In light of the YouTube responses to LAMPlatoon’s broken Dr. Pepper Ten commercial, this timely article, and my endless love affair with this Audre Lorde essay, this week’s post is about the importance of speaking out and the meaning of its repercussions. One of the most vital pieces to media literacy is activism: using your voice to reconstruct and redirect media conversations that otherwise perpetuate stereotypes. LAMPlatoon is one of too few spaces that work to give voice to media consumers; many of whom have few outlets to respond the media they consume and media producers.
The intention of LAMPlatoon’s Dr. Pepper Ten broken commercial is to get media consumers engaged with the dialogue around stereotypical scripts presented in the ad. Within the comments I read, again and again, people’s refusal to identify this campaign as sexist which, to me, seems to be the most overt thing about it (note: “not for women”). While some of the YouTube comments themselves are outright sexist (as JusXcore writes, “Lamplatoon is obvious full of women/idiot men”), there’s a consistent abstractness in the comments around sexism that people interpret as a lack thereof:
via Shift8YawnsShift8: “There’s adverts for tampons all the time which are targeted just at women, and nobody kicks up a fuss then.”
via poline9999: “If the target market is for men, then they successfully accomplished that. I don’t see why it has to be targeted for women too? I don’t see any straighteners marketed towards men?… OUTRAGE WHY SHOULDN’T IT BE, MEN HAVE HAIR TOO.”
via rstuckmaier: “As a guy with an IQ higher than 7 I actually understand that this is satire. I like Dr Pepper 10, my girlfriend likes Dr Pepper 10. I even joked when she took a drink of mine that she wasn’t allowed to drink it because she didn’t have a penis. Do you know what she did? She laughed like a normal person. Anti-sexism is the worst kind of sexism.”
The thing is, they’re missing the point (to which this could give them some perspective). These responses recycle the same types of language found within these scripts in an effort to excuse and deny their discriminatory effects. The idea that men and women are two essentially different, homogenous groups is eternally problematic. I wish I could say this was an outdated conversation but it seems to come up again and again, everywhere.
As with any critical dialogue, there are those voices who are vehemently resistant and those who are critically engaged. While there’s a pretty clear line between the two, they’re both significant because the resistance to the critical dialogues presented by LAMPlatoon reminds us of the need for them in the first place. Resistance like this shows us that the work is cut out for us — change is a long bumpy road, or maybe an endless cul-de-sac, and your neighbors will never hear your voice unless you knock on their door and get talking. And not all of them will feel comfortable with what you have to say.