JCPenney’s Latest Ad Is Totally Sexist

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:


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  • Johnny

    Re: “…insulting to men and send the message that they’re all nothing but horny, hot-chick-obsessed beings.”

    I’m guessing you don’t know many men.

  • louis cypher

    A few comments:

    - Advertising is rarely subtle in 2011. Where have you been for the last decade?
    - It doesn’t sound like you know many men; we are obsessed with women.
    - JP Penny DOES NOT show her take off her top in the actual commercial.
    - It’s strange you post the very ad you are criticizing. Turn it OFF.
    - you use the acronym WTF?! in an article geared for moms. WTF?!
    - I would work on picking battles and just watching less television.

    • Canaduck

      Are moms not supposed to say “fuck” or something…?

    • KyukiYoshida

      Moms say fuck, and most commonly what the fuck. Insinuating that we are not supposed to say fuck or wtf because we are moms, is sexist. No seriously, it really is.

  • Jada

    Seriously I am a 37 year old mother of 4 and I saw nothing wrong with the commercial. I think it was brilliant marketing. The goal of any company is to sell their product and to do that they gear the advertising to their target audience which in this case is men. The sexist card is getting old. If you don’t like it don’t watch it.

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  • Jon

    This is simply not sexist. I would be fine with a commercial geared towards women featuring a man in a similar situation. Get over it.

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  • Shawn

    Great ad. I watched it twice. Only thing missing is The Cars soundtrack.

  • I’ll be in my bunker.

    *sigh* Judging by these comments, I’m guessing we’ve become accustomed to subpar advertising.

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  • Laura

    I was going to say that this commercial was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen.

    Then I read the comments.

  • KyukiYoshida

    Because apparently having attractive, bikini bodied babes makes your clothing “easy, awesome and affordable”