I consider myself a pretty liberal person. I write feminist things and piss off conservatives. I also stuffed my face with nachos and watched the Super Bowl with
half all of America last night. We all cringed through the nasty GoDaddy ad with the suck-face noises strangely cranked up on high. At least, everyone in my house puked their nachos a little in their mouths. And then . . . the Audi ad ran. It showed a dateless prom kid driving his dad's Audi S6 to the dance, planting a giant kiss on the prom queen, then driving home with a black eye from her boyfriend. Feminists went nuts.
Gender issues writer Hugo Schwyzer:
"#AudiProm ad featuring a sexual assault, the prom queen trophy trope, and male-violence-as-redemptive bs. #NotBuyingIt"
"a classic rape fantasy is that the no magically turns to a yes."
Twitter user @Amadi (retweeted 154 times):
"News flash to all men: kissing someone without consent isn't brave, no matter what @Audi says, it's sexual assault. Do. Not. Do. That. Ever."
Steve Hofstetter @SteveHofstetter (26,701 followers):
"Sexual assault, brought to you by Audi."
The Chicago Tribune:
"Audi goes with a sexual-assault-at-the-prom scenario, if you're being critical"
Um. DISAGREE. And I'm plenty critical.
Let's walk through why this was not sexual assault, shall we?
1. Just because another guy is mad about the interaction between Audi Kid and Prom Queen, thus seeming to take ownership of a girl (not possible, by the way), does not mean he is necessarily her choice of guy. This commercial used the context of the "real" boyfriend being mad to imply the girl didn't want to kiss Audi Kid. Wrong! If we remove the overbearing boyfriend character and just focus on the wants and reactions of the girl we see . . .
2. She embraced him and . . .
3. She kissed him back. Also, there was no tongue or forced body part entry, as Schwyzer suggested.
4. She was longing and smiling after the encounter. That is not how assaulted women look after an attack. Why are we saying a happy person is an assault victim? If I had to take an oath and sign a waiver after every guy kissed me, I'd still be waiting by my locker.
I feel I have some authority on this. I've been assaulted. I've been grabbed several times and been very scared. I've only recently mentioned it a time or two on here and only out loud when it actually happened. I don't really like talking about it because it makes me feel like a cry baby. "Oh, big deal someone grabbed you! You weren't sent to the hospital! People get killed! It's not like anyone killed you! Think of that woman on that bus in India!" (That's my internal voice that makes me feel stupid for even bringing it up.) Why do I feel stupid bringing it up? Why do I and others like me feel self-conscious and petty and whiny for mentioning horror at a complete stranger forcing his hands on our bodies? Because the term "assault" gets diluted by stupid examples like this.
Where will the slippery, dismissive slope take "assault" next? Call it "pre-rape" or something? It's not. I take the accusation of assault very seriously and misapplying it to consensual situations, even if they are slightly surprising to one party, is an insult to people who have really been assaulted. How do we know Audi Kid and Prom Queen weren't sexting an hour before the dance? Maybe they planned it to burn Prom Boyfriend!
On the other hand, what idiot would give a teenager a high-performance sports car worth $72,000 on the one night a year no one has a curfew? That, is obscene.
Judge for yourself here!
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