My Blog__ BEFORE YOU SCORE: McNeill’s Retort

October 19, 2009 | By

Remember Pepsi's APP, Before You Score, which categorized and stereotyped women into merely faces on a deck of virtual dating cards? Well, women got offended (shocking) so, Pepsi apologized for the sexist and kinda pathetic application. Things felt resolved.

However, one freedom fighter wasn't going to take this thing lying down. No sir. That fighter was McNeill Williford, an industrial engineer at Mississippi State University. In a retort to the whole Before You Score fiasco, McNeill laid down his two cents and then some. He downloaded the application, played around and did some heavy thinking. He then came up with this conclusion:

"...and I can also see how feminists, who have gotten bored of complaining about whatever feminists were complaining about in September, might see this as sexist...

After I looked through the application for a while longer, I had seen enough to conclude it is not sexist. Yes, OK, it does stereotype women into potentially offensive classifications. I'll give it that. But even though no one will ever admit it in mixed company, almost every guy talks like that regularly when in the presence of other men.

Or so I hear.

The truth is, while women are talking about relationships or their feelings or whatever women talk about amongst themselves, men are making crude and potentially offensive jokes like the ones on display in the Pepsi app. There's virtually no guy out there who genuinely believes women are objects - the average guy's sense of humor just stopped developing after he hit puberty, and that kind of thing is still funny to him."

He ends his opinion piece by telling ladies and feminist alike to toughen up and stop complaining about non-issues such as this harmless application. Get back to the real business like fighting beauty standards, sexual assault and "that other feminist issue that [he] read about on the Pepsi app".

I have hi-lighted the utter retardations of McNeill's opinion in bold.

Yes McNeill, all women do is sit around and talk about "relationships" and our "feelings". I mean in my four years at university in the Women Studies Department all we did was push our chairs into a big semi-circle and whine about how last nights episode of The L Word made us feel sad. Totes Girl Talk 101.

I wonder if McNeill has ever dated a girl or had a sister or said more to his mother than 'I need some new socks'? If he had, he would understand that his lazy gender stereotyping and polarization of female/male talk is unrealistic. Deborah Cameron once said that gender is a repeated stylization of the body, repeated acts within a rigid regulatory frame which set in over time to produce the appearance of 'natural behavior'. Most women don't just sit around talking feelings just as much as most men don't have their humor stunted with puberty. You see how this kind of generalization is limiting and fucked up?

The application may not be trying to be deliberately sexist, but the problem is the subtextual message it conveys: women are here and men are there. You (men) will never understand women (because they are so fucking crazy yo) therefore it's okay to dehumanize them, put them into simple categories and laugh at these stereotypes to make the whole thing easier. It's about a reassertion of power in the ever-so confusing field of sexuality and dating. The binary of women and men's understanding of one another is spread further with Before You Score and that is what I find problematic.

I mean, I'm just sayin'....

After I looked through the application for a while longer, I had seen enough to conclude it is not sexist. Yes, OK, it does stereotype women into potentially offensive classifications. I'll give it that. But even though no one will ever admit it in mixed company, almost every guy talks like that regularly when in the presence of other men.
Or so I hear.
The truth is, while women are talking about relationships or their feelings or whatever women talk about amongst themselves, men are making crude and potentially offensive jokes like the ones on display in the Pepsi app. There's virtually no guy out there who genuinely believes women are objects - the average guy's sense of humor just stopped developing after he hit puberty, and that kind of thing is still funny to him.

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