If you’ve watched any test cricket over the past month, you will likely have seen the Vodafone Cricket Live ads in which various men are shown surreptitiously watching cricket in their Vodafone VBook.
These ads make me really, really cranky. Here’s why.
For those who haven’t seen the ad, the VBook “looks like a regular book, but with a secret compartment for your phone”. It’s designed to allow chaps to “get away with” watching the cricket while pretending to read books about wedding planning or lawnmower maintenance in the presence of their wife/girlfriend/fiancée. The implication is: my significant lady won’t “let” me watch the cricket so I hide it by pretending to do something will let me do, like care about our wedding plans or fix things around the house.
I’m not laying all of this at Vodafone’s feet, because they’re not alone in perpetuating this kind of sexist stereotyping (hello beer ads), but they’ve made my miss list this week because, as I see it, the commercials are suggesting that:
- Women don’t watch sport. They disapprove of the fact that men do. Women see watching sport as a waste of time.
- Women want men to care about ‘girly’ things like planning a wedding.
- When they’re not caring about girly things, women want men to be doing useful things around the house. All those things they’ve been nagging about for months. Because women are nags who are incapable of fixing leaky taps themselves.
- Men have to hide and lie about doing what they really want to do. Otherwise they’ll get in trouble (by implication, if they’re in trouble, they won’t get sex).
Seriously, Vodafone, it’s Twenty-fucking-Thirteen.
Firstly, women watch sport. My all-girl household has Foxtel exclusively for the AFL and the Rugby. I have spent at least 5 full days this summer in front of the cricket*. The number of camera shots we get during the test of girls bending over (seriously, there was a 5-second upskirt on Day 1 at the SCG) or wearing tiny tank tops would seem to suggest that quite a few women even go to the cricket**. Presumably they don’t go just to get their bits broadcast to the nation. Even if you’re a person who hates sport, are you really going to begrudge your partner watching it if it makes them happy?
Secondly, more significantly, is this really where we are in terms of how we see male-female relationships in this country? Women nag and men lie so they don’t get in ‘trouble’ for engaging in a perfectly legitimate pastime? Surely this kind of douchey gender stereotyping belongs back in the 1980s?
What do you think? Are you a female sport lover? Or do you hate it when your partner spends all of Saturday in front of the footy? Does this type of advertising actually represent you? Or anyone you know?
*incidentally, one of those days was spent with a male friend of mine who is currently enthusiastically involved in planning his wedding.
**I’m not even going to go there on the fact that the Southern Stars, our women’s cricket team, is widely considered the best in the world.