What in Assvertising Hell Is This?

[Content Note: Misogyny; sexuality policing; stalking; heterocentrism.]

This is a new ad from Old Spice, which is getting all kinds of media attention at the moment, featuring a series of moms who are "hilariously" lamenting their sons becoming men by wearing Old Spice:

Video Description: A young thin white man stands shirtless in his bedroom applying Old Spice body spray. Tinkly piano music. As he walks out of his bedroom and closes the door behind him, his in-betweenie white middle-aged mom is revealed hiding behind the door. She sings, "Oh I didn't see it coming / But it came in a can." Cut to the young man strolling in a park under an umbrella with a young thin white woman. His mother emerges from the bushes. "Now my sweet son's sprayed into a man."

Cut to another young thin white couple driving down the highway in a red convertible. His in-betweenie white middle-aged mother is clinging to the rear bumper while riding in a laundry basket. She sings, "Mine, too, and hey we know just who to blame..."

Cut to another young thin white couple eating lunch together in a cafeteria. His in-betweenie white middle-aged mom pops up between them. A janitor sweeping nearby turns around, revealing another white middle-aged mom, spying on her son. A chorus of moms sings, "...when our sons have fun with women and misbehave."

Cut to a black middle-aged mom poking her head out of the sand on a beach where her young thin black son is lying on a blanket with his young thin black girlfriend. The mom sings, "Old Spice made a man of my son..." The couple stroll down the beach and she follows them, burrowing through the sand. Cut to another young thin white couple sitting on the beach at the edge of the water. A thin white middle-aged mom washes up on shore near them. She sings, "...now he's kissing all the women and his chores aren't done."

Cut to another young thin white couple at whom his mom is peeking through cut-outs in the living room blinds. A chorus of moms sings, "He was just my little sweetie / Tiny fingers, hands, and feeties / Now he's touching, kissing, feeling all women because OLD SPICE!"

A white mom peeks through bushes. A white mom throws a tray of cookies into the sand. A white mom's fist punches a chocolate cake. A white mom peers through a window from outside in the rain and cries. A white mom, playing a violin, falls out of the sky into a park just behind her son and his girlfriend. The first white mom slides out from under the couch cushion beside where her son is making out with his girlfriend; the mom slides on her back across the carpet and into another room and up onto another sofa where she picks up knitting.

The mom sings, "Old Spice sprayed a man of my son / Now he smells like a man / And they treat him like one." She cries. Old Spice logo etc.

I mean, look, I'm a fan of absurdery as much as anyone, but what the shit is this mess? So, Old Spice "sprays" boys into men, and what constitutes being a man is making out with girls (because only straight men are men, natch), and mothers lose their everloving fucking minds at the idea of their sons being sexually active so they have to stalk them and weep and destroy baked goods, and WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND.

Of course, I don't find anything funny about possessive, over-protective parents who meddle in and police their children's sexuality, whether it's "jokes" about fathers violently policing their daughters' sexuality or "jokes" about mothers overbearingly interfering in their sons' relationships, because, as we all know, I'm the Most Humorless Feminist in all of Nofunnington. So it's no surprise that my ribs aren't tickled by adding a kooky song and some weird graphics to what is essentially a narrative about how women's entire identity is wrapped up in children so mothers of sons lose their shit when their boys turn into men and REPLACE THEIR MOTHERS WITH GIRLS TO HAVE ALL THE SEX WITH.

Oh, I know. It's only a commercial. It's just good fun! Except for how the normalization of this sort of sexuality policing, the wide cultural acceptance of parents having an unhealthy investment in their children's relationship and sex choices, causes harm to lots and lots of people. Yuk yuk.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus