If you fuckin’ with this bitch then you betta’ be paid.*

April 18th, 2010 10:03 pm by Kelly Garbato

Mars, Inc. wants you to know that a bitch is a bitch is a bitch – and, whether she be digging for gold or for bones, that bitch ain’t shit.

Mars Petfood Frolic - Pool

Mars Petfood Frolic - Hotel

Mars Petfood Frolic - Limo

What’s next, a Hartz commercial warning clean-cut, Oscar Newman-clad male dogs against tramping around with loose, low-class bitches, lest they catch fleas? Or perhaps an RNC attack ad, depicting a female puppy mill breeder intentionally popping out litter after litter, all in a self-absorbed attempt to pad her welfare check and buy that shiny pink rhinestone collar she saw on Animal Planet? Dog Almighty.

—————

In case you can’t view the images, there are three in total, each of which is based on the same concept: a stereotypically “ugly” male dog has “landed” a “hot” female mate who’s way out of his league. (Cue: every tv sitcom ever made.) The male dogs – a portly basset hound, a wrinkly bulldog, and a big, black (bull)mastiff (!) – represent the Peter Griffin to the females’ Lois; each is some combination of overweight, droopy, saggy, sloppy, out of shape, lower-class, and – in the case of the mastiff, who’s shown wooing his woman in a swanky limo – possibly a pimp or “playa.” (Perhaps we should just be thankful they didn’t use a big, black pit bull in this last scenario?)

In contrast, the females – a white Afghan hound, a white poodle, and a shiny-haired King Charles spaniel, respectively – are refined, trim, and well-groomed, with long/clean/styled fur, all of which is meant to signal their superior social standing. In keeping with the product’s name – Frolic biscuits – each pair is shown frolicking in a luxurious locale: poolside at a posh resort; in a plush hotel room, decorated with red velvet furniture; and in a large, leather-trimmed limo stocked with plenty of wine and pink satin pillows. The tag line on each photo reads, “She’s only with him for his biscuits.” (So nice to see you, heterosexism!) These bitches are like the Anna Nicole Smiths of the dog world, yo!

And yes, I had considered the possibility that the advertisers were trying to upend – or at least poke fun at – the “woman-as-gold digger” cliché, especially in light of the many appreciative comments this campaign received at Ads of the World. But. I fail to see how simply projecting a misogynist stereotype onto nonhuman animals – without any sort of social critique or subversive play on said stereotype – does anything to challenge the prejudices reflected therein.** The added racial stereotyping in the “limo” image just makes this campaign all the more distasteful.

Gender and race aside, we’re still left to deal with the breedism; in the above ads, different breeds of dogs are associated with different socioeconomic classes and aesthetics, some more desirable than others (hence the “lesser” males’ need to “buy” the coveted female dogs with biscuits). While this may seem harmless fun, breedism has pernicious real-world implications; see, for example, “pet” overpopulation statistics and breed-specific legislation.

—————

* Lyrics lifted (and tweaked!) from the Kanye West/Jamie Foxx musical misogyny-fest “Golddigger.” (Please keep in mind, however, that misogyny is not unique to rap music. Far from it.)

** Nor am I inclined to give Mars the benefit of the doubt.

—————

Tagged:

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “If you fuckin’ with this bitch then you betta’ be paid.*”

  1. adam Says:

    Thanks for posting this!
    I think it’s also important to note not only the black bull mastiff but the petiteness and youth of the King Charles in the pic–barely legal anyone? The femininity here is thoroughly classed, aged, and racialized, which is especially evident in how obnoxiously white the other two female dogs are. Coincidence? I think not! The message wouldn’t be half as strong if they had included a dark female dog.

  2. Kelly Garbato Says:

    Yes, good point! Also, I realized after posting this that the only female dog not depicted as “white” is the one who appears with the black male dog; it’s almost as though the advertisers knew that pairing a black male dog with a white (or black) female would racialize the image to such a degree that it’d be one step too far, even for them. (I have to wonder how much of this is intentional vs. subconscious. Anyone involved in advertising care to weigh in?)

Leave a Reply