Action of the Week - 2003


Menstuff® has long advocated various actions to get advertisers to desist from advertising that maligns or shames men, writing congress or local state legislatures on bills that are good or bad for men, and challenging the news media to present more positive stories about men, fathers (at least on Father's Day), etc. The Action of the Week features a major action that we feel is important for men to take towards making this a country that also cares about men. We will give you the situation, the call to action, and the people to contact to hopefully make something happen.

After reviewing some of these topics, we encourage you to write the corporations and the government and give them your viewpoint. Change doesn't usually take place when only one complaint is received. If you want to be part of the solution, let them hear from you! Here's how. See Take Action from 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, and 2001. See Action of the Week Responses.

 

Action of the Week
Call to Action
How and Where to Write the Officials

ACTION OF THE WEEK

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WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?

DWhat do these people have in common?

  • The Chairman of the board of trustees of Colgate University
  • The Chairwoman of a Tennessee Girl Scout Council
  • The first US woman to walk in space (and winner of the Girls Scouts of the US Woman of Distinction award)
  • The former Chairman of Ohio State University’s board of trustees.

Hard as it is to believe, they all serve on the board of directors of Abercrombie and Fitch. If you have a daughter or care about girls, you already know the disturbing manner in which the Abercrombie and Fitch clothing chain markets to its primarily young customers – with nothing but sexualized, often pornographic, images and messages. Yet the majority of Abercrombie’s Directors lead or are prominent in organizations committed to education, community building, and/or girls’ empowerment. Act now to tell those Directors to live up to their values and bring an end to Abercrombie’s objectification of our daughters and sons.
Dads & Daughters is mounting a campaign to challenge Abercrumbie & Fitch's board to "Stop Sexualizing Girls" The photos are from Abercrombie & Fitch's marketing to youth. Take action. (Editor: Wonder if these ads were created at the Bohemian Grove?) L. H. Wexner, Chairman, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., 4 Limited Parkway, Reynoldsburg, OH 43078, 614.577.6500. You can order a counter-campaign T-shirt from the Christian Right's group, American Decency, for $10 which reads: "Ditch Fitch: Abercrombie Peddles Porn & Exploits Children" at www.americandecency.org/a&fshirts.htm 12/1/03:  Something worked. 12/8/03 the Citizens for Community Values (www.victimsofpornography.org) ran a full-page pad in USA Today.

PROGRESSIVE CONTINUES ITS ASSAULT AGAINST MEN

DProgressive Casualty Insurance Company of Mayfield Village, OH continues to try to shame men. This time they take to a high school hallway showing a couple of guys in boring basic dull solid short-sleeve shirts. The guy who is being made fun of is the only guy with any color in his clothes except for the girl passing by, who happens to have the same sweater on. The copy is "Nice sweater, do they sell men's clothes where you bought that?! (Implying that girl's clothes aren't boring but to be "a man" we'll call you a girl if you try to step out of the boring box we live in. The copy goes on to say,) Now that's the kind of thing we wish we could insure you against. But for now, we can just offer really simple car insurance. When you need some, think Progressive. (The tag line really fits their advertising campaign against men. It reads - ) Progressive. NOT what you'd expect from an insurance company. (Boy, are they right. I would have expected at least a little class - but they fooled me. To remind you, they are the ones that simulated a male castration in their TV commercial.)

Peter B. Lewis, CEO, President, Progressive Corp.(Insurance)
6300 Wilson Mills Rd, Cleveland, OH 44143, PO Box 5070 Cleveland, OH 44101, 440.461.5000, Fax 440.446.7168 or
800.Progressive (876.6327) or www.progressive.com
or e-mail at www.progressive.com/mail/mailfeed.asp

UNION BAY PROMOTES SEXUAL VIOLENCE

DA new misandric (male hating) commercial from Union Bay (sellers to young men and junior boys and girls sportswear) features a man being thrown repeatedly from a moving car and hitting his groin against a parking meter. This sort of portrayal legitimizes acts of sexual violence towards men in real life. Let Union Bay know if their advertising offends you ub@unionbay.com Also, go to www.unionbay.com/ubfall2003/locator/index.html for a retailer close to you, if you also want them to know your concerns. Many of these are independent retailers that care what the people in their local community think. Corporate: Steve Ritchey, Pres., Brian Leung, CEO, Seattle Pacific Industries, Inc, 1633 Westlake Ave North, Seattle, WA 98109-6214. Mail to PO Box 58710, Seattle, WA 98138-1710 or 206.282.8889 or fax to 206.298.2147 or www.svjeans.com Their advertising agency is Toth Advertising & Imaging, 30 Monumental Cir, Concord, MA 01742. Their other trademarks are: Ary Cooper, Breezin, Heet, Re-Union, Sergio Valente and SYNC.

"FCUK HIM'

Zirh fragrances introduced an advertising campaign in September with new FCUK Him and FCUK Her ads, considered to be rather overtly sexual selling tactics to target teens for the holidays. The headline reads "Scent to bed." On the mailer, you can pull it apart to see what the product smells like at "open here to try fcuk her" and "open here to try fcuk him." On the pack page is an offer to "get your scent to bed T-shirt." The company also announced the opening of their biggest store to date with an ad reading "The World's Biggest FCUK." Karen Gori, a brand manger for FCUK Fragrance continues to play coy stating "Our message is lighthearted and fun, misinterpretation is purely in the eye of the beholder." Let her boss, Rafael Kravel, Chairman, know if you agree. French Fragrances Inc, 14100 N.W. 60th Ave, Miami Lakes, FL 33014, 305.818.8000 or www.frenchfragrances.com Part of the French Connection Group, Bromley-by-Bow, London, England, E3 2DA, 441713997000 12/1/03:  Something worked.

"ON THE TOWN. OFF THE HOOK.

D Women: Would you trust your husband or boyfriend if he drank Coors beer? The reason we asked is that the latest series of Coors magazine ads is targeted to cheaters. i.e., "What happens here stays here. It's guys night out." What's interesting is that the guy next to the "woman" has a band on the ring finger on what appears to be his right hand. Either he's in a gay relationship or they have flipped the negative and he's married. Either way, he's cheating and Coors obviously goes along with the concept.

JIM BEAM CONTINUES LOWBROW CAMPAIGN

D The headline reads: "Unlike your girlfriend, they never ask where this relationship is going." Because they know it's headed for the porcelain friend. Subhead: "Real friends. Real Bourbon." Real drunk. Jim Beam, a binge drinker's ally.

MILLER LITE SUGGESTS "LIVE RESPONSIBLY"

D The large photo shows a white woman holding a dog that's sniffing the butt of another woman who looks like she's wearing a teddy. The smaller picture shows a black woman apparently telling four guys in matching shirts and full glasses of beer (who'd drink Miller Lite?) and a woman the story with her hands looking as if she's grabbing a butt. The headline reads "Tell it over a great tasting, less filling Miller Lite." Seems Coors, Miller Lite, and Jim Beam are fighting for the classless drinking market. Which one do you think will sign Jackass as their spokesperson?

PONY PEDDLES PORN

D The lines between pornography culture and the popular culture are getting more blurred by a new series of ads for Pony shoes featuring porn stars. Pony, an athletic footwear company out of the bible-belt, markets the athletic shoes mainly to teenage and young-adult males and is set to launch its new seven-figure marketing campaign. Sadly, members of the advertising community have done little to discourage the new direction into the use of adult-film stars for roles in product advertisements, music videos and broadcast TV shows. Joe Field, (President) and Emma Douglas (Brand Manager), Pony USA, 2214 Metro Center Blvd, Ste 200, Nashville, TN 37288, 615.313.3500, fax 615.313.3515 or 800.654.7669. Also, write Industry Associations

"COMMON SENSE" AD

D Dear Time Magazine:

As requested in your ad in the March 3 issue, I''ll "Join the conversation." There are a lot of better ways to encourage people to join the conversation than using what might seem as an obvious extreme national security measure as an example but isn't.

Whoever design and approved this ad obviously doesn't know that many Vietnamese children, who had been accepted by the GI's in Viet Nam to shine shoes, do their laundry, etc, were then wired with explosives, went back into the same GI barracks and were detonated, killing not only themselves but many U.S. military personnel. So, if security becomes lax, I wouldn't assume that this tactic wouldn't be used again. A terrorist could look like you or me. Your next door neighbor might be one and s/he may be under 10 years old. Their Initial Response

US WITHDRAWAL FROM UN AIDS EFFORT

D President Bush has decided not to send the $34 million approved by both houses of Congress for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). The fund provides contraception, family planning and safe births, and works against the spread of HIV and against female genital mutilation in the poorest countries of the world. We need 34 million "Friends of the UNFPA" to send at least $1 each to the United Nations (FPA) at 220 East 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10017 to make up for the President's action.

AMERICANS FOR FUEL EFFICIENT CARS

"The idea for this project came to me while watching -- for the umpteenth time -- one of those outrageous drug war ads the Bush administration has flooded the airwaves with. You know, the ones that try and link using drugs to financing terrorism. Instead of shaking my head in disgust and reaching for the Mute button like I usually do when I see these ads, I decided to channel my indignation. Why not turn the tables and adopt the same tactics the administration was using in the drug war to point out the much more credible link between driving SUVs and our national security? Thus began our campaign to create a series of TV ads designed to win the hearts and minds -- and change the driving habits -- of American consumers by asking them to connect the dots and think about the effect energy wastefulness is having not just on the environment, but on our foreign policy.

WHO'S CHICKEN AT CHICKEN SOUP


In 2001, we were told that they were looking for stories about Men for a future edition to be published in 2003. On 12/20/02 I called to find out the status. Well, it's been pushed back to 2004 at the earliest and may be renamed Dad's Soul, though they already have one for Father's. The excuse is that 80% of their sales are to women who are more interested in titles like a Cat's Soul than a Man's Soul. Apparently, men hold a similar lack of interest because the editor's haven't had much response for stories over the last two years. It may not be too late to change the marketing department's mind. And, while it's sad to say, maybe we have to get the women in our lives to request such a book so corporate will listen. In the end, however, if men don't submit stories, we're right back where we started - no Soul.


CONFUSION: FUJI AND ISRAEL


In an e-mail received on 12/19/02, Fuji Film was accused of removing Israel from its complimentary world map that they give to their customers with a purchase. The author made all kinds of accusations against Fuji Film and asked for a boycott of all Fuji products, including Subaru. To start with, Fuji Heavy Industries makes Subaru and the only connection between the two is the first name. Second, it was NOT Fuji that had such a map but DaimlerChrysler. Fuji's web site is www.fujifilm.com and www.fujifilm.com/map for more accurate information. If you don't believe them, try the Anti-Defamation League at www.adl.org/rumors/fuji_rumors.asp or About.com urban legends at urbanlegends.about.com/library/blfuji-map?terms=fujifilm

It was DaimlerChrysler, parent company of Mercedes Benz and BMW and producers of many products, that produced the maps on their web site. See snopes.com urban legends at www.snopes.com/inboxer/outrage/fuji.htm regarding Fuji and www.snopes2.com/inboxer/outrage/noisrael.htm for the BMW issue. While it doesn't appear to have been intentional, the problem was apparently solved back in August, 2002. The dangers of the Internet - old and errant information. We're all for pointing the finger - just be sure it's in the right direction.

PROTECT PRODUCTION OF MEDICAL ISOTOPES

In the United States, a bone cancer study was canceled due to a shortage of isotopes to treat less than 100 patients. We lack the quantity, quality and variety of medical isotopes for even small numbers of study patients. The best treatment isotopes are made in nuclear research reactors, not power reactors, not accelerators. Despite numerous entreaties, the Department of Energy will not recognize cancer patients' needs. This is politics at its worst. The Department of Energy is working "fast track" to destroy the best isotope production reactor in the world.

PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE CASTRATES MEN


DOne of the visitors to our site sent us this e-mail: "Has anyone taken notice of the Progressive Insurance ad where some jilted woman uses a Voodoo Doll to get even with some guy? She does a bunch of stuff to cause him some pain... They would not have the balls to run a violence against woman ad." Their Response

We've written to Progressive and are awaiting a "real" response.

Peter B. Lewis, CEO, President, Progressive Corp.(Insurance)
6300 Wilson Mills Rd, Cleveland, OH 44143, PO Box 5070 Cleveland, OH 44101, 440.461.5000, Fax 440.446.7168 or
800.Progressive (876.6327) or www.progressive.com
or e-mail at www.progressive.com/mail/mailfeed.asp

 

iVillage.com's TAKE ON RELATIONSHIPS


DAOL features different web sites on its home page with gimmicky headlines to entice you to stay on line longer. The other day I clicked on an article about relationships. Low and behold, it took me to iVillage.com. There was a quiz titled "Should You Dump Him" with questions that sounded more like an intake interview on domestic violence. They didn't stop there with the compilation of their favorite 50 ideas for completely freaking out a guy (any guy) for good! Then there's the Worst Date of the Week and True Tales of Love Gone Wrong, a listing of 66 more articles, not one putting a positive spin on relationship.

They claim to be the largest global neighborhood of women online. With information like this, that's scary!  Their Response

POISONOUS PHTHALATES IN COSMETICS


DBeauty care manufacturers continue marketing products containing phthalates to our daughters -- despite evidence that these dangerous chemicals damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system, especially in younger women.

The federal Food and Drug Administration regulates these products, but doesn't even force companies to say on the labels whether or not there are phthalates inside.

Studies show that females of childbearing age have far higher levels of phthalates in their systems than the general population - no surprise, considering how heavily cosmetics, deodorants, hair spray, etc. are marketed to young women. Put a stop to it now!

Join the latest Dads and Daughters' action and tell the FDA to protect our daughters today! It takes just one easy step at www.dadsanddaughters.org/takeaction.htm

SNAPPLE ENCOURAGES BOARDS


DAdvertising copy from Snapple.com website: "My college buddies and I used to play a game that looked a lot like this. It’s nice to see youngsters carrying on some of our traditions."

Black, Latino and NIC fraternities/sororities have fought inch by inch and year by year to stop the practice of paddling where it exists in Greek life and to even question if paddles are appropriate when placed on sale in campus bookstores.

Now, out-for-the-bucks Snapple and their not-so-creative agency Deutsch have a print and billboard poster called "FRAT" depicting two bottles with hair and Delta Omega Delta ball caps looking smug over a prostrate pledge. A broken paddle sits nearby and other paddles, all with Greek letters, fill out the picture. The campaign is aimed at teens.

MEN'S HEALTH ACT NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT


CMen lead in all 15 of the major causes of death in the U.S. We die six years early than women. We "tough it out" and too often wait until it's to late or too advanced to stop it. We could live longer. We could live healthier. Well, the Senate has followed the House (H.R. 632) in putting up for adoption the Men's Health Act (S. 2616). But, there is a lot of resistance in both houses. Please write your Senator at US Senate, Washington, DC 20510, and ask them to cosponsor and support the Men's Health Act, S. 2616.

BRUTALITY IS MERCHANDISABLE


DIt seems that several heartless men are preying on the desperation of homeless men. Called Bumfights.com , these uncaring men pay homeless men to fight each other and perform other cruel, harmful stunts. These acts are videotaped and the tapes are then sold over the Internet. It's a brutal video depiction of street life. We are asking all concerned men and women to send a protest.

'ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE DEFAMES OTHERS


DThe GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards featured Garry Marshall as emcee who said "Did you hear about Calista Flockhart's accident? Don't worry--she's all right; she's been faxed to the hospital!" Isn't that defamation? Guess not. The audience guffawed its approval. Not only is that defamation, it's deep seeded homophobia. You might ask GLAAD to make a public apology to Calista and Harrison Ford.

Joan M. Garry, Garry@glaad.org , Executive Director, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), 5455 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1500, Los Angeles, CA 90036 or 323.933.2240 or www.glaad.org

 

'BOYFRIENDS OFTEN ABUSE & KILL CHILDREN"


DThis kind of irresponsible journalism, which appeared 6/2/02 in the Arizona Republic, takes on the talk show format of using cases that are very few in number and making everyone think they represent the major problem. It diverts attention away from the difficult task of rounding public support to deal with the real perpetrators of child abuse.

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL MEN'S HEALTH


DHarvard Medical School has a web site InteliHealth.com They have a section on Men's Health. They've had around 90 "commentaries" on men's health since 8/28/00, many of them really general, not male specific. Under "Where to Find Help" as an abused person, all references to an "perpetrator" are male, all references to "victim" are female. On 2/20/02 we asked them about it. No reply. Maybe if you asked, that would help. Response Issue resolved.

THE BEST OF BOY BASH STICKERS


DTwo Wisconsin men, Bill Stone (Menasha) and Ryan Burns (Appleton) have created 2Flatline.com to reach girls through sticker vending machines you see in cheap restaurants. They've created some great stickers, but there is a special "Best of Boy Bash" section that is a tame counterpoint to Rotten Cotton.

WRIGLEY USES VIOLENCE TO INTRO NEW GUM


DWrigley's uses violence to introduce a new chewing gum that contains xylitol, a natural plant extract which works with your saliva to keep teeth healthy. Click on the Orbit ad to see a larger version showing three cookies on a plate, two with terror on their faces, as their buddy has red goo that looks like blood being squeezed out of it. The headline reads "Help knock tooth decay into orbit." . Response Our Response Back Their Final Response

SCHOLASTIC'S EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN


DStop Commercial Exploitation of Children asks: "Why is Scholastic sponsoring KidPower 2002, "the best and biggest conference on marketing to youth"?

JC PENNY PRESENTS FATHER'S AS INCOMPETENT


DJ. C. Penney is airing a series of TV commercials that depict dads as complete incompetents with their own children. There are, we believe, five versions that all have the same theme: mom has gone to Penney's one day sale and dad is completely out of his element. Imagine women being denigrated this way over, say, having a job outside the home. I can see it now.

ASKO APPLIANCE ADVERTISING


CAsko's ad in the 2/02 issue of Sunset says: "Like most Swedish supermodels, they consume next to nothing." By joking about the seriousness of eating disorders, Asko not only reduces the value of their name, but also degrades the estimated 8 million Americans that suffer from eating disorders. A response. Issue Resolved.

KRAFT SAYS THEIR COFFEE CAN END DV


DThis ad for General Foods International Coffees, appeared in the 2/02 issue of Good Housekeeping. It shows a broken cup on the floor and a big coffee stain on the door.

T-SHIRTS FOR FUTURE WIFE BEATERS


Out of Texas comes the line of Wife Beater T-shirts. There's even one for the wife of the Wife Beater and for the Future Wife Beater. At least they are identifying themselves in public.

DORITOS LACK TASTE


DThe new television commercial for Doritos Extreme featuring cheerleaders and another "dare". It claims that you might think of yourself as bold but are you daring enough to look up a woman's skirt. What is Frito Lay and BBDO, their advertising agency, thinking? Bold taste? Rather, no taste at all.

ROTTEN COTTON


DThis web site, out of Antioch, CA, uses the name of Old Crow Bourbon, and glamorizes serial killers, promotes sexism, racism, and homophobia, and suggest getting a girl drunk and then raping her. And that's just for starters. A response

 

D C

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Political action is the highest responsibility of a citizen. - John F. Kennedy



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