Lazy sexism in ads is almost a laughably old trope, even in a good chunk of the work being produced today—there is, quite literally, now an app for that. But, courtesy of TurboTax, here's another one to add to the pile.
As part of the site's ongoing series of ads about major life events (the kind that are reflected on, say, your tax return, you see), we now have "Did You Get Married," a spot I saw over the weekend that's been icking me out a little ever since.
The premise here doesn't seem to be much more than "Haha, women and all their dumb questions, right?" Like so: "What if our kids are really tall? Like in a gross way? Should we get really good at tennis? What is a chorizo?! Are you even listening to me? What kind of apples do we like? Do you think my elbows are weird?" The actress peppers the camera, a stand-in for her invisible boyfriend/fiance/husband, with these kinds of questions until a voiceover cuts in over a scene of what seems to be a wedding, asking, "You answered a lot of hard questions this year, so this one'll be easy: did you get married?" You can just watch the whole thing below:
Also sort of worth noting the brief, dark change in tone when she asks "Are you even listening to me," looking to be on the verge of tears. Which is a very valid way to feel, given that her husband/the viewer seems to think she's such an idiot, albeit an adorable one. It could be worse, obviously—it feels like they very intentionally avoided the "do I look fat in this" trope and swapped in the inexplicable question about her elbows—and inevitably, a solid percentage of the ads we'll see this coming Sunday will be worse. But also, this kind of thing is so easy not to do! Turn it into a couple asking each other questions about like, comical, relatable, domestic quandaries, and you're pretty much in the clear! Or even just show her asking questions that make a little bit of sense. I don't know, no need to backseat drive. This'll all be fine if we leave it to the professionals, right?
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.