Dr. Pepper’s Sexism: It’s Not (JUST) For Women

Ever since the Dr. Pepper 10 commercial aired, it has met criticism from the blogging world. Many people have felt so passionate about this subject that they have taken to their keyboards and written letters and posts of disgust and outrage to James Trebilcock and the Dr. Pepper 10 marketing team.

One of the most powerful responses to this campaign I found while researching more on this topic comes from a non-profit organization called The LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project). You can read the open letter to James Trebilcock here but I will highlight some of the major points the author, Emily Breitkopf, raises in her arguement:

“The campaign is overtly sexist, homogenizing women’s identities into the most stereotypical gender role possible and actively discriminating against it. There’s no denying this.”

This is the overall topic/issue that drew me towards writing this blog. The message that this campaign promotes is ‘in-your-face’ sexist. And while initially I planned on focusing on how discriminating this ad is towards women, Breitkopf raises a valid new viewpoint on the reach of this ad’s sexism. This campaign is overtly sexist towards women and their gender stereotypes, true, but it also works on a deeper level to infer what a “manly-man” should/shouldn’t be:

“In both your commercial and your Facebook app, I read the following phrases: ‘What, are you a woman?’ ‘Lose your skirt and step your game up,’ ‘You’ve got 23 seconds to take out all the girly stuff,’ ‘If it’s girly, shoot it’ and ‘This shooting gallery is no place for a woman like you.'”

These messages the campaign are promoting are both damaging and influential towards the men and young boys that are receiving them either through the commercial itself or in the various activities on the soda’s “men-only” Facebook page. It instills in them the alleged attributes, traits, and characteristics that make up a man and define one’s masculinity and men who do not match this criteria are left feeling less masculine. By promoting the ideas of what characteristics make up each gender, those who don’t meet all of the stereotyped gender traits are left feeling inadequate and are often harassed by others (an issue I will discuss further in a later blog post).

Ultimately, this campaign is sexist to both genders in different ways – promoting and projecting gender stereotypes to both men and women reduces our society into two distinct groups and gender roles and those that don’t fall into these two categories are left feeling ostracized and oppressed.

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7 thoughts on “Dr. Pepper’s Sexism: It’s Not (JUST) For Women

  1. Wow, I had only seen the commercial and honestly didn’t think it was that big a deal, but that facebook app is pretty outrageous. We always learn about how important market segmentation is, but I think you’re right, these guys took it a step too far.

  2. I never knew about any of this. I definitely take offense towards the app. I’m so glad you brought up this issue because I believe that we should be sending a message of equality towards society. With messages being pushed on us like this it’s no wonder why some women grow up not feeling as strong.

  3. I’ll have to admit, I’ve never heard of Dr. Pepper Ten. Which is probably a good thing because all it’s promotions are ridiculous… “If it’s girly, shoot it”, honestly that’s just embarrassing for the guys actually playing that game! And as if guys would actually feel better about drinking diet soda because of these ads. phfff. No way.

  4. Thanks so much for writing about Emily’s post! As you can tell, we were outraged when we saw this commercial, and especially the Facebook app that goes with it. One thing we find interesting is that the ‘broken’ version we made for this ad, which we put up YouTube, has 7 pages of comments from users saying we’re overreacting and “it’s just a commercial.” Check it out: http://youtu.be/Qjcas79lqRQ

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