Gender, Race & Sexism: Shaping Youth Through Pop Culture Cues

cyborg-heineken.jpg“Women like silent men. They think they’re listening,” said Marcel Achard. (circa 1956)

And evidently, men like silent women who can bring them a brewski, (circa 2007) per this Ad Age article of 21st century Heineken backwash that makes the Stepford Wives look progressive. (Yes, today we’re kicking off our week long series on stereotypes, race, and cultural cues!)

This new “hot bot” futuristic cyborg is a solid example of misogyny walking a sliver-thin tightrope with sexist tripe. I don’t know what planet they’re on, but it’s not only alien, it’s alienating. Talk about a gender offender…

I sure don’t want MY daughter perceived as a human coaster or a lap to rest a beer upon, much less have a mini-keg spring from her womb in servile cyborg style like this opportunistic objectification. Women positioned as “futuristic beer delivery systems?”

Gee, yeah, let’s have this dancing darling gyrate to the pulsing beat of bump-n-grind cybernetic technophonics for man’s pleasure, then open her uterus to pop a cold one. No, they’re not ‘targeting’ kids, but they’re getting splashed in the backwash of behavioral messaging.

Figure for every teen swigging alcopops and energy drinks in wannabe style, there’s another buying into the beer-n-babes positioning, taking cues from this Heineken ‘hiney’ messaging on how to treat, view and ogle females.

This is NOT doing us any sociological favors, gang. (as it is, fall football season’s upon us; always a time for girls’ humiliation and self-image sinking from lowlife ambient ads) Why do you think I titled MY chapter in The Age of Conversation book, “Mommy, why is that lady licking a beer bottle? Ethics & accountability in advertising” Ugh.

Thankfully, Bob Garfield’s AdReview column slammed the ad with ZERO stars too; but you never know in this industry. Half the time AdRants calls this kind of stuff ‘brilliant,’ and even in commentary here they ponder if girls don’t “inadvertently buy into the girls as boy toy/keg stand play thing” bit.

Ah, the blame game…yesirreee, bobtail, those messages just happen in a media vacuum, right folks? Let’s ping The ManRoom, and have them weigh in here just for fun…Hey, why not, I’m a brazen lass.

Garfield pithily likened the ad to an animated version of the misogynistic joke, “the perfect woman: a mute nymphomaniac whose father owns a brewery.”

He says, “…this is almost a perfect punch line, at least in the crystalline purity with which it reduces women to sex objects with no redeeming quality save their capacity to keep your mug overflowing.”

At the end, he sums, “they’ve reduced half the world to a man-servicing beer tap. That isn’t futuristic. It’s retrograde. And when women see what Heineken is up to, it won’t be a robot that needs repaired.” You tell ‘em Bob. Woohoo!

Be prepared to hear from many, many girls and women who find their “bowels in an uproar” over this.

In fact, I think I’ll forward this to Dads and Daughters’ Joe Kelly right now. And I’ll hope About-Face adds it to their site’s hall of shame for toxic messaging, or at least writes about it in their new blog.

“Cheers,” colleagues…A toast to smarter thinking…This one’s on me.

p.s. As an aside, here’s a witty review of how ‘Stepford’ became an adjective in our pop culture lexicon…



  1. I think Bob Garfield and you are right. I agree it is sexist. What I also see when I watch it is another lousy beer ad.

  2. I wonder what Steve Hall at AdRants has to say…he must be thrilled with the fembot cyborg ad, for his ‘rant’ here is a plea to bring back the raunch in Heineken, because these demure and coquetish ladies lustily stroking their beer bottles were far too ‘elegant’ (and clothed) for his taste:


  3. Sure enough, predictably, AdRants comments on the cyborg ad in our industry trade blog:

    “Just as the Heineken DraughtKeg fembot combines beer and hottieliciousness, Bodog offers up the perfect combination of football and an entirely different form of hottieliciousness. The kind only a fantasy football obsessed guy could conjure from within.” oh, btw, he then goes on to share “Foobs”, the ultimate in fall football season objectification fantasy; breasts as pendulous footballs. argh.

    Yeah, Steve, you’re right, I don’t have a sense of humor about this crud, cause I see lots of penalties on the play here when it comes to damaging youth.

    Can’t you just take a cold shower and call it a day?

  4. Can anyone name a beer ad (including women) which does NOT objectify them into walking talking play toys?

    (There are a very few)

    I am fascinated with the female robotic beer keg ad as are my kids.

    Maybe this computer artist could design a cool lady for some kind of superhero program instead of for yet another male fantasy consumer ad.

  5. Now there’s an idea! 😉 I’ve always liked the character that plays the ‘Elasti-mom’ in The Incredibles for her ‘superhero/super power’ logic-driven charm and flexibility…

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