This holiday season has been a welcome distraction from the train wreck we called an election this year. But it's come with some disturbing commercials. As if I didn't have enough reason to dislike Walmart. . . then they came out with a doozy of a holiday add.
The add opens innocently enough. Guy walks in, his wife is in the living room reading a book. That's great, cool, awesome.
Without looking up, she gives him a wave. She's obviously enjoying her book. Cool stuff. Then it all goes down hill.
Yeah, it's not shown here, but the guy gets a look on his face, that is trouble. Then he whips out his phone and buys a computer for his wife. I can't tell you how distressed this makes me. This add is telling the audience that there is something strange, wrong, and/or poor, about reading a book, rather than spending it on your computer--doing. . . whatever people do on computers. This add seeks to devalue screen-free time, and propagates the idea that we shouldn't be content with time spent in silence, which in turn reinforces the cultural ADHD our society grapples with. Next frame:
Next, this father comes across his daughter who's playing with some cool stuffed animals that look locally made, or at least as though they do not reinforce harmful gender identities and expectations. So what does this father do! I'll tell you what he does!
He whips out his phone again, as though it's a holstered pistol, and buys her doll. Granted, it's a veterinarian doll, which is awesome--and makes sense since his daughter was playing with stuffed animals. But what's wrong with cool handmade, alternative stuff? She can pretend to be a veterinarian on the dolls she already has. I think children should be left to come to these realizations on their own. When I was a kid I had dinosaur toys, and decided I wanted to be an paleontologist--I didn't need a toy to tell me to have dreams.
The last few frames end the commercial a little less offensively than the others, as small TVs are a bummer--and as someone who likes watching sports--big TVs are certainly appriciated by this one. However, there's nothing wrong with living modestly. Not everyone needs a 50" TV.