What were the most sexist ads of 2013? AdWeek has compiled their list and the results are...gross. In some ways, this was a banner year for feminism in advertising. From Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" to the female paramedic who plays X-box to the Pantene ad that took on gender-based labels, there were a lot of ads that did good things for women. Of course, it's dubious at best to say that anything trying to sell you a product — especially a beauty product — can be called feminist, but ads can still do positive things for women. Or at least not be actively detrimental.
The thing about advertising is that its whole job is to let us know what to think and how to feel. Because here's the thing: everyone knows ads are trying to convince you of something. So subconsciously, the methods they use to convince you register in your brain as social cues for how to be. If Axe Body Spray keeps trying to use conventionally hot female bodies to convince teenage boys their product is cool, teenage boys will continue to get the message that they should be swayed by the awesome power of hot female bodies, and also make note of which bodies they should find hot. Whatever you do, never underestimate the power of social cues.
That's why it's a big deal when, for instance, a woman of color with a body type not typically seen as the ideal is the person Microsoft uses to sell their new tablet. And why it's a big deal when a car dealership in India creates an ad like the one above.
You can check out the story behind this particular gem, and the other nine ads flagged as 2013's most sexist over at AdWeek. The one above isn't even the worst on their list. But with examples like these, it's hard to pick anyway.