I was driving down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and had to circle the block for a second look at this bus bench poster. What the hell? This is just wrong on too many levels to believe, but the most glaring offense is the negative message it sends about African women.
At first glance, the guy in the middle seems dressed for a safari, and the immediate assumption is these two men are his tour guides. However, closer inspection shows they are all holding golf clubs, which is a subtle way of lifting the African men into a higher economic class. These two men in loincloths would then represent guides of a different kind — cultural guides, so to speak, who are possibly educated and definitely worldly and sophisticated enough to be golfing with the white dude.
The wording of the ad doesn’t specify women of any race, and it is disrespectful to all women, but the African man on the left is the one dishing out relationship advice and that tells the observer that this man is speaking on what he knows from his own experience and culture, which would imply that he is speaking about the African woman. His message: The only way to deal with her is to recognize she’s basically an animal that must be approached with caution. The white dude finds this amusing.
We already are bombarded with misogynistic and demeaning messages in music, television and film. The last thing we need to see is a bus bench lesson on how black women are not human.
It is said that controversy sells, and drawing more attention to an ad like this might be what the company intends. But I’m thinking a national boycott of this brand might be just the economic smackdown needed to prevent this kind of blatant disrespect from happening in the future.
If you have an opinion you’d like to share with the company, Dos Equis can be reached at 877-522-5001, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would be great if the calls and emails came from both women and men.
–by Kathleen Cross for rollingout.com