This week’s award for missing the point goes to readers over at the blog Shakesville and its Today in Rape Culture page. They took offense to an ad that was part of a viral campaign for household cleaner company Method.
The Association of National Advertisers and Method see the ad as supporting the Household Product Labeling Acts, which would require disclosure of ingredients in household cleaners. But some vocal members of the blogosphere on YouTube, Twitter and over at Shakesville think that the ad for the fictional Shiny Suds was really about degrading women and promoting rape.
The ad in question, is a parody ad in which a woman cleans her bathroom only to discover much later that the soap bubble chemicals are still around leering at her as she takes a shower. The ad ends with the line, “You deserve to know what chemicals are in your cleaners.”
Is the ad creepy? Yes. But that was the point. The message is about the harsh chemicals, its not some hidden crack on powerless women in postmodern society. Method makes natural environmentally friendly cleaning products so they went high concept by spoofing their Scrubbing Bubbles competition.
Its supposed to make you cringe. But I don’t know how some people were able to equate leering CGI bubbles with sexual assault. It seems to me that serious discussions about rape and its impacts are weakened when people in the blogosphere fly off on a ridiculous politically correct tangent and try to hold Madison Avenue creative types responsible.
If these concerned bloggers and offended feminists want to do something about rape, they need to stop seeing imaginary rape from soap bubbles and look around. All over this country, thousands of DNA evidence kits collected from actual rape cases are sitting on shelves– backlogged and unused.
Human Rights Watch said testing a rape kit can identify a suspect, connect evidence from unrelated crimes, confirm a victim’s account and exonerate innocent suspects. Reducing the backlog would help move more rape cases through the criminal justice system. It seems like a more productive use of time and better spotlight on the issue would be to contact local politicians and/or raise funds for law enforcement to get moving on testing the kits– rather than boycotting Method products.