Spot the Misogyny: Irn Bru will get you through

Heat wave, day 5.

Temperature: brutal. Air: none. Meaningful activity: impossible.

The only way to survive: minimize one’s own movement.

When the inevitable frustration and boredom set in:  distract self by making a few exploratory forays into the heap of decaying garbage called popular culture.

And here’s a new game:  Spot the Misogyny!

Twitter user @SaorEcosse tweeted this link. claiming it to be “brilliant”.

I viewed it, and found myself in a freshly steaming heap o’misogyny.


Can you spot the misogyny?  Answers after the jump.

(If the video doesn’t work for you, here’s a summary:)

Clip 1:

Man walks into hospital room where he is informed that his new daughter’s name will be “Fanny.”  (For you non-UK readers:  ‘fanny’ is slang for women’s genitalia).  He’s offended at first, but a sip of Irn Bru makes everything all right.

The female actors riff on the supposedly funny “vagina” concept by asserting that they come from a long line of “Fannies”.   Then the nurse tells the father that his daughter Fanny takes after him (implying a lack of masculinity on his part).  The stress incurred from this news is easily dissipated by another sip of Irn Bru.

Clip 2:

Man hopefully enters bar to meet his blind date.  She turns out to be a tall, fat, plain-faced woman with a loud voice – and four children.   He gets through the ordeal of this date with the help of Irn Bru.

Clip 3:

Man comes home to find his girlfriend has moved in, along with her mother, and has decorated everything in his apartment pink.  Irn Bru makes everything OK.

Clip 4:

Man comes home unexpectedly, interrupting his parents who are scantily dressed and, it is implied, in the middle of doing something sexual.  Another almost naked man is discovered behind a curtain.   Irn Bru makes it all OK.

Spot the Misogyny Answers:

1.  In a world without oppression, female genitalia would be no different than an elbow or a nostril.  It wouldn’t have a nickname.  It wouldn’t create big embarrassed laughs whenever you mentioned it.  And nobody would feel compelled to mention it on purpose so that they could enjoy causing embarrassment to others, or so they could brag about being so edgy that “vagina” doesn’t embarrass them.    Also, in a world without oppression, being compared to a vagina owner would not be a grave insult.  In a world without oppression, “Fanny” would be just a name.

Bonus points if you noticed how picture-perfect the alleged mother looks, versus the schlubby appearance of her male partner.

2. This one plays on the cultural assumption that all men are entitled to beauty-compliant women – no matter what the man looks like.   Women who don’t fit the beauty template are devalued according to how far they deviate from it.  In this case, the woman is mocked for being too tall, too fat, too plain, and too aggressive.  She is worth very little in social capital, and it is an ordeal to be with her. We are supposed to empathize with the sufferings of her unfortunate date as he drinks Irn Bru to help him deal with the injustice of being denied access to a more desirable mate.

3.  Women are morons who love pink.  Everything a woman likes is stupid.   The man drinks Irn Bru to ease the pain caused by giving up his superior taste for her inferior one.  He’s “pussy-whipped” instead of being the dominant force that all men deserve to be.  Also, her relatives aren’t worth knowing. Particularly if they’re female.

4.  The implied menage-a-trois humiliates the female actress by exposing her body to the camera and making her look ridiculous for wanting to have sex: a creepily incestuous take on slut-shaming.  Irn Bru helps her son to be lightheartedly philosophical about it all.  But if he weren’t misogynist, he wouldn’t need help to acknowledge that his mother is a fully human being and that human beings are sexual.

I would log in to The Scotsman to leave a comment explaining to the uninitiated why hateful ideas about women aren’t really fun harmless hijinks, but they make you register to do that, and have you read their user agreement?  They all but declare their entitlement to your first-born child, as well as sell your email address to spammers – I mean, “partners”.

When I pointed out to the original tweeter that his link was oppressive to women, and got told to “lighten up”.   Typical male response when criticized: deny anything is wrong, accuse the critic of being too sensitive, then run away rather than take responsibility.

I live in a country where I don’t understand the language, so the news escapes me.   Advertising too. And I’m grateful for it.  Now that I have the internet, I have to make a conscious decision to minimize my exposure to the media.  For with the media comes an endless stream of hatred toward women and patriarchy-reinforcing drivel.

When you expose yourself to the media, you are absorbing the anxiety and hatred and oppression in those cultural narratives, and you are being emotionally manipulated.    Limiting your exposure is the key to freeing up your energy, and your mind, from those who would imprison it.

2 thoughts on “Spot the Misogyny: Irn Bru will get you through

  1. Actually, in Scotland the insult “fanny” (plural fannies) means a daft or stupid person, and does not in this case refer to a women’s genitals. Similarily, calling someone a “dick” means that they are rude or ignorant, you are not actually comparing them to a phallus…

    • Calling someone a dick is a metaphorical reference to a phallus. It’s not entirely intellectually honest to claim that references must be literal in order to count.

      “Fanny” in the commercial was clearly a reference to genitalia. Had it truly meant “idiot”, the commercial would not have been so shocking and “edgy” as the creator meant it to be.

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