Another day, another incidence of casual sexism in the world. This time, right smack dab in one of the busiest stations in the Washington, D.C. metro system. I’m definitely not surprised, but I suuuuuuure am tired of this kind of bullshit.
Eagle-eyed political correspondent Lucy Westcott spied this ridiculous and offensive ad for metro services , where one woman spouts off a fact and another says “Can’t we just talk about shoes?”at DC’s Metro Center station yesterday. Like any savvy feminist with a smartphone, Lucy quickly snapped a photo and put it out on Twitter blast, attracting the attention of local blog DCist:
— Lucy Westcott (@lvzwestcott) December 3, 2013
A brouhaha began, with people calling out the ad for its obvious sexism and also producing a number of smart parodies. At first, the metro system declined to comment, but then a DC Metro spokesperson told DCist:
“The point of the ad is to get people talking about Metro’s massive rebuilding effort by juxtaposing technical facts with a variety of light responses in conversation between friends.”
I believe that that’s what the planners and public relations representatives behind this stupid ad thought they were doing—Showing that you can talk about important metro issues right alongside silly lady issues like shoes. Track work + stilettos! Delays + platforms! Life is a mishmash of things and people with vaginas can talk about them all! TEE HEE.
But using the incredibly tired cultural cliche that women love shoes is such a dated advertising strategy, such a stunted throwback to the era of the blatantly-infuriating sexist world that Don Draper and his cohorts inhabited. The DC area isn’t exactly known for its creativity and innovation in advertising (or in anything other than bureaucracy, I guess), but seriously, was there not one culturally- aware person who saw this ad before it was printed and thought “Hmm. That’s a little sexist?”
Photo: Lucy Westcott