If you haven’t seen it, the gist of the ad is as follows:
Guy sees an ad saying he can trade in his iPhone for the new one. His current phone wakes up and asks him what’s going on. Guy denies anything is happening. He walks to his car, his phone asks him if it can plot a route for him. He says he can handle it himself. The phone plays “Just the Two of Us” while they are in the car. As he walks into the store to make the trade, the phone tries to get his attention again, and he switches it off.
Funny, huh? The phone, see, is acting like a person! It doesn’t want to be … what, exactly? It doesn’t want to be abandoned? Broken up with? Sold? … Killed?
Throughout this commercial, the phone speaks in a woman’s voice. It’s the Siri voice, of course. It’s an iPhone.
The effect, unintentional or deliberate, is of a woman trying to get the man who controls her to … what, exactly? To tell her the truth? To keep her? To spare her life?
Sure, sure, it’s supposed to be funny because it’s just a PHONE, right? It’s funny because it’s a PHONE begging for its life.
It’s funny because we’re comparing something trivial to something way too important, right? We’re comparing trading in a phone to … emotional abuse, overcontrolling men lying to and manipulating women, possibly domestic violence and murder.
Because that’s funny.
Or, not. Really. At all.
Even the kindest interpretation of the metaphor is lousy. In the best, kindest metaphor, the guy is in a relationship with a needy, clingy, desperate woman whom he no longer desires because something better has come along, and instead of breaking off the relationship cleanly the man lies and hides his intentions from an increasingly-desperate partner, until he ultimately runs away without explanation.
Because, I don’t know, crazy bitches are clingy monsters? Is that the funny part? Is the funny part that women don’t deserve honesty? Or is it that new women are always better than established relationships? Or perhaps the lying to your partner is the funny part of this metaphor?
In the most sinister version of the metaphor, the man sees a woman he wants more, lies to his partner who he controls so utterly that she can’t get away from him and must merely attempt to placate him, and then kills her to shut her up before he goes to meet the new woman.
Funny, funny commercial, comparing a new phone to a new relationship. Comparing leaving an old phone to leaving an old relationship. Comparing the phone to a woman. Comparing the phone to a woman one no longer desires. Comparing the phone to a woman who is afraid of being left. Comparing the phone to a woman who is lied to. Comparing the phone to a woman who is lied to, taken to a place where she will be abandoned, and then silenced.
Funny, funny commercial.
Endemic, entrenched, relentless, unavoidable cultural misogyny. It’s in everything. It’s everywhere.
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