In order to expand and reach more readers, I have moved Adventures of a Young Feminist to a new, self-hosted site! Please update your subscriptions, links, blogrolls, etc. The new site can be found at

Friday, July 31, 2009

Women in Home Security Commercials

Home security commercials usually make me uncomfortable, but I've never really been sure why. But then I realized that these commercials usually focus on women being attacked while they are alone in their house. The one that especially makes me uncomfortable is this one where the woman is attacked my an abusive ex-boyfriend:

I know that these kinds of situations, where a woman is alone in her house or alone with her children, are very realistic fears for people, they are certainly not the only instances when people break into houses.

Are these commercials playing off of violence against women to make money? It certainly wouldn't be the first (or last) time. But the one that really gets to me is the one above where they play off of the very realistic and traumatic situation for many women: domestic violence.

I am all for women protecting themselves. Maybe a home security system would be beneficial for women who have abusive ex-boyfriends who stalk them. But when a company uses domestic violence and violence against women in general to sell their product, then I have a problem.

And all these commercials do is promote fear to make women feel uncomfortable in the one place where they should be able to feel safe: their home.
By featuring primarily women alone in their home in these commercials, the companies are implying that women cannot protect themselves and therefore need a man, whether a physical man in the house or a man ready to call when someone breaks in. The reason men are not featured in these commercials is because they are capable of protecting themselves.


FilthyGrandeur said...

i wrote about these ads a few weeks ago:

another thing that bothers me about these ads is the masculinity aspect of it, where men are simultaneously perpetrators and saviors. also, there's a noticeable absence of POC...apparently men and POC don't need security systems...

Marcy Webb said...

Thank you for calling these commercials out. I'm here via Feministe, btw. @FilthyGrandeur makes some good points as well re: race and gender.

Re: POC and security systems: Actually, that would be an interesting demographic to research. In fact, no person of color amongst my family and friends has installed a security system. I think because we may be privileged to live in a 'nice' suburban community, there is no need for a home security system, even as our times have become much more violent.

There may be another post in the making here. :)

Brittany-Ann said...

I was just thinking about this the other day as that commercial came on. The poor helpless white woman needs a big strong white man in the form of a home security system to save her from the big scary predator. Often these commercials feature the solo woman with her children, preying on a mother's fear for the safety of her children to sell a product. Many of these commercials speak to the man in the family, urging him to do his duty as the protector, by buying the product, another indicator that the woman is helpless, in need of additional protection, and incapable to purchasing a system if she should so choose.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin