New drink-driving ad is sexist

22:45, May 29 2012

That new drink-driving ad? Where three men walk in the door pissed, and the Cheryl West-esque mum starts harping on at them about their drink-driving? And they all sort of roll their eyes, and one guy laughs and another one says "this is awkward" and we're told at the end: "Stop the family driving drunk: Legend"?


Let me count the ways.

1. It's sexist. It makes the woman ('Donna', in this case) responsible for doing the nagging. Because women are GREAT naggers, right? Nagging is our favourite. Naggity nag nag nag. Our second-favourite thing is stopping our menfolk having fun. Nothing like bringing down the party!

2. Again with the sexist. All the men in the family act like overgrown toddlers. Drunk, stupid, slobbery toddlers who can't be told what to do, or make sensible decisions for themselves. Could we not have had one man who actually acted like a grown-up? (Without mentioning 'mantrol', thanks).

3. It takes all responsibility away from the people actually doing the drink-driving. It's the sober person who gets landed with the guilt and the worry. The sober person who gets told it's her job to fix everyone else. And that if she fails her family will die.

4. You kind of wind up not minding if her family dies. They're awful. They're caricatures. They're just drunk dudes, not real people at all.

5. In a roundabout way it says that drink-driving every now and then is OK. Donna says "you're driving pissed too often". Not "you're driving pissed". As if there's a quota of drink-driving that would be OK.

6. The ad paints a hopeless picture. 'Stop your family driving drunk,' it says - while at the same time saying, 'Ha! You're trying to stop the family driving drunk? Yeah, never gonna work, they're just gonna laugh at you.'

Here's the full NZTA explanation for the ad

In short, they say men under 24 are involved in 40 per cent of alcohol-related crashes, and this ad targets their families. "We want to encourage and persuade the wider family to stand up and do something to change an ingrained pattern of behaviour of those they care about. We want to show them that they have a part to play in helping a drunk driver make the right decision."

Sure. I get that. But why pick the woman? Wouldn't those drunk young men take more notice of a man they respect, than the woman/mum who's always nagging them? And wouldn't that have been a handy way to avoid the double helping - nagging woman, infantile man - of sexist stereotypes?

Do you have a different take on this ad? Did it work on you? Can you see how it might work on other people?