The California Milk Processor Board (the group responsible for the milk mustache and the “got milk?” ads) recently introduced their next mass marketing campaign, which is centered around the claim that “milk can help reduce the symptoms of PMS”. Entitled the “Everything I Do Is Wrong” Campaign, the ads feature images of men wearing overwhelmed expressions, beneath statements of “pre-approved apologies”, such as “I apologize for not reading between the right lines” and “I apologize for letting you misinterpret what I was saying”. The campaign even features a website, on which the headline reads, “Everything I Do Is Wrong: Your Home for PMS Management.” Features of the website include a “video apology enhancer” (a tool for creating apology videos), “sensitivity vocabulator” (a tool offering vocabulary suggestions such as “instead of ‘irrational’ try ‘passionate’”), and a “mistake verification system” (a tool in which men can type what they think they did wrong, for verification).
Clearly, this new ad campaign is extremely sexist. Not only because the ads support the antiquated and misogynistic idea that women are naturally weak, lacking in self control, and prone to hysteria, but, in addition to this, the “apology” statements within the ads are acutely condescending.
According to an article in Businessweek,”the board’s executive director, Steve James, says the Internet, radio and billboard campaign is not meant to offend women but to poke fun at “how clueless men are in dealing with emotional situations.”” However, despite James’s efforts to justify the ads, this statement only succeeds at placing an emphasis on the ways in which they stereotype men, as well. (Which, in addition, does nothing to disprove the sexism of the ads.)
It is important that advertisement with such a malicious attitude towards women is not tolerated within mainstream media. Because of this, Change.org has put up a petition to “tell Got Milk to end its sexist PMS campaign.” The petition can be found here.