Does anyone else find the current Subway sandwich campaign offensive? I mean, I find fast food in general offensive, although if you HAD to eat fast food, a sandwich from a place like Subway, Potbelly, Jimmy John's or Quizno's would probably be one of the better bets, depending on the choices you made. But what I'm talking about is the current ad campaign in which beautiful women, usually in an office setting, trick some nerd out of his lunch by offering to be his girlfriend.
It's supposed to be cute. The adult voices are manipulated to make them sound like elementary school kids, and the trick itself is juvenile, definitely a grade school manouever. But in every single one of these commercials or radio ads, a pretty woman offers to be a nerdy man's "girlfriend" and then claims his sandwich.
It's never an average or, God forbid, ugly woman, because we all know that wouldn't work, even on a schlumpy guy.
The guy is always a bit of a goof because, you know, if he were good-looking, he'd be running the place and would have already sent the bitch out to buy him a sandwich.
And of course, a beautiful woman couldn't possibly go down to the corner and buy her own damn sandwich. Or get her assistant to do it for her. Because in this particular world, women are at best grown-up "mean girls" and at worst whores for sandwiches, and guys are stupid, easily manipulated, inept nerds.
I mean, really. I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor and am not easily offended, but for me, this misses the mark. But then, I'm extra sensitive to advertising this time of year, as businesses gear up to try to rev us all up to buy buy buy. I'm sick of it all. I'm sick of all the magazines, television shows, "reality" shows, movies, and yes, advertisements that continually present all of us with an unrealistic standard of living and an equally unrealistic and unattainable standard of beauty --- especially targeting women and girls --- all under the guise of entertainment and information, but with the specific goal of making us feel in some way inadequate so we will go out and spend money, mostly on crap we don't need.
What does this have to do with health and fitness? Quite a lot, actually. Look at any magazine stand and you will see that the publications marketed to women either have to do with beauty or some version of homemaking and/or parenting. The beauty publications are almost all geared towards single women in their twenties and thirties, and even those which are targeted to more mature women and feature some articles with more substance (Marie Claire, More) show impossibly youthful and slender looking models. More --- a magazine I happen to like --- even has a regular feature called "This is what __ looks like", the blank representing the age of the particular woman being featured. Every time I look at it, I think "Not without plastic surgery or really excellent genes". And then of course, there are the endless features of really expensive clothing and makeup. Even having lost weight, most of that designer clothing doesn't come in my size (assuming I could even afford it).
In a way, I'm a little anesthitized to all the fashion stuff, because of two things: one, for most of my life, I couldn't find that clothing in my size; and two, even when I could, most of the time I couldn't afford it. I learned to clamp down hard on my envy and accept that those things weren't for me, and to use my creativity to recreate cheaper, more flattering outfits I liked. I learned to distance myself from it all a little bit.
But as I get older, I find myself just getting more and more tired of it all, and angered by the messages it sends, and maybe that's why this Subway ad has me so up in arms. I have nieces, and I don't like what the world wants to tell them about how they should look and behave in order to have value. I don't want them picking up the hangups so many of us had as kids. For that matter, I don't want all my wonderful nephews developing those attitudes towards women.
And on a whole 'nother scale, I am generally annoyed enough with corporate America right now that I have no intention of buying Christmas presents from anything other than a local business or, preferably, artist. Any presents I give this year will be homemade, or something specifically designed to bring beauty into the world, preferably without having exploited any other human being.
One of my high school friends, Bobby Jo Cash Roberts, makes gorgeous stained glass art. Several friends of mine have recently released CDs. DC Anderson and I were in Phantom of the Opera together waaay back in the day; he still tours, but he also has a whole catalogue of fantastic cabaret-style music, much of it original. He has a new Christmas CD out called All is Calm, All is Bright. I went to college with bass-baritone Marcus Nance and have always been a fan of his smooth, sexy sound; he's going to be on Broadway soon in Jesus Christ Superstar! My colleague baritoneTodd Thomas, who I have sung with on numerous occasions, has just re-released an album of Christian music called Crown Him Lord of All; it's available directly from Todd, and if you're interested, comment and I will get you his contact info. Last but not least, another baritone colleague (what is it about me and baritones? Love those sexy low voices!), Craig Irvin, has released his first self-titled album, Craig Irvin: An American Baritone. Any of these would be unique, beautiful gifts and they would benefit their creators directly, with very little (if any) going to a middleman.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get back into the holiday spirit by putting on some tunes and carrying on with the ridiculously extravagant and ever-so-slightly tacky decoration of my home (all old stuff, mostly inherited from childhood, thank you very much). And I will not be eating any sandwiches. Bah, humbug.