Cars for real men

New Volkswagen ads try to appeal to guys by dissing women.

Published February 21, 2006 3:56PM (EST)

Thanks to Echidne of the Snakes and Bad Feminist for alerting us to Volkswagen's new sexist ad campaign. Running during the Winter Olympics, the TV commercials portray women as carping ditzes. I haven't seen the spots yet, but according to Echidne, "one shows a man in a VW going out to run errands. His wife or girlfriend wants a ride but he won't let her into the car because of the 'extra weight.' She is left standing while he zooms off into the distance, happy." And another one, according to the New York Times, shows a female passenger asking her boyfriend to roll up the windows because her hair is getting tangled. "Sweetie," he says, "it's really hard for me to enjoy the sound of the engine with all that yakking."

Right, that's all we ladies do. Yak and whine and get in the way of our big strong men and their stud-mobiles.

The Times calls the ads "quirky" -- which we guess is a new euphemism for women hating -- and reports that the campaign is an effort to dispel V.W.'s girly image. The company launched the campaign last week at Playboy's offices in New York. How original! (No word on whether rare steaks were served or "Girls Gone Wild" videos were tucked into the gift bags.)

Yes, it's depressing that a major car manufacturer is trying to appeal to male consumers by dissing women. But as Echidne points out, there is a bright side: "If the campaign is successful among some subsection of men there is still something positive about it: You can tell the sexist ones simply by the car they drive!"

By Lori Leibovich

Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.

MORE FROM Lori Leibovich

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Love And Sex