Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, aired a deeply strange commercial during the Golden Globes spotlighting heroes of feminism. These include Malala Yousafzai (who, per an on-screen caption, “stood up to educate us all”), Diana Nyad (“who persevered”), Janet Yellen (“who shattered the glass ceiling”), and Margaret Thatcher (“for blazing a trail”).
What, exactly, is Bing spotlighting here, in terms of its product’s actual utility? And Margaret Thatcher’s relationship with feminism was complicated at best. Isn’t putting her in conversation with the young Malala in an ad about the power of women a little ideologically muddled? And isn’t overlaying the entire thing with the pop song “Brave,” which exhorts listeners to “say what you wanna say,” a little condescending to the ad’s subjects? They already have said what they want to say — and in many cases do so in a manner entirely disconnected from their gender and focused on their ability to do their jobs well. It’s hard to imagine Janet Yellen, the new Fed chair, being happy about being featured in an uplifting ad solely on the basis of her gender.
The ad doesn’t necessarily make us want to use Bing. But it’s good to see Malala, Gabrielle Giffords and company — even if Thatcher’s an odd match, and the all-around attitude of up-with-people-ism (“say what you wanna say!”) in fact patronizes astoundingly accomplished folks.