; one that reflects terribly on gamers.  Just because you aren't offended by this does not mean that it is not offensive.

I'd love to share your mindset and live in a world where misogyny in the media is assumed to be parody by default, because sexism is considered extinct and silly in practice, but it is in fact still a problem. Telling people that they are being silly for being bothered by stereotypes that denigrate half of the population IS part of the problem.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

1. I'm not arguing that bartering is a modern concept.  I'm saying video games are and that's why the ad takes place in modern times.

2. From Merriam-Webster's definition of "parody":
 
1: a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule
2: a feeble or ridiculous imitation
 
But hey, whatever.  Call it a parody, homage, spoof, send-up, takeoff, or whatever you like.
 
3. And I'm not telling you you can't be offended by this.  But being offended by an obvious joke is still silly.
 
 
Andrew Eisen

 

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

It's an advert about trading in games.  How can games NOT be 'core' to selling the concept of trading in games?

"No satire, no jokes"?  Did we even watch the same commercial?

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

This wasn't like a 1950's parody of things like "A lady's place is in the kitchen", or "I am the man of the house and men know best".

 

Funny thing, perception.  Because I thought that's EXACTLY what it was.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

When was the last time you saw a woman DUSTING?

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Oh I dunno, in a rerun on 1950's sitcoms maybe?

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Well put.  10 internet points.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

I agree... this is incredibly sexist. Clearly not all women have black hair or wear blue shirts... they can wear whatever colors they want!

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

XD reminds me of Peanuts when the invisible grownups talk haha.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

So they are super sensitive about everything in Australia as well.  Good to know.  This commercial is not sexist at all.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

At what point did you think it was not sexist? The part where the woman goes to the grocery store after nagging "Charlie Brown" style to him? By buying an expensive dinner for his wife because all women love expensive things and love to have money spent on them? That all women do is work around the house? If you didn't find this at least tasteless, the 50s are waiting for you.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

At which point was it not sexist...hmm..the entire thing and here is why:

1.  I saw that exact scenario in front of the Gamestop near my job during my lunch break.  If it wasn't video games couples get into it about everything and yes we do tune out the nagging.

2.  A woman can clean the house if she wants to while a guy is playing video games.  It's happened in my old relationships, it happens in current ones now.  Dusting the house does NOT equal sexist.

Being fiscally responsible by trading old games for new games then taking the money he would have spent and put it towards the woman which in turn made her happy.  Wait....is that the sexist part?  A relationship that contains compromise?  Yea dude..thats completely sexist.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

"By buying an expensive dinner for his wife because all women love expensive things and love to have money spent on them?"

How is that sexist?  I'm a guy and I love expensive things and having money spent on me.  To prove how not sexist it is you can buy me an iPad.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

Right so your saying women never nag guys.

I think you need to calm down. The ad was not sexist at all. Its a joke that has been used on almost every tv show that has a married couple. Also if the joke was turned around would this even be on here. Like they said a ad for women is in the works, If so what would you say about that.

I guess your going to tell me men holding the door for women is sexist as well.

Re: EB Games Australian Web Ad Called Sexist

I bet finaleve doesn't see the man paying for dinner as sexist either.  Why does the man automatically have to foot the bill?  Show how "un-sexist" you are and take me to a fancy dinner.  Oh yea, I'm not a cheap date either so be prepared to spend.

 
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