Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gen X vs. Generation Y: Unexposed or Desensitized?

The Pepsi Max commercial in the above link has been criticized as playing on stereotypes. The opposite belief argues that the prejudices are only shown if the commercial viewer is looking for them to be present. I originally was of the opinion that the commercial was harmless, but after consideration and conversation, I believe that the commercial is indeed playing on common stereotypes. The way that the wife in the commercial controls everything that her husband eats leaves the viewer to assume that she also controls other aspects of his life, effectively making her the ‘bad guy’ in the commercial; the poor husband is only trying to eat something tasty, after all. Furthermore, the bad eating habits of the black husband show in stark contrast to the white girl, her only portrayal being the jogger and eventual victim. I believe that the difference of opinion about the wife’s portrayal comes from the fact that the current generation hasn’t grown up accustomed to seeing the black woman cast as the domineering, controlling, abrasive character leaving us more prone to dismiss the casting as irrelevant. While the stereotypes are indeed present, I think that their existence within this commercial was nothing more than Pepsi looking for an easy way to create humor, hoping that the common viewer would overlook the prejudice that is present, assuming that the younger generation hasn’t been exposed to the stereotypes that were played upon.

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