I love Christmas. For me it usually passes in a happy nauseated fog, punctuated by family rows, my mum acting like a hallucinating special brew addict, and toffee pennies. But I hate, and I mean really hate- the kind of hate usually reserved for people that have sex to Mumford and Sons- Christmas adverts. Now that we have all gone completely insane and Christmas starts in mid October, we have to suffer months of depressing patriarchal advert bullshit. This year, Asda takes the dubious honor of being the biggest set of bastards to grace our screens. Asda have decided that us newfangled working, voting women need taking down a peg or two, and to get our big childbearing hips back into the kitchen. Their advert shows a 1950s utopia in which their fresh faced, attractive (but not too sexy!) protagonist spends the entirety of Christmas on her knees. Here she is:
At this point in proceedings she has chosen and decorated the tree, bought and wrapped all the presents, cleaned the house for the arrival of extended family, and cooked the entire Christmas dinner. On her own. The husband is obviously useless and can’t be trusted to do anything right, so she has to do it all herself. Men eh!? All they’re good for is making fire, dragging home lumps of meat, and giving people syphilis. Except that I know loads of men, and they are all more than capable of cooking and cleaning. ‘But they look all sad! They don’t want to do it!’ Asda’s robowife cries. Yes, but here’s the skinny, blondie – NO ONE LIKES IT. Contrary to popular belief, women too would rather be sat on their arses playing FIFA instead of picking up socks and removing giblets.
Chinny nightmare Fearne Cotton and her dead-eyed sidekick Holly Willoughby have made an advert for http://www.very.co.uk with similar themes of ‘OH MEN CAN’T DO ANYTHING WE WILL HAVE TO DO IT ALL OURSELVES SIGH WINK WINK’. Funnily enough there’s never any adverts about men not being able to do fun things, like making money and shooting stuff and building dangerous things in sheds. But when it comes to buying a present for his mum, something that takes a little bit of time and thoughtfulness, suddenly they turn into a giant toddler and forget how to use their cute little brains. They’re already all full up with Movember and trying to aim their piss in the toilet, it’s hard for them! I doubt there are women behind the making of these adverts; the MD of Adsa is Andrew Moore and Very’s brand director is Gareth Jones. But the women that star in these adverts must have read the scrips and thought ‘hang on…aren’t we just paying into a big loads of nonsense that ultimately insults both genders? Doesn’t broadcasting this to the nation make me a bit rubbish?’. Fair enough for the Asda woman, she’s probably a jobbing actress that has to live off one back page Tena Lady ad in the Sunday times every six months. But Fearne is inexplicably rich and famous. Surely she could have some input into the companies to which she’s sold her soul? Granted they aren’t exactly selling smack to kiddies during the Emmerdale break, but haway! You’re making us all look like twats!
If they think the adverts are going to attract women to their shops then they’re wrong. Here’s an artist’s impression of what will make us buy things, and spontaneously ovulate at the same time:
Some stereotypes of women are fair enough. We love Ben Whishaw and we want him naked and vulnerable under our stocking. Some of us may or may not spend the festive season eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon, then demolishing our entire advent calendar in front of the Gilmore Girls. My work Christmas party may or may not end in the DJ playing that new sad crap song by One Direction, leading to a bolshy run to the toilets where I try not to cry about someone sleeping with me and not calling me back. But when I finally trap someone into marrying me, he will be making his own fucking sprouts. And god help Asda if they run a similar advert next year- late night sales of chocolate spread and gin are going to go seriously downhill when we start boycotting them. Plus I bet you any money that if their advert family were real, the wife would be in prison come boxing day. They’d find the husband on his back, electric carving knife slowly buzzing away in his forehead as she dances over him, with the perfect turkey on the perfect table in the background, slowly going cold.