May 6, 2008

What’s up with the new Dairy Queen commercial?

Posted in advertising, Commercial Critique, gender stereotypes, sexual politics at 10:00 am by LB

I just had to write about this.

Anyone else besides me think this new Dairy Queen commercial is pretty fucked up?

Coming from a young child: flirting with a little boy to get free stuff is “like shooting fish in a barrel.” Great. We’re back to unabashedly encouraging girls (and women) to use their femininity to take advantage of men’s apparent “natural weakness” for women. And this manipulative ability and tendency inevitably comes naturally for women–hell, a girl doesn’t even need to learn this. Hear that? It’s easy–just part of who we are, apparently. Talk about valorizing and naturalizing benevolent sexism.

How many awful, reprehensible gender stereotypes does the whole idea of this commercial reinforce?

To me, it’s flat-out anti-feminist.

Any thoughts out there?

(Cross-posted to The Reaction)



  1. watercat said,

    Stunningly, frightenly fucked up. Yes.

  2. lisa said,

    I just thought it was silly. Boys don’t even like girls at that age! They have cooties!

  3. Amelia said,

    Thank you for posting this vid! My mom called me last week I think? and told me about this (I have gotten her to be extra aware when it comes to the media). I was looking for the vid and couldn’t find it. I only had her description to go on.


  4. arkhilokhus said,

    Part of the problem with the stereotype this commercial plays on, I think, is that it tells boys and men that females are inherently manipulative and untrustworthy. It’s a short jump from there to people like David Deida, writing in a book marketed to men, saying that, well, it’s not that women are liars, really, it’s just that the female mind is so emotional that they’re just not really capable of understanding what truth is.

  5. Lee Phillips said,

    This is much more insidious than reinforcement of “gender stereotypes”. A friend of mine has organized a petition against this; he argues that it puts children at risk:

  6. […] girls and women to use their femininity to take advantage of men??s apparent ???natural weak of world&39s paintings come from one village in China – Boing BoingApr 18, 2008 … The idea […]

  7. disgusted said,

    Nice message Dairy Queen! In a world with Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the Olsen Twins as role models for our young girls, you have just reenforced that all a young girl has to do to get what she wants is bat her big blue eyes and toss her bouncy blonde hair. Feminism is official dead!

  8. Anthony Watson said,

    Oh people! as soon as soon as the very first time I seen this commercial I knew that the antis would be out in full force with their usual ‘one size fit’s all’ conclusions,anyone who really has a problem with this should read the Judith Levine book, ‘Harmful To Minors'(the perils of protecting children from sex) the commercial itself is a parody of stereotypes, of poking fun at them rather than agreeing with them, I could see this immediateley, both girls and boys take advantage of each other all the time it’s a sad fact of life, it’s also called being human, and of course it’s hardly true that all little boys of say 10 have not interest in little girls, many don’t or else they don’t admit it, growing up in a sexually repressed society such as America or Canada is largely to blame for that of course, many others do or would like to take an active interest but again as I say, the aforementioned repressed society thing, sex is no worse for kids than it is for any other age, there are risks involved with everything in life, the argument could be made that children should never be taken for a ride in a car, “just look at all the kids who have died in car accidents” would be the great and potent argument against the whole idea!

  9. lindabeth said,


    It’s not a parody–it is not an imitation, but a it’s a reiteration. And a naturalization.

    I don’t deny that children have sexuality. If you notice, my post said nothing about the sexualization of children. As a side-note, I do object to impressing adult sexuality and encourage sexualized gender stereotypes in children, which IS what this ad advocates, even though I didn’t address it in the post. I believe children have a sexuality. I don’t think we need to represent said sexuality in terms of oppressive gender stereotypes and according to patriarchal, sexist values. “Sex” and notions of “sexuality’ and cultural values and norms cannot be conflated as you seem to suggest. Please read the post again.

    This ad isn’t “boys being interested in girls” or vice-versa. It’s about our (ironically) infantile norms of sexuality and gender that position women as using sexuality to be manipulative and men as being weak enough to always give in. Women are economic users, and men are hopelessly used. And that this comes “naturally” (according to the commercial’s message) is damaging and insulting to ALL genders.

    both girls and boys take advantage of each other all the time it’s a sad fact of life, it’s also called being human.

    So we should accept bad behavior because “it’s part of life”?

    I, as most other social-justice advocates, would respectfully disagree.

    Not to mention that I think your premise is wrong: men and women do these things…children learn from us and culture to do them. And I don’t think most people are like this. In a civil and respectful society, it’s not “being human” and it’s not merely “unfortunate”. It’s being a dirtbag.

    (not to mention the heteronormativity of your statement that boys don’t express interest in girl because of “sexual repression”)

  10. Anthony Watson said,

    Again life is not a “one size fits all” situation, I was responding to many posts in general concerning this commercial and not just the posts here, if anyone here thinks I was posting mostly in response to something they said that is not so! Well I am no social justice advocate but any fool can certainly see that the exact scenario that you see in that commercial would not happen in real life! Having done some acting my self, I play in the band on stage in the Hi-C commercial that has the dancing tongue, it’s really obvious to me, everything isn’t just one thing or even mostly one thing, I know of one case for sure, it goes like this Dudes and Dudettes, Little guy I knew came to me for advice, he was just nine years old and like the little guy in the commercial he had a thing for little girls, but the other boys in school were teasing him about this, What should he do? he asked me, I told him “Oh ask them if they are gay? He tried just that and it worked, the little tormentors shut up after that, but one boy who had done the teasing came up to him later and apologized, he also admitted that he himself liked girls!

  11. lindabeth said,

    Well, typically when people post on a blog entry they read, they post with reference to the blog posting itself, so perhaps your comments might have been more applicable somewhere else.

    And you saying you are no social justice advocate says a lot. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Anthony Watson said,

    The real problem being the issues, issue one: ” When I” (said person!) “was a little boy of say nine or ten I went around punching girls in the face and saying they cooties and so on, when I grew up I might even have had little boys who acted as crude as I did, it was just much easier to imagine that all boys are just like I was than to admit I was a little NerfBall Goof and not all little boys were then, or now act just like I did!”

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