By Heidi Stevens Chicago Tribune.
Bloomingdale's knew exactly what it was doing with that spike-her-eggnog ad, and it speaks to just about everything wrong with the way we approach sex.
"Spike Your Best Friend's Eggnog When They're Not Looking," reads the ad, as a guy (who looks a lot like "Blurred Lines" singer Robin Thicke) gives creepy eyes to the woman next to him.
Come on, Bloomie's.
The upscale department store, which operates 40 stores nationwide, apologized on Oct. 10.
"In reflection of recent feedback, the copy we used in our recent catalog was inappropriate and in poor taste," a brand representative told Tech Insider. "Bloomingdale's sincerely apologizes for this error in judgment."
It shouldn't have taken "recent feedback" (read: a Twitter firestorm) to inject better taste into the copywriters' brains.
The Bill Cosby saga should have been enough, with spiked drinks sitting center stage in dozens of the 50 sexual abuse or assault complaints against him.
Lady Gaga's powerful new video, which shows the fictionalized account of two women being raped after their drinks were spiked, should have been enough.
Countless brave essays, like this one, that reveal the pain of being drugged and raped should have been enough.
In Bloomingdale's defense, eggnog is usually "spiked" with rum or scotch, not Rohypnol. So you can imagine the brainchild behind the ad saying, "With rum! I meant with rum, people!"
And maybe he or she did.
It's still a problem. Because it sets up a dynamic that we really, really, really need to move past: that men are sex-crazed lechers, angling at every turn to wear down an unsuspecting woman, even if it means diluting her senses. ("Baby It's Cold Outside," anyone?)
It leaves no room for men to feel a whole range of emotions about sex, from "not in the mood" to "bring it on."
It leaves no room for women to have perfectly healthy, perfectly huge appetites for sex, no wearing down or drink-spiking required.
It sets up sex as a male conquest. She'll give in, he'll enjoy himself, hopefully someone remembers the condom.
You can't convince me that the copywriters intended to send any other message than that. Not when they chose a man and a woman, rather than two women, to pose at this imaginary holiday shindig. Not when he's giving her that look. Not when they added " ... when she's not looking." (Why? Why couldn't you just ask your best friend if she wants some rum?)
I suspect some of those on the team behind this ad knew it was creepy, since they went with "best friend's eggnog" rather than "date's eggnog." "Date's eggnog" leaves you zero outs in the you're-glorifying-rape conversation. "Best friend's eggnog" covers your tail a bit.
They should have canned the whole thing. As all of us know, celebrating with eggnog (spiked or not) at a holiday party is fun and, often, a prelude to something even more delicious.
This stupid ad is neither.