A THOUGHT on Sexism in the Pre-Show

At the theater I usually go to there is a lame pre-show advertising loop that I have seen so many times now, I can do the marketing for them: the Chinese food place has good-luck coins available on request. The Music Store has been family owned and operated since the 1970s. The Auto Mall will give you a free lift to the theater while your car is in the shop (I always go to the movies when my car is in the shop for a couple of hours, don’t you?). Then there’s this: the Broadstone Marketplace will solve all your problems this Valentine’s Day! They’ll give you a handy list of what to buy your significant other!

Yes, I know it’s way past Valentine’s Day and you know this too, but the movie-ad guy is a little slow, so this ad is up there killing me every time it goes by.

Here’s the offensive part. A list comes up. It has two sides: FOR HIM and FOR HER.

You know where I’m going with this, but humor me and we’ll all feel better.

The FOR HIM list is a list of ten or twelve restaurants. Ribs. Steaks. Wings. Every delicious thing you can imagine.

The FOR HER list goes like this: European Waxing, Jenny Craig Weight Loss, Dental Implants, Optometry, Fitness Club, Hair Care, Spa.

Are you kidding me: Optometry? Now there’s a romantic Valentine’s Day gift.

But never mind that. The point is that the women are supposed to feel blessed if they are given a gift certificate to an establishment that exists to let them know they aren’t perfect, that they need to do better, while the men get to eat steaks.

Women are supposed to feel good about being deprived, poked, prodded, waxed. They aren’t actually supposed to enjoy eating food. In fact, one gets the idea the woman will have her face threaded and the hair torn off her legs and will then sit and gaze lovingly at her man while he he-mans that 12-ounce sirloin down his throat and grunts at her to pass the salt, Baby.

I personally know men who think this sort of thing is funny and that women who are offended are just too touchy, but there is a word for this sort of nonsense: EVIL.

No girl, no woman, should ever believe that her goal in life is to try harder and ever harder to make herself more and more physically attractive so that a man will want her. No girl or woman should think that to be a woman is to be deprived. No woman should ever feel that she must subject herself to painful procedures in order to be desired. Or to feel that in order to be beautiful, she must live a hungry life, that she should not allow her real self—her ordinary self—to be seen and known.

That a human being designed the ad in question, listed the items on it without having his conscience bleed all over his brain, is beyond understanding. This in California, America 2011.

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