CBC reports that Toronto wound up with several of these brainless billboards advertising the newest of the X-Men franchise.
So we have here a giant armoured up dude strangling the crap out of a dainty naked lady. My trim/enlargement of CBC’s photo is blurred a bit but the bit of writing beside Apocalypse reads “Only the strong will survive.” Now, I know Mystique’s power is chameleon-like and can change herself to look like anyone. Does the change include duplication of the powers and strength as well or is she kind of, well, fucked here?
Maybe the advertisers honestly thought, “let’s show Mystique at the brink of doom because people love Jennifer Lawrence and will worry about her character and buy tickets to the show to see how she gets out of this/how she’s rescued by all the awesome X-Men!”
Maybe the advertisers honestly never noticed what message they wind up suggesting here — men being stronger so weaker people (read:women) should be crushed by stronger men because only the strong should survive.
That’s the only message getting seen by people already concerned about the violent treatment of women already inherent in our society.
Nneka MacGregor, executive director of Women at the Centre [a non-profit charity focused on violence against women], said six billboards in different locations around Toronto were pointed out to her, prompting her to send an email to the film company.
“We were really worried about the use of that image,” she told CBC News. “It’s not the type of stuff you should be advertising.”
Fox has since apologized for the severe lapse of judgement and is replacing the ads with new promotional material.
CBC notes that some think “fake outrage” blows this thing way out of proportion, but I don’t think so. I think the backlash is just the latest example of people realizing we need to change they way we advertise things. Methods that were expected and acceptable before are less so now.
It’s called progress. There are better ways to advertise the film’s adversary and advertisers should have chosen something better than this in the first place.
Fox added that it “would never condone violence against women.”
Actual violence against women, I suppose they mean. Movie violence is kind of their bread and butter, and if it’s women characters getting hit, at least they’re in a position to hit back. We won’t see an X-Men film where the heroes and villains match wits in a zesty game of Chess instead. Oh wait, we did — Magneto and Xavier played a game when Mags was in that plastic prison. Nevermind…
There’s often debate on whether violent games and shows create violent people – a 2014 study says no – but there’s no debate on the fact that we have a society where women are often targets for violence by men and, unlike X-Men female characters, lack the mutant badassery to kick ass and defend themselves on equal physical footing and/or lay waste to their enemies.
I’ll probably wind up seeing the film because I’ve watched all the other ones. But, I’ll watch it for free when my local library buys it. Not because of this advertising flak; I’m just cheap. I don’t go to a lot of cinema shows anymore so when I do it needs to be money well spent.