What is up with JCPenney and its non-stop sexism? First the department-store chain got into some pretty hot water for selling a sexist T-shirt, aimed at girls, that reads: “I’m Too Pretty to Do Homework So My Brother Has to Do It For Me.” Now they’re airing a commercial that’s equally as sexist and, well, as dumb as can be. Geared towards men, the 30-second spot for VanHeusen dress shirts features a bikini-clad Phoebe Cates from the 1982 movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
“JCPenney understands that you don’t like advertising for clothes. Who does?” a gray-haired dude dressed in a cheap suit asks the camera. “Tell you what, though. If you look at these smart fashion choices from VanHeusen, we’re gonna show you this. That way everybody wins.” The this happens to be footage from Fast Times – the part where Judge Reinhold‘s character sits on the toilet and jerks off while dreaming of Phoebe Cates – then 18 years old – emerging from the swimming pool and taking off her top.
WTF?! I’m assuming the company wants to appeal to 40-something guys who’ll get all nostalgic about this scene. But, uh, there’s nothing smart or clever or funny about it whatsoever. First of all, it’s totally in your face (what ever happened to subtlety?). Second, it’s not like the company is selling beer. They’re selling dress shirts. And so how this whole Phoebe Cates/bikini thing even relates to dress shirts is beyond me.
JCPenney needs to get with the times. I’m glad that, for once, this blatant sexism isn’t directly marketed towards girls. But, even so, it’s insulting to men and sends the message that they’re all nothing but horny, hot-chick-obsessed beings. And, really, how would you explain this ad if it popped up with your kids around? Giant fail all around!
View the ad here and let me know what you think: